What is a book proposal?
Book proposals are information packs used by authors to pitch their non-fiction books to publishers and agents. They contain everything a prospective publisher needs to know about a book, including its contents, target market, how it will be promoted, and commercial potential. In traditional publishing, proposals are almost always submitted before the book’s content is created.
A book proposal will commonly feature:
- A synopsis;
- A list of chapter headings;
- Details of the content to be created for each chapter;
- A list of 3-5 competing books that have had strong sales;
- A sample chapter;
- An author biography;
- A marketing and promotion plan
- A list of experts (or celebrities) willing to provide blurbs or endorsements.
You will notice that a proposal not only covers the content of your book but also demonstrates its commercial viability. You must show that there is demand for such a book, what sets your title apart from the competition, and what you are already doing (or capable of doing) to aid the publisher’s PR campaign.
But what if you’ve never created a book proposal before and can’t afford to make a mistake? Where can you get help from professionals with years of experience submitting to major publishers?
Who needs a book proposal?
The primary purpose of a non-fiction proposal is to pitch your manuscript idea to publishers. That said, many authors looking to self-publish will also start by putting together a proposal, even if they won’t send it to publishers.
Creating a proposal first helps you structure your ideas and create a proper outline for the manuscript. It also forces you to think about your book’s target market and commercial potential. Writing and self-publishing a book often takes months (if not years) of your life and can cost you thousands of dollars for production: a book proposal will focus your resources in the most productive direction and ensure that you have the greatest chance of success.
For Barry Fox, one of Reedsy’s top ghostwriters, writing a proposal is a voyage of discovery:
“Whether you are sorting through a tangled thicket of ideas, expanding a slim concept, or polishing a raw gem, writing a book proposal is, and should be, a process of discovery rather than a chore. Creating a book proposal can be an exciting journey into your topic and sometimes into yourself.”
Why should you hire a ghostwriter for your book proposal?
A well-written proposal is essential for getting your foot in the door. Reedsy’s ghostwriters have years of experience writing for major publishers and literary agencies, and they know better than anyone what editors and agents are looking for.
Also, collaborating closely with a ghostwriter, you will learn more about writing a book than you thought possible. In a short period, you will benefit from crash courses in structuring the content of your book and pitching it to the right publishers: skills you can use in future projects.
How does it work?
Most collaborations will begin with a conversation between the author and the ghostwriter, either in person or over the phone. You will also share any existing materials: essays, notes, or research you have already conducted.
Marcia Layton Turner, a Reedsy ghostwriter specializing in business books whose proposals have earned advances well into the six figures, explains a little about her process:
“A ghostwriter’s sole purpose is to help their author-clients refine their thinking and clarify the message they aim to share through their book. That generally starts with the ghostwriter reviewing all background materials shared by the author, supplemented with their own research, followed by conversations about the book’s contents. Then it’s the ghostwriter’s job to zero in on the core information and package it as a sales tool.Their distance from the subject matter often makes a ghostwriter indispensable in preparing a book proposal that clearly states the benefits to the reader.”
Digital submissions are now standard and each publisher has their own particular guidelines. Your ghostwriter will help you refine your submissions for a few key prospective acquisitions editors, giving you the tools to rework your proposal for all relevant publishers.
Why should I trust Reedsy ghostwriters?
Like all of the professionals on the marketplace, Reedsy ghostwriters have been carefully hand-picked by our staff from thousands of applicants. Our rigorous background checks have ensured that the ghostwriters on our website are veteran professionals with an established reputation.
It is essential that you are 100% happy with the money you invest in your work. That is why Reedsy also offers a project protection policy, promising to act as a third-party intermediary to resolve any disputes, and offering refunds when appropriate.
Will a ghostwriter refer me to a publisher?
Reedsy ghostwriters will have connections at literary agencies and publishers, but they will not directly refer your proposal. They will, however, help you identify the publishers that might be interested in your book, and work with you to craft your approach to their editors.