How to write a book proposal

You’ve found your dream publisher, and you’re ready to pitch your book. You just need to write a proposal that will convince them to publish it.

Just like journals, every press has their own guidelines for authors. Find it; it will tell you exactly what the editors want in a proposal. Most proposals ask for the same basic things, so in this article, we will review each and look at what the publisher expects to see in those sections.

Can I help you in any way? Publishing strategies (part 1)

“Hello, thank you for visiting. Can I help you in any way?” If you’ve browsed our TAA website, you’ve likely seen those words in the chat box that appears on the screen. We’re often asked by visitors if we’re “real”. Then those who realize that we are, and that we are there to help, ask questions that you may have as well.  

In this series of “Can I help you in any way?” posts, we’re highlighting some of the questions people have asked through the TAA Live Chat feature of our site and the responses we have for those questions. In this post, we’re focused on questions about publishing strategies.  

Playing the field: Is it ok to submit a single book proposal to multiple publishers?

Building a relationship with a publisher, for many authors, is a lifelong commitment, so the decision of which publisher to work with shouldn’t be taken lightly. How do you know that you’ve found “the one” for your book? We sought the opinions of seven TAA members on whether or not it’s acceptable to submit a single book proposal to several different publishers. Here are their responses and reasoning.

Q&A: Is it acceptable to submit your proposal to multiple publishers?

Q: “When seeking a new publisher, do I only talk to one acquisitions editor at a time (wait for them to send my materials out for review and either other a contract or not) before sending material out to any other editor, or is it acceptable to send materials out to 2 or 3 at once?”

A: Richard Hull, Former TAA Executive Director:

“Self interest indicates you should send the proposal out to as many publishers as you can, trying to maximize your chances of getting an acceptance. But this may lead to other moral dilemmas: what if you get an early response, accept the offer, and just as you are about to close the deal you get another, better offer?