- One Page Only
- Written in 3rd Person
- Expertise re: THIS book topic
- Relevant publishing history
- BIG-A$$ promo opportunities i.e., regular guest on Oprah (more details in proposal)
- More about bio basics can be found here
To recap, you have only a very brief period of time to convince the editor that you know your schtuff and are the perfect/only person able to bring this project to fruition. Think in terms of opening the bio with the ONE SENTENCE tip of the iceberg take-away that prompts the person to google your name to find out more.
Mine would be, “Amy Shojai, CABC is a pet care expert, consultant to the pet products industry and the award-winning author of 23 pet care titles.” One would hope those mysterious initials after my name might intrigue the reader to learn what they mean. Also notice it’s written in 3rd person, instead of, “I am a pet care expert…” which sounds a bit boastful (even if true).
Tie your expertise to the topic of the book. Maybe you’ve had personal experience in the subject and that prompted you to learn more and become a lay-expert. Or maybe your profession has a direct link to the topic. By all means, list one or two specific articles or books that have a direct tie-in to your credibility for the proposed title.
This is the place to mention DELIVERABLE promotion opportunities, not maybe-sorta-kinda-in-a-way hopes. If you will appear on XYZ-TV program as a regular guest, or have speaking tour engagements already booked, mention it.
PROPOSAL, THE CONTENTS
Probably a good time to remind y’all that you should always consider nonfiction proposals to be written in sand–or in my case, kitty litter. In almost every case, before I got an offer on one of my pet books, my agent put me in touch with the interested editor and we chatted about the book contents, format, and his/her ideas. This is the short list of what typically goes into the proposal.
- Title Page
- Overview (5 to 10+ pages)
- Competition/Market Survey (1-10+ pages)
- Format Description (1-3 pages)
- Promo-Ops, both concrete and potential (1-3 pages)
- Bio (1 page)
- Sample Chapters
- Attachments (vitae, other writing samples, book dummy, illio samples)
Next week, the magnifying glass takes a look at the opening pages of your nonfiction proposal, including the overview and competition sections. That’s the meat-and-potatoes of the proposal.
What burning questions do y’all have about nonfiction proposals? Anything I’ve missed? Please share what’s worked for YOUR nonfiction book sales, too.
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