Book proposals are information packs used by authors to pitch their non-fiction books to publishers and literary agents. They contain everything a prospective publisher needs to know about a book, including its core message, its contents, target market, how it will be promoted, and commercial potential. In traditional publishing, proposals are almost always submitted before the book’s content is created.
A book proposal will commonly feature:
- A synopsis;
- A list of potential chapter headings;
- Details of the content to be created for each chapter;
- A list of 3-5 competing books that have had strong sales;
- A sample chapter;
- An author biography;
- A marketing and promotion plan
- A list of persons/agencies nominated for endorsements.
A proposal not only covers the content of your book but also demonstrates its commercial viability which must be attractive to a potential publisher. You must actively demonstrate that there is demand for such a book, what sets your title apart from the competition (of which there is always a considerable library!), and what you are already doing (or capable of doing) to aid the publisher’s PR and marketing campaign.