One Writer’s Journey

March 13, 2015

The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified

If you want to make a living as a writer, you need to be familiar with Nina Amir’s work.  A few weeks ago, I reviewed her book Authorpreneur.  Today, I’m reviewing The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified.  This review is part of the Muffin blog tour for this most useful book.  At the end of this post, I’ll even tell you how you can win a copy of the book.

I have to admit that I’m amazed by the number of writers who have never written a proposal.  Many of them, in fact, refuse to learn how.

I get it.  A proposal is a huge amount of work.  Amir gets this too, and that’s why she opens The Nonfiction Book Proposal Demystified by acknowledging this fact.  Then she tells you why you need to know how to create this business plan.

That, after all, is what a proposal is.  It is a business plan that you use to convince an editor or agent that you are a top-notch business partner.  You know what you’re doing, you’re willing to do the work and you are the kind of writer who can and will succeed. By creating a proposal you show your would-be agent or editor that not only is there a market for your book, but that you know what this market is and are well aware of any competition.

Self-publishing so you think you don’t need to know how this works?  Think again.  Create a proposal and you will have identified the market for your work.

After explaining why you need to know how to create a proposal, Amir talks about how proposals have changed in recent years.  She then goes on to identify and explain each section including: Overview, Markets, Spin-Offs, Promotion, Competing Books, Complimentary Books, About the Author, Mission Statement, Author Platform, Chapter list, Chapter summaries and writing sample.

I know, I know.  Quit panicking.  It’s a huge amount of work but it is totally worthwhile when it lands you that contract.  And each part really is essential.  Some sell your idea (Overview, Chapters, Sample).  Some show that there is a market (Markets, Competing Books, Complimentary Books).  And some sell you, the author (Spin Offs, Platform, Mission Statement and Promotion).

All three areas are essential.  You aren’t going to sell without a solid idea.  Even a solid idea needs a viable market.  And you have to be just the right writer to take it on.

Personally, I really liked the sections on Spin-off, Complimentary Books and Mission Statement.  I’d never considered needing this specific information but I can easily see why it is necessary.  You, the author, will be more appealing if you have ideas you can spin-off the original. Complimentary books aren’t direct competition but help show reader interest in the topic.  And the Mission Statement?  It sells not only the author but the usefulness of the book.

The beauty of this book is that Amir anticipates authors and their issues.  I can hear it now.

Worried Author:  Even if I do the research, how do I put it all together?  How should the proposal look?

Amir:  Not to worry.  Here are links to templates you can use.

Worried Author:  But wait!  I don’t have a query letter. I  don’t even know what goes into one…

Amir:  Gotcha covered.  Here’s how to write it.

I would definitely recommend this book to the author who needs that final nudge to market their idea and find just the right publisher or agent.  Want a copy?  Pop on over to the Muffin and use the Raffle Copter form to enter the drawing.

Then get busy on that proposal!







1 Comment »

  1. Thanks so much for your lovely review! I really appreciate it, and I’m glad you saw the usefulness of the book.

    Comment by Nina Amir (@NinaAmir) — March 15, 2015 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

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