Showing posts with label agent. Show all posts
Showing posts with label agent. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Why Every Book Needs a Proposal


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

I've read thousands of book proposals as an acquisitions editor and a former literary agent. I've taught on this topic of book proposals for many years because I believe many writers don't understand the critical nature of this specialized document called a book proposal.

On the traditional side of publishing, editors and agents read proposals. It doesn't matter whether you've written nonfiction or fiction because this document includes information which never appears in your manuscript yet is critical detail in the decision making process. I wrote my first edition in 2004 as a frustrated editor who wanted to help writers send better submissions. Book Proposals That Sell has received over 100 Five Star Amazon reviews and helped many writers. Publishing has changed a great deal since I wrote this book and now the revised edition is going to be released on October 5th.

From my perspective of working in book publishing for over 30 years, every author should create a book proposal for their book—whether eventually they publish the book with a company where they pay to get it published (subsidy or self-publishing) or whether they find a traditional book publisher. In the proposal creation process, the author learns some critical elements about their book concept plus they are better positioned in the marketplace.

Here are four benefits of proposal creation (and I'm certain there are many more):

1. You Define Your Target Market. Many authors believe their book will hit a broad target—everyone. No successful book is for everyone. Each book has a primary target audience and the proposal creation process helps you define, pinpoint and write about this audience. It is important in nonfiction but it is also important in fiction. For example, romance is the largest fiction genre yet there are many divisions within the romance genre. Every proposal needs a target which is defined—yet large enough to generate volume sales. You learn and achieve this balance when you create a page-turning book proposal.

2. You Understand Your Competition. While creating a proposal, the writer has to take a hard look at which books are competing with your idea. This process helps you understand the marketplace. Many new authors believe they are writing something unique with no competition. It's not true. Every book competes in the marketplace and you will be a better equipped author if you understand your competition.

3. You Create A Personal Plan For Marketing. Whether you like marketing or dislike it, the reality is every author has to market their own book. It doesn't matter who publishes your book—whether you self-publish or go with a large traditional house. As you create a book proposal, you will be including practical, specific and measurable ideas that you can execute when your book enters the market. The proposal will be a valuable reference tool for you because you've done this important creation process.

4. You Possess A Valuable Tool To Pitch Agents and Editors at Traditional Houses. I've written it a number of times but it bears repeating here. Literary agents and editors do not read manuscripts. They read book proposals. Even novelists need a book proposal for their initial pitch to an editor or agent. And if you self-publish and are successful with selling your book, because you own everything, if you receive an attractive offer from a traditional house, then you can move the book. Without a proposal you can't properly pitch the concept and you've eliminated this possibility.

I believe writers should explore every option and keep their possibilities open. You've narrowed the possibilities rather than expanded them if you don't have a proposal.

If you make the effort to create an excellent book proposal, then you will be ready to pitch your book at any time and any place.

W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page.  He has written for over 50 magazines and more than 60 books with traditional publishers.  His latest book for writers is 10 Publishing Myths, Insights Every Author Needs to Succeed. Get this book for only $10 + free shipping and over $200 in bonuses. 
On October 5th, his classic Book Proposals That $ell (the revised edition) will be released. At the book website, you can get a free Book Proposal Checklist. Watch his 60-second book trailer hereHe lives in Colorado and has over 190,000 twitter followers

Why does every book need a proposal (even if you self-publish)? Get the details here from this prolific author and editor. (ClickToTweet)

Monday, April 22, 2019

When You Hit A Bad Day


By W. Terry Whalin

Let's face it head on. Everyone has a bad day. You know what I'm talking about. 


When you walk out to your car and see the tire is flat—and naturally you are trying to rush off to some important meeting.


Or your computer crashes in the middle of an important rewrite on an article or book and you lose hours of work because you didn't back it up.

Or you get sick and land in bed. Or someone in your family gets sick. Or a dear friend suddenly dies.

Or a friend or a co-worker promises they will do something—and they don't. So it creates huge amounts of unexpected work for you or a project you were counting on completing didn't happen.

These various possibilities that I just listed are a fraction of what happens to everyone. The unexpected happens to each of us with our writing and publishing lives.

Here's the critical question for you: when you meet one of these difficulties, does it totally derail you so you don't complete what needs to be written. Or do you rise to the challenge and continue forward with your writing?

Something derails writing for a day. Do you shake it off and return to it the next day? Or do you set it aside and say, the time must not be right? There is a time and place to persevere.

Several years ago a number of publications celebrated the storied career of journalist Barbara Walters. At 84, she retired from 17 years on The View. I read an article about Barbara Walters in AARP magazine, which claims to have the world's largest circulation at 24.4 million (more than three times the circulation of Reader's Digest). In the AARP article called What I Know Now: Barbara Walters, she shares the secrets of her success saying, “I think the secret of my success is that I persevered. I didn't give up. I didn't say, 'This is a lousy job, and I'm unhappy, and I'm going to quit.' I went through the tough times, and they were tough. And I was fortunate that I came out the other end.” I admire Barbara Walter's perseverance.

Several years ago my agent friend Steve Laube wrote an article What to do when technology fails? I did feel bad for the author who lost the entire manuscript on a computer the day it was due at the publisher. As a result the book was canceled. Buried in the story was the fact the author had missed the third extension. What happened in the case of the first two extensions? This story wasn't told.

About fifteen years ago when I started working as an editor on the inside of publishing houses, I learned that writers are notoriously late. I've often been the editor who the author calls and tells about their bad day then asks for an extension. Publishers know about bad days so they often build some flexibility into the deadline.

Yet writers should not count on that flexibility or extension. Here's how to distinguish yourself as a writer and make editors love you: turn in your writing when you promise to turn it in—with excellence.

It's one of the elements that I've done over and over with my writing deadlines—met them. I recall writing one section of a book where I stayed at my computer all night in order to meet the deadline. At that time, I had a full-time editorial job and I had taken on a book project to write.

When I didn't come to bed, in the middle of the night my wife came down to my office to see if everything was OK. Everything was fine except I had to meet a deadline and did not make it to bed that particular night. I fired off my deadline material to the editor, cleaned up and went off to my full-time job. Yes, I drank some extra caffeine that day and was tired but I delivered what I promised to the editor and put in a full day at work. I've only done it once so I don't make a regular habit of such actions.

How do you handle bad days? Does it derail you so you don't complete what needs to be written or do you shake it off and continue? Let me know in the comments below.

Tweetable:

How do you handle a bad day? Get some ideas from a prolific editor. (ClickToTweet)

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W. Terry Whalin is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. His work contact information is on the bottom of the second page (follow this link).  One of his books for writers is Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success. One of Terry's most popular free ebooks is Straight Talk From the Editor, 18 Keys to a Rejection-Proof Submission. He lives in Colorado and has over 205,000 twitter followers 

 


Sunday, May 22, 2016

How To Catch An Editor's Attention





By W. Terry Whalin

Do you feel like you are pitching your book projects into a black hole with little or no response? As a writer and now an editor in the publishing business, I'm aware of my own responsibility to be communicating with others via email or phone. 

As an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing, we acknowledge every submission with a letter in the mail. This simple act distinguishes us from others which never respond. Then I follow-up with a detailed conversation on the phone to see if their book idea is a good fit for our publishing program. Sometimes the concept is a fit and other times it does not and I wish the author well—but at least they caught my attention and were heard.

Being an acquisitions editor or a literary agent is like trying to drink water from a fire hose. A lot of information is coming my direction. My task is to sort through it and find the best authors and best submissions for our publisher. Some publishing insiders have estimated that at any given time there are over a million ideas in circulation. Each of us have a limited amount of time to read and respond to your pitch. 

Today I want to give you four ways to catch an editor's attention with your book.

1. Craft An Excellent Book Proposal. During the course of my years in publishing, I've written two book proposals which received a six-figure advance. As an editor, I was frustrated with the missing information inside the pitches and proposals I received. 


To help writers be more successful at their submissions and to help the industry receive better material, I wrote Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success. The book has over 130 Five Star Amazon reviews and has helped writers find an agent, get a large advance and much more. Yet don't get it on Amazon. In recent months I purchased all the remaining copies, slashed the price from $15 to $8 and created a series of extra bonuses. Get the book directly from me with the link above. No matter what type of book you are writing and even if you are going to self-publish, you need a business plan and a proposal.

2. Be An Expert in Your Target Market. Whatever you are writing, publishing professionals are looking for experts. Do you speak on your topic? Do you write for magazines on this topic? Do you blog or Tweet or have other connections to show that you are an expert. If not, begin today because it will make a difference.


3.  Be Building Your Platform. Editors and agents are looking for authors who can reach their readers. Inside publishing, this connection is called a platform. The truth is everyone begins with a small platform. Their email list is small and their number of Twitter followers is small—but with consistent work, you can build your presence.  Check out my free Ebook, Platform Building Ideas For Every Author, and then apply these ideas to your writing life.

4. Be Persistent. As a writer, keep growing and learning your craft but also continue knocking on doors and trying new venues and making new connections. As the author, you have the greatest passion for your book and your topic. You never know which door or opportunity will be the tipping point for your own success—especially if you aren't knocking.

From my experience, there are no overnight successes in publishing. There are talented writers who have been in the trenches writing to find the right opportunity. It's out there for you but only if you are continually looking for it. If I can help you in this journey, let me know.

Tweetable:

Four Keys for Every Author or Would-Be Author from An Editor (ClickToTweet)

W. Terry Whalin has written more than 60 books for traditional publishers including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, Insider Secrets to Skyrocket Your Success. A former magazine editor, Terry has written for more than 50 publications. His blog on The Writing Life has over 1300 entries. He lives in Colorado. You can follow Terry on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/terrywhalin.

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One Last Edit: Re-think before Submitting

Think of a story as a string of pearls. If you don't have a string, you can't put the pearls around your neck.                      ...