Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Monday, January 30, 2012

What the BLEEP is a Book Proposal???

Writing Song of the Day: "One Step Closer" by Linkin Park

Hey! You guys remember this post? The one where I was so excited that I got an agent? I was ready to delve into the next step. Getting published! I  mean, that's every writer's goal, right? We want someone besides our family and friends to read our words and love them. And believe me, after you write the book, there's so. Much. More. Work. To do.

Hence the title of this post. After I got my lovely agent, Jennie Goloboy of Red Sofa Literary, I was so excited to sit back and wait for her to sell my book. But then I asked, what do we do next? And I got this response: Well, now we get some historians to check the historical validity (okay, that makes perfect sense), and then you need to start working on the book proposal.

My response: HUH? What even GOES in a book proposal? And do I HAVE to write it??? I mean, that's a nonfiction thing, right? RIGHT? Please say, right!

Well, it turns out--no, it is not just a nonfiction thing. And my agency prefers for their fiction writers to pen a book proposal, as well. They feel as if this will persuade the editor to want your book even more.

So, back to the question at hand. What IS a book proposal??? Jennie directed me to the book, Write the Perfect Book Proposal by Jeff Herman and Deborah Levine Herman,  to help me figure this out. From flipping through this book and visiting various sites, I found out there are a couple of key elements that need to go into a book proposal.

Elements:

Overview: I pretty much used my query letter--just spruced it up some.
Author Bio: Speaks for itself :D
Competition: Find books that publishers may be able to compare your book to. Then tell why your book would fly off the shelves.
Promotion: How will you promote your novel? Editors like to know that you're going to put in some leg work to sale your novel as well. So, what kind of print media can you use to your advantage? What about online media, giveaways/contests, conferences, and appearances. Think about all of the ways that you can help sale your book.
Synopsis: We all work on these at some point when we're writing our novels, anyway. I used the same one that I worked on for a year and changed a bit of it.

I know, right? After I read that, I looked like this:


Then I figured. What the hell? I'll just go for it and see where it takes me. After I finished the first draft and sent it off to Jennie, I got a revised version from Jennie and Dawn Frederick (owner of Red Sofa Literary Agency). And then I looked like this:


But then I sat down and spent two days working on revisions and I think it's A LOT better. Now I feel like this:


And my draft is in the capable hands of my agent. Now, I wait and see if there's anything else to change.
I have to say, after I finished two drafts of my book proposal, it's not as bad as it sounds. Sure, it's a lot of work, but it's also a good way to show that you know your novel like the back of your hand, and also that you are willing to work on the "business" side of the publishing world as well as the creative. Even if you do not have an agent yet, I'd say it wouldn't hurt to do your own mini version of a book proposal. That way if you choose an agency that has their authors do book proposals-- you're already one step ahead!

5 comments:

Meredith said...

I can relate! When I was querying, I specifically chose not to query any agent who I knew wanted a synopsis because, well, I just didn't feel like writing one. So of course as soon as I signed with an agent the first thing he wanted was a synopsis. ;)

Glad you got it done and you're happy with the finished product!

A.J. Mullarky said...

Sounds tough! I'm so excited for you though!

Alicia Gregoire said...

Oh man. A book proposal. Like you I thought these were only for nonfiction. Arggghhhhh...

Ghenet Myrthil said...

Interesting! I've never heard of book proposals for fiction but I can see how having one could help sell your book. Congrats on finishing yours!

KO: The Insect Collector said...

What a great idea-- and I stand in amazement that you were able to rock this out so quickly. Your agent sounds like the bomb!