: views from the Hill

Thursday, February 02, 2006

[WRITING] Book Publishing FAQ

Lifted from Teresa Nielsen Hayden's Making Light post on The life expectancies of books,

Cader Books' Book Publishing FAQ

Free advice on the ins and outs of publishing and agents and proposals and more. Worth far more than it costs.

8. How do I put together a good proposal?

Be clear, articulate, and to the point. You would be surprised how poorly presented, and poorly written, many proposals are. The same rules apply as with anything else in life: this is your sales presentation. Go all out to capture the buyer's interest as quickly as possible, and hold it for as long as you can. How your proposal looks, and how professionally it is presented, is critical to shaping the attitude with which your proposal will be viewed. As a general rule, you should include the followin g:

* A one-page cover letter
* An introduction that sells your idea in two pages or less. Pretend that you are writing the publisher's catalog copy for them; tell them what the book is about, what makes it unique, what the market it is for your book, and how it will be reached. T he more concrete you are, the more convincing you will be.
* A table of contents, annotated if necessary, to give an overall picture of your book.
* Sample material, enough to convince, and enough to give a sense of what they are buying.
* Information about the author--what makes you the right person to do this book.
* Marketing information and plans. How can you help sell this book, what special places and ways can it be sold, and what special ways can it be promoted.

Who or what is Cader Books? Cader Books is, among other things, a book packager.

Technically speaking, we are what the book business calls a book packager or book producer--which is essentially the book world equivalent of an independent producer in the movie business. We produce books in conjunction with other authors and institutions, and create our own original book projects, and sell those books to appropriate publishers. We provide a full range of editorial, design, and production services. Our specialty, though, is taking a good idea and giving it that great extra twist to make it into a terrific finished book.

Their list of "new books" includes
  • Bad As I Wanna Dress: The Unauthorized Dennis Rodman Paper Doll Book
  • Naughty Shakespeare by Michael Marcone (author of Brush Up Your Shakespeare)
  • The Most Important Thing I Know: Life Lessons from Colin Powell, Stephen Covey, Maya Angelu (sic) and more than 75 Other Eminent Individuals Compiled by Lorne A. Adrian
  • Stranger Danger: How to Keep Your Child Safe by Carol Sovel Cope
  • Strange Days #2: The Year in Weirdness by the Editors of Fortean Times
  • Junior Astrologer Series by Alexis Quinlan
  • Talk of Fame: Good Advice from Celebrities Edited by Jeffrey Zaslow
  • America Off-line By A.J. Jacobs
  • Brush Up Your Poetry By Michael Macrone

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