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Posts Tagged ‘Writing a proposal’

 

TODAY’S WRITERS’ TIP: The Elements of an Eye-Catching Fiction Proposal

In your writing and publishing venture, you might be asked to submit a proposal to an editor or agent once you’ve caught his/her attention.  So what is a proposal?

Other than asking someone to marry you, a proposal in the publishing world is quite the complex project. Of course, the first thing you want to do is check the publishing house’s guidelines. They might have them outlined for you on the website or if an editor asks for a proposal, then you ask him/her for their guidelines. If there are none, then follow a standard format that all editors will accept and get to know you and your project better.

Let’s look at the basic elements of a good proposal for a fiction manuscript. In later blog posts, we’ll look at samples of each of these (if applicable). One word of caution is merited here. Be careful to spend quality time on your proposal. Depending on how many sample chapters you send, your proposal could easily be 40 to 60 pages long. It’s not something that should be taken lightly because your proposal will either earn you a contract or send your manuscript back to you to try again some other place.

Basic Elements of a Good Fiction Proposal

  1. Cover page – includes title of your work, your name, address, phone number, email, website, and to whom you’re sending the proposal
  2. Table of Contents – list all the sections included in your proposal and their page numbers
  3. Synopsis: a one-to-two-page synopsis of your entire manuscript, including the climax and resolution. Don’t keep the editor/agent guessing how it’s going to end.
  4. About the Author – a one-to-two-page bio of you, including a photo, a little background, and your writing credits and awards won; include your involvement with social media, i.e. Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads, Twitter, blogsite, etc. with all URLs.
  5. Character Sketches – a one-page description of your main characters (one or two main characters, no more); include time period, personal appearance, quips, goals in life.
  6. Market Potential (this one takes the most time) – spend quality time in bookstores and/or online, researching the other books already published that are in the same genre and age group. Include these elements: Layout and Audience, Competitive Works, Marketing Ideas, and Date of Completion.
  7. Chapter Outline – this is not a I, II, III, A, B, C “outline.” It’s a one-to-two-paragraph summary of each chapter in your book. If your work is not finished, just write the outline to match the last chapter you’ve written. If you have some idea how the story ends, include that.
  8. Sample Chapters – the publisher’s guidelines might indicate chapter one, two, and the last one, maybe chapters one, the chapter in the middle of the book, and the last one. If not designated, send the first three chapters.

Well, there you have the basic elements of a proposal that will catch that editor’s or agent’s eye.

Why is the proposal so important?

If and editor reviews a well-done proposal, he/she recognizes that the author already has good writing and organizing skills, has a goal set to finish a project, and can meet deadlines. All these qualities are essential in maintaining a good relationship between the author and editor.

Write an eye-catching proposal, and you’re one step closer to reaching that unreachable star: publication!

 

 

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Writer’s Tip for the Day

Writing an Eye-catching Proposal (for Fiction)

From Marsha Hubler

 

In last Monday’s blog, I mentioned the importance of writing an eye-catching proposal. What I’d like to do over the next few weeks is analyze the components of one of my proposals. The latest one that I wrote went to an agent after I tweaked it to her specs. She liked what she saw and offered me a contract for an Amish fiction series.

So, let’s get started with some vital information every writer needs to know to be able to introduce himself/herself professionally to an agent or an editor.

Components of an Eye-Catching Proposal

 

  1. Title Page
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Synopsis
  4. About the Author (Bio and Credits)
  5. Character Sketches
  6. First Three Chapters of the Manuscript
  7. Synopsis of Other Books in the Series (if writing a series)
  8. Market Potential and Competitive Analysis
  9. Marketing Plan
  10. Projected Time of Completion

Now, these ten components are not set in stone. Editors and agents have different guidelines for proposals. If you get that email or letter giving you the initiative to proceed with your proposal, the agent or editor should offer his guidelines for the proposal. If not, then ask. Sometimes, these components will be in a different order or several might not even be included in that agent’s or editor’s proposal specs.

Today we’ll look at the title page and the Table of Contents from my proposal for THE AMISH LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY:

(Page one of the proposal; information centered on page)

 

 

LOVE SONG FOR LOUELLEN

 

PROPOSAL FOR

CONTEMPORARY AMISH ROMANCE FICTION FOR ADULTS

 

BOOK ONE IN THE

AMISH LOVES of SNYDER COUNTY SERIES

 

By Marsha Hubler

1833 Dock Hill Rd.

Middleburg,PA 17842

1-570-837-0002

marshahubler@wildblue.net

 

(Page two of the proposal)

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Synopsis ……….………………………………………………………………………3

About the Author …..……………………………………………………………..6

Character Sketches/Backdrop ……………………………………………..7

Sample Chapters: One, Two, Three …………………………………….9

Synopses for Book Two and Three of Series …………………….50

Marketing Information …………………………………………………………55

Date of Completion ………………………………………………………………55

Next time we’ll look at “About the Author” and some character sketches.

If at any time in this proposal journey you have questions about your own proposal, please don’t hesitate to email me at marshahubler@wildblue.net and ask.

Marsha

www.susquehannavalleywritersworkshop.wordpress.com

www.marshahubler.com

www.horsefactsbymarshahubler.wordpress.com

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