Book Building: How It Works, Part I
First in a series.
The Book Proposal
Many business consultants, managers, executives and proprietors have ideas worth sharing with others. The task at hand is how to shape that one great idea into a book others will be eager to read. We believe the best – really, the only – way to achieve this focus is by writing a book proposal.
The great 20th-century French architect Le Corbusier once said, “A problem properly stated finds its own solution.” That’s why our first point of engagement with an author-client is to work together developing the BBG Book Project Worksheet. Completed, it is a template and outline for a formal book proposal.
A book proposal is a business plan for your book. It’s your concept, your rationale for your book, and how you’ll execute it. It states the problem or situation or emerging innovation you want to discuss and how others can embrace it. Included is an assessment of your book’s competition, a description of your audience and market niche, your plan for completion, and a detailed description, chapter-by-chapter, of its contents. When completed, not only do you know what you’re going to do, but now you can effectively communicate it to others. The proposal becomes the execution plan and model for your book.
A formal book proposal is a living document. That means you’ll probably revise it several times as you get your ideas in order. The average length is about 5,000 words, but it may run longer. Remember, you’re creating a business plan, and that means no stone is left unturned.
Once completed, the book proposal is not only your game plan but it’s a marketable product. This is important. If you’re planning to interest an agent and a publisher, it’s how you’ll market your book idea to them. If you’re self-publishing, you have your what, why, when and how all figured out. Many agents provide examples and guidelines for creating a book proposal. Based on our many years of helping authors, as well as writing and marketing our own books, we have created an effective methodology, beginning with the BBG Book Project Worksheet, for developing a comprehensive, marketable book proposal for our author-clients.