From my previous reader surveys, I know that approximately 61.4 percent of my readers have either written a book or want to write a book. That number still astonishes me. No wonder there were over one million books published last year just in the U.S.
Yet most aspiring authors will not get published—at least, not by a traditional publisher. Why? Because they don’t know how to get the attention of an agent. And without an agent, they don’t have a chance of getting a publisher.
Most publishers simply don’t have the resources to evaluate unsolicited proposals and manuscripts. Instead, they depend on literary agents to do their filtering, believing this is the best way to discover the best new authors.
So, as a hopeful author, the questions is this: “How do you get the attention of an agent?”
The answer is simple to articulate but difficult to execute. You must write a killer book proposal. In addition, if you are writing a novel, you will likely have to submit a completed manuscript.
But it all starts with the book proposal. Why? There are three reasons:
- Agents don’t have time to evaluate manuscripts. Think about it. How long does it take you to read a book? Ten, twenty, or thirty hours? This is an enormous investment. Agents often receive hundreds of proposals a month.
- Agents have a finite list of questions. They don’t re-invent the wheel every time they evaluate a proposal. The questions are predictable. Basically, they boil down to these: What’s the book about? Why are you qualified to write it? What will you do to help market it?
- Agents need to be equipped to sell. Whatever else a literary agent is—and I was one for six years—he or she is a salesperson. Their job is to sell you and your proposal to prospective publishers. The easier you can make it for them, the more likely they will succeed in getting you a book contract
In addition, a proposal provides a blueprint for the writing itself. This is why even published authors (at least the smart ones) start with a proposal. They want to know where the book is going before they invest too much time or energy in writing it.
I realized the strategic significance of having a good book proposal early in my career. That is why I have written two ebooks, one for non-fiction authors and one for novelists. I want to give authors the competitive advantage they need to succeed. As you will see from the endorsements I have received from agents and authors, these books do exactly that.
Whether you are thinking about writing your first book (and from my reader survey I know that is highly likely) or are an established author, I invite you to check out my two ebooks, Writing a Winning Non-Fiction Book Proposal and Writing a Winning Fiction Book Proposal. Both will give you the edge you need to secure a book publishing contract.
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