Do self-publishing authors need a book proposal?
Uh, what is a book proposal?
Think of it as your expanded sales pitch. Among other elements, you’ll include an overview of your project and reasons the market will be receptive to your book. If your goal is to secure a traditional publisher, a book proposal is essential.
So, do you need a book proposal if you’re self-publishing? For different reasons—Yes!
Writing a book proposal is similar to creating a business plan. Most self-published authors want to monetize their projects ($$$) and as with any business, a business plan—in the case a book proposal—is vital. You might also need a bona fide business plan at some point, but that’s a conversation for another day.
At the very least, writing your book proposal offers an opportunity to clarify the elements of your project so you can ultimately market to the public. Even when self-publishing, you’ll need to think about marketing.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Who is my target audience?
Who is my competition?
Who are possible joint venture partners?
Another element of a book proposal is your Bio:
Who are you?
What qualifies you to write this book?
Where Bios are concerned, I’ve discovered an interesting anomaly among my clients. Quite a few are challenged by writing their Bios and About the Author sections of their books and book proposals. It’s not because they don’t know the answers, but often because they don’t know how to express themselves in these areas.
An tool you probably learned in elementary school English class can help. Before you write your Bio, answer the questions: who, what, when, where and why. If applicable, add how to the mix.
BIO: I am (who) a farmer, who raises (what) chickens, in (where) Wisconsin, for (why) profit, etc.
Q: What qualifies you to write the book, Poultry for Fun and Profit?
A: I have been a chicken farmer for 15 years and understand what it takes to turn a profit as a farmer.
The Who, What. When, Where, Why, and How tools will never fail you on a quest for clarity. Often referred to as the writer’s best friend, they’ll make book proposal writing a lot easier.
Remember, whether you’re self-publishing or seeking a traditional publisher, a book proposal is a necessary part of every book project. Skipping this important step could leave you unprepared with a less-than-successful book project or series.
Judith Cassis Judith Cassis is a book coach and writer. For 15 years she’s been teaching writing classes and supporting authors in preparing their books for publication. In 2013 Judith became a New York Times and LA Times Best Selling ghostwriter. For information on her courses and retreats, email firstname.lastname@example.org or go to Facebook and private message: https://www.facebook.com/judith.cassis
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