Monday, May 16, 2011

How to Write a Book Proposal

open_book_01I've written the first nonfiction book in a series of ten that I'm actively trying to get published. In my research, I read a book titled Write the Perfect Book Proposal by Jeff Herman and Deborah Levine Herman, published in 2001. While it is not a book specifically for children's writers, it is packed with lots of great examples. I'm also in the process of writing another nonfiction book for girls age 9-12. If any of you write nonfiction for children, I hope we can help each other along our path to publication. I've created my own "recipe" for a proposal based on the ten examples from the book. They're all slightly different or use different heading titles. If anyone else is writing a nonfiction book that requires chapters, I invite you to join me in following this recipe to write a book proposal. And I challenge you to take the plunge and submit! Good luck...

  1. Cover Letter
  2. Title Page
  3. Overview - What is the book all about?
  4. Market (as much as possible) - Who will buy the book and why?
    • how large is audience
    • is there a need
    • who will buy it
    • how do I see it marketed
    • what other books will it be sold with
    • what do I imagine it looking like
    • small section on research methods, including interviews
  5. Competition - How will the book fit in (with other books already on the shelves)?
    • other books on the subject
    • short overview and why mine is different from each
    • why mine is better and why it will sell more
  6. Promotion - How can I help promote the book?
  7. About the Author - Who am I? 
    • background related to subject (if applicable) 
    • and background as a writer
  8. Outline - chapter by chapter, with approx. word count
  9. 1-2 Sample Chapters
Do you have another section that you include with your proposals?
P.S. Shawn turns 7 today!!! Happy Birthday, buddy!!!
Keep on keepin' on...


  1. There is a lot more to it for non-fiction by the looks of it. I may do a non-fiction pb about Space. We'll see.

    Happy Birthday to Shawn!

  2. Except that you don't need a proposal for picture books. Although nonfiction does seem to require a lot more work.

  3. Happy Birthday Shawn!

    It does seem like nonfictions require a lot of work, but I think that they're really important for kids to have access to nonfiction books on their level. Way to go!


  4. Oh, yes, definitely, Carla! Nonfiction is awesome. In fact, (no pun intended) they can even inspire great fiction books, too. LOVE nonfiction, especially animal books for kids.


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