How To Write A Book Proposal

by Lindsay 1/17/2018 9:50:00 PM

Contributed By: William Grigsby


You have a great idea about a book and you’re sure it will be a success. However, you’re probably wondering if literary agents and publishers will be interested in it. How do you contact them? Do you write a query letter and send it along some sample pages and a synopsis?

If you manage to get a publishing deal on your book before it’s even ready, you’ll get the wind to your back. You’ll be motivated to push yourself and write without any procrastinations. How do you do that? There’s something called a book proposal.

What Is a Book Proposal?

To define what the book proposal is, we can compare it to a research proposal - the paper that PhD candidates submit before they start working on their dissertation. According to the definition by Assignment Masters, the research proposal refers to the “ideas and theories that a professional in a certain field would like to examine. The paper is usually presented to a university board or another organisation responsible for authorising the research or providing funding for it.”          

By definition, the book proposal is something similar. It’s basically an outline, which will clarify the ideas and theories, as well as the plot of the book you plan to write. You’ll present it to a potential publisher, or an agent, who is going to make your book marketable and profitable.                       

There are two ways to handle this:

- Write the proposal before you start writing the book. In this case, the proposal will serve as a stimulator during the writing process. In the case of narrative nonfiction, many publishers prefer this approach. In order to sponsor the project, they want to make sure the author can pull it off.

-  Write the book first, and then capture its essence in a book proposal. This works best for fiction work. When you have the manuscript ready, you won’t just start sending it around. The book proposal, as its presentation, will be much more attractive and easier for the agents to review.

Fiction writers rarely write book proposals. That’s because the publishers usually require a cover letter, synopsis, and a complete or partial manuscript for the review process. When it comes to non-fiction work, however, the proposal is practically mandatory.

So let’s focus on that aspect: writing a book proposal for non-fiction work. How do you do it?

Tips for Writing a Great Book Proposal

  1. Think of Your Project as a Business Offer

Let’s say you’re planning to write a nonfiction book on the Japanese art of living. There are several books of that type (such as Ikigai for example). What makes your idea special? Why would people buy and read your book? Yes; the publisher will be interested in the commercial aspect. They are doing this for the money. So you must present your idea as marketable, and that’s exactly what the book proposal serves for.

Your credibility as an author who can tackle this topic is very important. The book proposal should make the agent/publisher confident that you’re the best writer to invest in when it comes to this specific theme. If, for example, you’re planning to write a health book, mention your background in medicine and healthy living. That will show your intentions to write a serious book, which people will be interested in buying. 

  1. Explain How the Readers Will Benefit from This Book

If you’ve never written a book proposal before, you might assume that the publisher expects you to discuss what your book is about. Of course you’ll tell them what the book is about, but you won’t focus on describing its content. Instead, you’ll focus on how the readers will benefit from reading this book. Why should they care to buy it?

Identify a specific problem that many people face. If, for example, you’re tackling the matter of mindfulness, write about that concept and explain why people need it today. Use facts and statistics to show how significant this matter is. Then, explain how your book will help people overcome specific issues.

  1. Organize the Proposal Well

If you were about to write a research proposal, its organization would be clear. What about the book proposal? Is there a specific structure you should maintain? The structure may be flexible. However, it’s still important for the book proposal to encompass the main sections that a publisher expects to see:

- Author Bio

Make yourself look like a true professional in this section! Mention the strengths that make you capable to tackle this topic.

-  Overview

This section, which should be around two or three pages long, will be a summary of the book. You may also include a table of contents, so the publisher will get a more precise idea of the issues you plan to cover. If you already wrote part of the book or you have a complete manuscript, you may also include sample chapters.

-  Analysis of the Target Audience

Why will your book sell? That’s the main question to answer in this section. You’ll analyze the target audience. You’ll expose the issues they have and you’ll discuss the solutions your book will provide.

-  Competitive Analysis

Chances are, you’re not the only author who had this idea. You’ll find books on similar concepts. The competitive analysis should show how your idea is different and what additional benefits it will provide to the reader. You won’t trash the competitors; you’ll just show what else you’ll bring to that topic.

-  Marketing Strategy

What will you do to promote your book? You have to define the steps, since the publisher will want to see if they can rely on your authority. Here, you should show how active your social media pages are and how the audience on your blog supports you. Needless to say, you have to work on those aspects before you submit a book proposal. When you prove your serious online authority, the publisher won’t ignore you.

It’s a Challenge, But You Can Handle It!

The book proposal must be very specific and convincing. It should “sell” the project, as well as you as an author. Keep in mind that if the publisher is going to invest in this project, they must envision a great return of that investment. The book proposal will help them do that.

It’s not easy to write a winning proposal, but hey; you’re a writer. Just focus and you’ll definitely make it!                                                             


William Grigsby is a book addict and professional editor. He lives for literature and its seduction of Mankind. Whatever challenges he goes through, he has one motto to rely on: keep reading, keep writing.

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Things That Make Your Readers Bounce Off Your Books

by Lindsay 12/20/2017 9:01:00 PM

Contributed by: Rachel Bartee

It’s every writer’s fear to write a story your readers end up turning down.

How many times have you picked a book at the bookstore, read the synopsis and thought it was worth reading, but end up throwing it away? Perhaps you started off well with an interesting topic, you were inspired by the summary, but having read several pages you understand that the book is not worth your time.

So what is the reason behind that? What did the writer do wrong? There are a few reasons that account for that. When you know what these reasons are, perhaps you can adjust to making your reader involved to the end.

1.     Slow development

This is the number one reason why readers can bounce off your books. If a plot of a story doesn’t move, it dies. If the readers have to read fifty pages before finding the main character of the story, they end up bored and click away without having a second thought.  To avoid this, make your plots alive and dynamic; introduce what’s important without going too far.

2.     Lazy Writing

There’s nothing wrong with using metaphors, clichés, and descriptive phrases. In fact, these descriptions comprise of about 30% of the average book. But make sure that you’re not using too much of lazy writing. Remember that readers get more impressed by a well-written story that contains a clear language. Similarly, they want a story that is appealing to their senses than to their brain.

3.     Shopworn Plots

When we write, it’s tempting to include different scenes to describe characters, moods, or relationships that are familiar to us and which we have unintentionally grasped from other stories that have already been written by somebody else. If a plot of a story is world-old, it’s very likely that the reader will easily predict the scenario of the next chapter. To avoid this from happening, play with your scenes in your mind, imagine different twists and turns and follow those, which make you want to know what’s next.   

4.     Tiresome Wordiness

Excessive wordiness is the source of complexity in reading. Some readers believe that using long description scenes will hook the attention of the readers, but it does the opposite. Your giant paragraphs are the main reason why readers click away. Avoid using monotonous sentences. Once you find them, chop them off.

5.     Poor Editing

Although most authors understand how important good and professional editing is, they still often try to minimize their time and effort input at this stage. They are eager to see their manuscripts go to print and get their first loyal readers.

Amy Cohen, a professional writer with Essayontime shared her opinion, “Good editorial improvements can increase the chances of getting more readers, improve their experience with your book, and make your writing more coherent and easy to read. Don’t stop on self-editing and allow for an expert analysis or several peer reviews to spot the issues you may lose sight of.”

6.     Lack of Clear Structure

A good story needs a good structure. A well thought-out and nicely organized development of events makes the reader flow along with your storytelling. A good way is to have a clear outline divided into several chapters. When you jump from one episode to another and back makes the readers confused.

7.     Passive Characters

Imagine a story that features a character who does a lot of things to display his nervousness including spilling his coffee, puffing away on cigarettes, twitching, and much more. All of a sudden, the characters changes into caricature and not a real person. This overuse of detail can annoy the reader and even pull them out of the scene. Also, uninterested and distasteful individual characters quickly bore the readers and they become disengaged. Take time to create your compelling characters.

8.     Too Unrealistic

An unrealistic story is filled with vague ideas, exaggerations, and hesitations. No one wants to feel that. Instead, every reader wants an authentic story that matches your plot. An authentic story matches the time and place. This important trick draws your reader into your story. Remember, if your book turns out to be something that is absurd, readers will avoid it.

9.     Too Easy or Too Difficult

The nature of the language you use matters a lot when writing a book. It should not be too easy such that it appears plain and not too difficult to a point where the reader cannot understand. Don’t use hard words or simple vocabularies to an extent of confusing the reader. Make it appropriate for your targeted readership.


Every scene your write should be designed to move your story forward and capture the reader’s interest. What doesn’t fit in your writing is considered boring and readers will not hesitate to close the book and look for another.


Surely, there are many more reasons that can make you stop reading a book. Feel free to share your experiences.


Rachel Bartee is a freelance writer and editor dreaming of a tour round the world to write a story of her greatest life adventure. For the time being, she feels inspired by her daily yoga sessions and Interpersonal Relationships course. Talk to her on Facebook and Twitter.

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How to Generate Catchy Headlines for Blog Posts

by Lindsay 12/2/2017 11:01:00 PM


Contributed by: Zake Alfie


Most people believe that first impressions are the right ones. This couldn’t be truer in blogging, where first impressions come from the headlines you write. Recent studies even proved that blog post traffic can vary by as much as 500% based on the headline alone.


Headlines reflect the real nature of your article and if you come up with a captivating idea, you’ll grasp the attention of readers. But if you design it poorly, you’ll chase away the audience. This is why headlines need to be intriguing and inspire your followers to keep reading. In this article, I will show you how to generate catchy headlines for blog posts.


6 Template Headers to Skyrocket Blog Traffic

Creative writers can often think of fresh and alternative blog headline ideas. However, even the most proficient bloggers are not able to write outstanding headers all the time. This is why we all turn to 6 template headers to boost blog traffic. Let’s check them out here.


·      Listicle Posts

Online reading is all about scanning and skimming, which makes blog posts with lists and bulletins very attractive for all users. Listicle posts contain numbers in headlines and usually talk about the ways to solve certain issues. This is exactly what an average user wants to find out - how to solve a concrete problem in life. This type of headline reveals the basic idea of your article but hides the best part for patient readers.


-        10 Ways to Boost Website Traffic

-        7 WordPress Plugins For Bloggers

-        10 Biggest Battles In The History Of Mankind

-        5 Lessons All Entrepreneurs Have to Learn


·      Tutorial Posts

A lot of people surf the Internet to see how something works or how it can be done. It’s also the reason why tutorial posts are so popular these days. Starting your headline with ‘How To’, you show your followers that they can find some manual, guide or instructions in your post. 


-        How To Stop Worrying About Everything And Enjoy Your Life

-        How To Earn $1 Million Before You Turn 30

-        How To Ace A College Paper

-        How To Use Digital Tools To Improve Project Management


·      Review Posts

People love online reviews. With the rise of e-commerce, millions of consumers abandoned traditional retailers and turned to Internet shopping. They want to learn everything there is to know about the product prior to making a purchase, so they read review posts. This trend is also beneficial for website traffic attraction because consumers Google-search reviews and improve your ranking accordingly. 


-        iPhone X Review: What We Learned So Far

-        Plastic or Leather Dog Leash: Pros and Cons

-        Trello Project Management: Most Important Dos and Don’ts

-        WordPress Tweet Machine 2.0: All You Need to Know About It


·      Secret Posts

When it comes to user engagement, nothing can inspire them more than secret post headlines. Such format is all about the mystery and enigma, so you should use it to grab the attention of your followers. However, keep in mind not to use it too often or else they will lose their true value. Secret posts are only meaningful if you really have something interesting to reveal in your article.


-        A Fact You Didn’t Know That Can Change the Way You Do Business

-        A Dark Secret Behind Junk Food That You Simply Have to Learn

-        What No One Tells You Before Starting A Blog

-        Little-Known Facts About World War Two


·      Negative Posts

Emotions have the power to engage the audience and good bloggers use it to improve social media awareness. But it doesn’t mean that they turn only to positive emotions. Instead of laughter and happiness, bloggers sometimes create headlines which make you sad, angry, or suspicious. This is one thing that readers really enjoy sharing because it allows them to warn their friends not to make the same mistake. 


-        5 Reasons Why Your Social Media Marketing Is Completely Wrong

-        Find Out Why 99% of Small Businesses Went Bankrupt

-        The Most Productive Methods To Ruin Your Company

-        Are You Also Making This Mistake While Creating Annual Performance Reviews


·      Epic Posts

Epic posts are the ones that explain it all. After reading this kind of article, you will have an in-depth knowledge about the topic you wanted to research. Of course, epic posts deserve epic headlines. Here are a few examples:


-        Everything You Need To Learn About Blogging

-        The Ultimate Guide To Successful Customer Service

-        Turn Online Reviews Into Powerful PR Tools: The Definitive Guide

-        The Most Comprehensive Social Media Marketing Glossary Terms



The headline alone is not able to make your posts successful. After all, you have to be a great writer to generate enough blog traffic. But headlines are certainly your best chance to attract target audience and convince them to share your posts, eventually. Feel free to utilize 6 template headers that I described above and please let me know in comments if you have other interesting ideas to share with the readers.


Zake Alfie is a travel blogger and search engine optimization expert in He is in charge of several online projects and provides consultations on optimization and website promotion. He loves experimenting and finding new SEO tactics. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter!

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How To Write Productively

by Lindsay 5/25/2017 8:39:00 PM

***Blog post contributed by Patrick M. Greene


You just told yourself that you were going to go and write a book, but there is just one problem. You have to write.

It is easy to say that you are going to start writing your book today, but it is rarely done. Most writing enthusiasts don’t even know where to start. There are some who do not know when to start. They know how to start, but they just don’t have the energy to start writing. I mean, who can blame them, really?

Writing is tiring. Most people think that it is much better how they have already published their book and how people are praising them for their perfectly written book. But there is bad news: after you’re done fantasizing, you have to accept the reality that you haven’t even written a single chapter yet. You then get back to your workspace. After being intimidated by the amount of work you need to do, you’ll realize that you just can’t do it anymore. Then you get back to your bedroom accepting the fact that you’ll never be a writer, and then you feel asleep. When you wake up you’ll feel all motivated again to write your book, but it just doesn’t happen. The cycle just keeps on going.

Want to know how to be productive with your book? Want to know how you are ever going to consider yourself as a published author? Well, here is a little advice for you: just write.

Just write. Don’t think about anything. Just write. You don’t have to think about whether or not you are doing it right. When we are talking about creativity there is really right or wrong way of writing something. Writing is about self-expression so just forget about the technicalities for a minute. Well, of course your book has to make sense but that is what editing is for.

Right now, your job is to write. You wouldn’t have decided to write a book if you don’t have a specific topic on mind. Write as if you are running for your life. Write everything that crosses your mind.

You have to accept the fact that writing isn’t a one-way process. Rather, it is two-way. The first step is to write. Just write everything, and then the second and last part of the whole writing process is the editing. This is the part when you’ll examine if there are some scenes that you have written wrong. This is the part when you have to take a look if all the sentences are written in the best way they can be. Spot Phrases and sentences that can be rewritten in a better way.

The key to good writing isn’t a wide vocabulary. As a matter of fact, writing is more about making sure that the reader understands what you have written. Bear in mind that writing is a form of expression. With that, you should make sure that your writing is understandable. When you have come up with a book that is easy to read and understand that is the time when you can say that you have productively written your book.



Patrick works as a contributor at He is a former editor of a small town newspaper publishing. He is an avid fan of social media, and runs his own page for writing enthusiasts for his college. With the rising clamor for healthy living, Patrick immersed himself with water sports.

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