What is an agent looking for in a proposal? Well, they want to see your platform, your purpose, and your great writing.
Your platform is your reach and the number of readers you already serve. Are you blogging? Do you have a newsletter? If so, how many subscribers do you have? Do you share most of your writing on social media? How many followers do you have? Your platform should also include the communities you reach organically through speaking and teaching. It can also include your audience reach through podcasts or other media channels. These numbers represent your platform and are a determining factor as publishers consider new authors.
Why do you write, and who are you writing for? For example, I am a Bible teacher and a military missionary. My area of expertise is biblical exposition, teaching, and Christian leadership. I write books and Bible studies for women looking to learn more about God and how He meets us in the everyday mess. What is your passion? Friendship? Community? Career? The proposal is where you share your passion and purpose with the prospective agent or publishing house.
The sample chapters you include in your proposal indicate your writing skill. Publishers are looking for your ability to communicate well-written and captivating content to your reader. They are searching for professional composition and comprehensive crafting.
When I turned in my first proposal, I was so nervous and green that I misspelled my first name. The cover letter read “A Proposal: by Megegran Brown.” Needless to say, I was not offered a contract from that proposal. Your proposal must be well-prepared, precise, and perfected. I advise having a capable friend or professional editor review your work. Make sure to go through it with a fine-tooth comb, removing any errors and making it as clear as possible. Everyone needs a quality editor.
The book proposal sets you, the author, up for successful writing. It is the map you will follow as you journey through writing your book, the guide that will light the way during your scheduled writing time. Honestly, writing the proposal is my favorite part. It is composing the music that I hope to “sing” to those who will listen.