Book Proposal Basics

Book Proposal Basics – All About You

The next section of a proposal is titled “Author”; and, as you can guess, it is about you.

Third Person

Though writing in the third person may feel pretentious and strange, compose this section this way. While sharing something like, “I love drinking raspberry herbal tea; and my cat, Sparkles, helps me write my books,” may sound friendly, save that style of writing for another time. If you do want to share these fun facts, say, “Winnie Writer loves drinking raspberry herbal tea. Her cat, Sparkles, helps her write her books.”

What to Include

Like everything else about proposals, yours is unique to you. I like to see a snapshot of the author’s life in a quick paragraph or two. Include a little background that might be applicable to your book, awards you’ve won that are germane to your proposal, or publishing credits. Think of it as the bio you would provide if asked to be on the faculty of a conference. Not too long, not too short.

Photo or Not?

We would like to see a professional headshot here, please. That doesn’t mean we ask that you spend hundreds of dollars. We don’t care if it’s taken by your best friend or by a low-end department store studio, as long as it portrays you in presentable attire against an appropriate backdrop. Please read Steve Laube’s post “Your Author Photo” for more information.

Tip: Many conferences, such as the one hosted by American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), offer conference photographers who will take professional headshots at a reasonable cost. In fact, the owner of EA Creative Photography, the ACFW conference photographer, is one of my clients. Hooray, Emilie!

However, if you lack a photo, don’t let this keep you from submitting. I’d rather see a fabulous book and no headshot than not have the opportunity to review the book at all.

Your turn:

What do you want readers to know about you?

What tips can you offer?


Steve Laube has a course on book proposals at The Christian Writers Institute that includes a one-hour lecture, a short ebook on the topic, and sample proposal templates. Click here for more information.


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