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Q: Book Proposal vs. Manuscript 4 Literary Agent ( Answered,   1 Comment )
Subject: Book Proposal vs. Manuscript 4 Literary Agent
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: niurkainc-ga
List Price: $4.00
Posted: 30 Aug 2006 17:03 PDT
Expires: 29 Sep 2006 17:03 PDT
Question ID: 760974

I'm writing a book and I was told that it's more effective to approach
a high end literary agent with a proposal for the book rather than a
manuscript.  Is this true?  Is a proposal better or more effective
than a manuscript.

And, if so.......what specifically should the proposal include?

Thanks so much!
Subject: Re: Book Proposal vs. Manuscript 4 Literary Agent
Answered By: kriswrite-ga on 31 Aug 2006 09:50 PDT
Hello niurkainc~

Unfortunately, the answer is: "It depends."

IF you are already well known in your field (a known actor, a pro
athlete, someone we see on tv fairly often), then YES, it is better to
approach a good literary agent, rather than market your book directly
to a publisher. This may also be true if you've written at least one
book in the past, through a traditional publishing house (i.e., the
book wasn't self published or published through a very small or
university press). It isn't that a publisher wouldn't be interested in
your work; it's just that an agent should be able to get you a better
contract and a larger advance.

On the other hand, if you aren't well known and you've never written a
book that was published traditionally, it's doubtful a "high end"
literary agent will be interested in your project. In fact, it's
doubtful that any good agent will be interested in your work. In this
case, it's much better to work up a great query letter to send
directly to publishing houses. (Only send in your already-prepared
proposal if an editor requests it after viewing your query letter.)

Not all publishing houses will look at unagented material, so it's
important to do your homework first. Writers Market is a traditional
and good source for such information ( ).

As for your proposal, I highly recommend the book "The Shortest
Distance Between You and a Published Book" by Susan Page (found at
Amazon, or any good book store:

Here is a pretty decent example of a book proposal: (Kathryn Lance, Book
Proposals) Every book proposal should contain the following:

* A title page (title and author's name centered on page, author's
contact info in the lower left corner)

* Contents of proposal

* An overview that hooks the editor into the idea, piquing their interest.

* Author bio (why you are the best writer for this book)

* An examination of who the book's target audience is (including
relevant statistics)

* An examination of the competition. How is your book different and
better than other books currently available on the topic? (Don't
simply say "there is no other book like this.")

* A section on how you will promote the book.

* Three sample chapters.

This is all assuming you're writing a nonfiction book. If it's
fiction, check out "The Fiction Proposal:"

Good luck!
Researcher's personal knowledge
Google search for: "Sample Book Proposal," "Fiction Book Proposal"
Subject: Re: Book Proposal vs. Manuscript 4 Literary Agent
From: alice33-ga on 31 Aug 2006 05:08 PDT
Unfortunately, the 'trying to get published game' is nasty and a lot
of hard work. It is not guaranteed that approaching a high end agent
with a proposal will work any better than presenting a manuscript -
offering a proposal will probably result in them asking for a
manuscript anyway, and they are still able to decline your offer if
they decide they don't like the way you write (harsh but true). My
best advice is to work like stink on your manuscript, get it
proof-read by some trustworthy friends/relatives, then sit down with a
copy of "writers and artists handbook 2006" (available from your local
libary, or you can buy it from bookstores) and pick out publishing
houses or agents that deal specifically with your genre of writing.
Then it's a matter of sending it off, dealing wit the rejections and
keeping you fingers crossed for an acceptance!!!
It's hard, but it does happen, so keep writing and good luck!!!

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