The Art of the Book Proposal

The Art of the Book Proposal

Eric Maisel

Language: English

Pages: 288

ISBN: 1585423343

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Here is an expert's guide through the elements of a nonfiction book proposal, including the outline, chapter summaries, marketing/publicity, book and chapter titles, and more. Filled with exercises designed to help a writer conceive and create a desirable proposal, and checklists to keep track of the project's progress, The Art of the Book Proposal provides the framework on which to build a great idea, as well as intelligent, empathetic instruction on how to produce a proposal that will capture the interest of an agent or editor.

While most how-to writing books focus only on the nuts and bolts of putting a proposal together, Maisel, considered by many to be America's foremost expert on the psychological side of the creative process, also helps the writer overcome mental barriers to producing the best work possible. Using a holistic approach to the sometimes unglamorous work of designing a proposal, his guide enables a writer to transform an idea into a book.

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You could weave one story with the other. You could fictionalize your family’s story and write a novel. Any of these approaches might work. As you think about these matters, you remind yourself that an elegant solution to your problem, one with depth and metaphoric resonance, is your ultimate goal. You remain open to the arrival of such a solution and hold off from choosing any of your current ideas, as they seem second best. You continue dreaming up possibilities and trying them on for size.

first problem you can cure by rewriting. The second problem you cure by revisioning your book. Neither is work for the faint of heart, but the second requires extra courage. Do not despair and do not doubt that you are equal to the task. Just say, gently but bravely, “I had an idea for a book and now I have some actual chunks written. Is my idea still valid and viable? Where exactly am I?” You may learn that your book was incorrectly framed. Maybe another frame has already come forward as the

actually want to go to. My book would be out of place. RESPONSE: One of the purposes of my book is to provide insight into a foreign culture. People browsing the travel section might say, “Hey, here’s an interesting book to go along with Lonely Planet or Fodor’s that would give me the flavor of Central America.” OBJECTION 3: My book is a hybrid. Some of it is about the peoples and cultures of Central America and some of it is about gringos on a goodwill mission. It doesn’t fit neatly into a

or proposal. This covers all possible responses but one. IF YOU GET AN OFFER If you have submitted your proposal to a publisher and you receive a telephone offer to publish your book, make notes as you converse with the editor or publisher regarding any important points she brings up: the advance she is offering, whether the book will be a paperback or a hardback, how long she thinks the book ought to be, when she needs the manuscript delivered by, and any other significant matters that may

Guide to the Book Contract, Ted Crawford’s book The Writer’s Legal Guide, Brad Bunnin’s The Writer’s Legal Companion, and Richard Curtis’s How to Be Your Own Literary Agent. Additionally, both the National Writers Union and the Literary Guild publish information on understanding and negotiating book contracts. If you accept the publisher’s offer, let any other parties who might be considering your proposal know that you are withdrawing your proposal from consideration. In a brief letter, thank

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