This has been a pretty big week for me! Those of you following me on Facebook already know that I sent out my book proposal on Tuesday. This is a huge step in working toward getting my book published (or at least in the hands of a publisher). For several weeks I have been working through writing my book proposal and making it perfect, or as perfect as possible. I must thank my writing mentor Mrs. Tuttle for helping me out so much during this process. I honestly could not have done this without her. I also highly recommend reading her blog, she is fantastic!
I know some of you are scratching your heads thinking, “What does writing a proposal have to do with publishing a book?”. Well I’m glad you asked!
The world of publishing is hard to navigate, and easy to give up on—especially for a new author. Thankfully there is a solution to this problem! Literary agents are their name! An author’s agent is so important in the publishing process. They are the ones that get your manuscript into the hands of publishing houses. They are the ones that will get you a book contract. They are the ones who will help you navigate the confusing process.
Having a literary agent is so important for authors. I have no experience whatsoever in publishing, and I know that having someone to help me is valuable to my success. Once an author is able to get a literary agent they can focus more on their writing than figuring out how to find a publisher.
There are of course exceptions to this. Authors who self publish probably won’t have a literary agent representing them. Self publishing is mostly for authors who would rather do everything themselves which includes marketing, editing (although they will probably hire an editor), cover design (might also hire for that), and publishing. But that is a topic for another day! 🙂
Tuesday of this week I sent my book proposal and query letter to three different literary agencies! Since I just finished writing my own proposal and query letter, I thought I could highlight what each of these are for.
This is where you tell the agency everything there is to know about your book. You start with a title page then move on to short descriptions of the plot, marketing, target audience, books similar to yours, what makes your book unique, and a synopsis of the whole work.
Some of these sections will vary from agency to agency, but these will probably be the most common. I cannot stress enough that you must pay attention to the agency submission guidelines! If the guidelines are not followed, they will throw away your proposal.
What I found is that many agencies will want a book proposal if the query letter piques their interest.
A query letter is basically a condensed book proposal. You want most of the things you wrote in your book proposal in your query letter. Most agencies will want the letter to be one page long which is much harder than it seems. You want to start off with a great hook, and then dive into a short synopsis of the plot. The middle should contain a summary of what makes your manuscript unique, and most agencies will also want a short description of yourself. This is a fantastic resource for writing query letters.
That is a condensed version of how to write a query letter and book proposal. Perhaps when I get more experience I will do a more in depth post about each of these topics.
To top off this amazing week, I got my manuscript back from my editor!!! I had the privilege of asking Nadine Brandes to edit my manuscript. She is a wonderful woman, and one of my favorite authors. If anyone needs a good book to read I highly recommend her Out of Time series! I can’t wait to spend the rest of my weekend reading through all the comments she made! 🙂