Want to write and publish a nonfiction book? Your first choice is probably a traditional publisher, which pays you an advance for the right to publish your work. (Or you may choose to go POD, or print-on-demand, where you pay a company to publish your book--or opt for an electronic version instead.)
Well, if you want to sell your nonfiction book, you'll have to write a book proposal. A proposal typically contains the following elements:
The overview of the concept and a brief statement of your qualifications;
The audience, which describes the target market (in other words, who will buy your book);
The “about the author” section where you highlight your “platform”;
The competition analysis, where you list books that are similar to yours and describe how your book is different from (and better than) competing titles;
A marketing and promotion section that describes how you will use your platform and media connections to help sell the book;
An outline of the book, which includes brief chapter summaries and other material the book will include (i.e., foreword, appendix, and index);
At least one sample chapter; and
Relevant attachments, such as magazine articles you’ve written about the topic.
Sound like a lot of work? It is. My book proposals usually take four to six weeks to write, depending on the subject matter and amount of research I have to do, and run between 30 and 60 pages. One coauthored proposal, which included detailed chapter summaries, weighed in at more than 120 pages. (I did get paid $15,000 to write it, but it was still an enormous amount of work. And then it didn't sell...bummer.)
If you're new to writing proposals, I have good news. My colleague Jennifer Lawler, a veteran author, freelancer, and editor is offering her popular online class, Write your Book Proposal e-Course, which starts in September. I've known Jennifer for years, and she's not only smart and successful, she loves helping would-be authors make the transition from wanna-be to published author. She's also the person behind Be Your Own Book Doctor, so get in touch with her to learn more about how to get your book in print and/or pixels.
**Want to write and get paid for it? Check out my latest two books, Dollars and Deadlines: Make Money Writing Articles for Print and Online Markets and Six-Figure Freelancing: The Writer's Guide to Making More Money, second edition. If you prefer print (like I do), order directly from ImprovisePress.com. Use the discount code, IMPROVISEPRESS (all caps/no breaks) for 20 percent off of your order!