3 Things Needed For A Fantastic Book Proposal

Are you getting ready to write a fantastic book proposal? It might be that you are looking to query, submitting to Pitch Wars, or perhaps struggling to write your blurb or pitch. Whichever it is, it can be hard to see our novels clearly when we are so close to them. In fact, I believe that this is why writers often find writing a blurb, pitch or query so tricky: we know the entire story, and it’s hard to whittle down all that information.

So, when it comes to writing a book proposal or whittling down those words to a pithy elevator pitch…what should we include?

1: A description that makes the listener/reader sit up and take notice. 

This is your opportunity to really get your story across. So, think about the following:

What is your main character’s problem, the conflict that they are dealing with?
What is their drive to overcome this?
Who or what is standing in their way?
Why does it matter? 

Getting across these elements to the listener will make them want to know more. You do not need to tell them the spoilers; keep those for the synopsis. Whet their appetites by telling them just enough to make them want to read the work.

2: The Vital Information.

What is the vital information? Your genre and word count. You can add these into your pitch to preempt the post pitch questions, proving to the listener that you have come prepared and understand what you have written. The listener may go on to ask you something along the lines of ‘Where would this book fit in a bookshop?’
This question is designed to help them understand how much you know about your genre, so prepare the answer ahead of time.

3: Why you, and why now?

These are two excellent questions to think about ahead of time, and preparing an answer will help you get across the urgency of their requesting to see the entire manuscript. To go deeper into these two short questions:

Why is this book relevant for this person?
Why is now the right time to publish?
What stage is the manuscript in?
Why have you written the novel? 

So, now you know. Include these three things for a fantastic book proposal!

A few weeks ago, a great writer hired me to help her ahead of some agent meetings. After a coaching session, a synopsis to pitch re-write and edit, and some research – she delivered two successful pitches and had manuscript requests from both. If you are looking for some help in the same area, get in touch today. Together, we can tighten up your pitch!

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Looking for a similar read? Check out the following:

Three Things to Avoid When Querying Literary Agents
Five Ways to Find a Literary Agent or Publisher
When to Follow Up With A Literary Agent or Publisher 


5 Ways to Find a Literary Agent or Publisher

Are you wondering how to find a publisher or literary agent? Let’s chat about five ways to go about it.

You will notice that none of these mention searching on Google. This is for a reason. When you search phrases on Google like ‘Publishers open for submissions’ or the like, what usually comes up is a selection of vanity publishers. Steer clear of these! Whatever you do, always search for publishing house or literary agent reviews before you send your work to them. If they have poor reviews, it’s best not to get involved. Remember – you’ve got the goods, so read on to find out how else you can find an agent or a publisher.

1 – The Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook
One of my favourites, this book is released every year and is chockablock with information that could help you get traditionally published. It’s laid out in a very easy to read way so that you can search for those who specialise in your genre. At the very least, check out their website for fantastic resources and information – it’s an excellent asset for writers everywhere! This is for the UK market. The US market has similar with the yearly Writer’s Market, and for those in the same part of the world as I am, you can use the Australian Writer’s Marketplace.

2 – Agent Databases
Agent databases are essentially search systems primarily for agents, and they allow you to filter through to ensure you are finding someone who matches what you have written. Good databases are Agent Query or Query Tracker.

3 – Literary Marketplace
An old school site but with a lot of information at your fingertips, Literary Marketplace is a great resource! You can also find independent publishers here. So, if you are looking to bypass an agent and go straight to a publisher, this might be the resource for you.

4 – Twitter
What? Twitter? Yes! Twitter can be awesome for finding agents. You can use hashtags to find them, and you can also get involved in pitch wars. Pitch wars is an event run on Twitter where writers can pitch to agents and have their manuscripts requested. This actually works – so if you are looking to get involved, set up a Twitter account, and search the hashtag #PitMad. You can also visit to learn more. The next date for this is 2nd September 2021. You’ve got this writer!

5 – Research
The classic. Research books like your own, the same genre, type etc. and find out who published them, who their agent was etc. Create a comprehensive list and get going with your querying!

So, there are five ways to find an agent or publisher. If you ever want to talk about querying or anything related to your publishing goals, whether it is your definition of success or how to find the right route for you, get in touch! I’d love to work with you on publishing your work.

Enjoyed this blog post? Here are some similar ones to read:

Traditional Vs Self-Publishing. Which is right for you?
When to Follow Up With a Literary Agent or Publisher
How to Deal with Constructive Criticism of Your Writing

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