How to prepare a winning book proposal

The previous series of posts introduced you to the general ideas and concepts for being an author. Now I’m going to give you some details on an important piece of this: how to create a book proposal that gives you the best chance of selling your book idea to the publisher you want.

Preparing a winning book proposal is very similar to bidding on many other freelance documentation projects. In fact, as you read this, keep in mind that you’re going to be able to use this information to create documentation plans with the same information. (At the end of this series, I’ll also be providing a complete template you can use for creating book proposals and documentation plans.)

A book proposal is more than an outline and a schedule. A well-written proposal is a package of material that not only communicates how you intend to do the project, but also demonstrates your writing and organizational abilities. Moreover, a good proposal tells a prospective publisher that you have carefully planned all aspects of the book and that you’re ready to hit the ground running as soon as the book’s approved. And if you are one of several authors being considered for a specific project, presenting a solid, well-considered proposal can frequently be the deciding factor in getting the contract.

There are four parts to a book proposal:

Each of these pieces will be covered in the upcoming blog posts.

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