"I have the next New York Times bestseller."
That has been the opening sentence to countless introductions from new authors hoping to gain my attention. Yawn.
While I'm thrilled that you have a passion for your message. (Because if you don't, no one will!) But it takes more than a great message to hit the New York Times bestseller list OR to capture a publisher's attention. So where do you start?
A couple of weeks ago I shared with you the importance of a "hook". It starts there. But after you've crafted your hook and your book, what's next?
The Book Proposal
Whether you are vying for a publisher or literary agent's attention, you'll need to submit a book proposal. A killer book proposal.
The information included in the proposal are what we need to appraise not only your message, but how well you are able to communicate your message, the unique elements of your message, who you are and the extent of your platform. The book itself is not the only thing under scrutiny.
Here are some tips as you begin this process:
- Be thorough. This is going to take you more than 30 minutes if you do it right. Sell yourself and your message. Take the time to do research and do it well.
- Don't Skip Sections. The most often skipped section is the "Comp" section. Comparables are books that you list that are similar in some way to your book. The most common response I receive is "There is NOTHING out there like my book."
It's usually at that point that I stop reading and move on to the next proposal in my pile. If you're not willing to really research and find a book that has similar elements on the market today, why should I?
Help me help you.
Go on the internet. Google your topic. Start searching out books that have a similar audience and element. Choose three books (that have sold well in the marketplace) and then after you include the information requested in the template, tell me why they are similar or different from your book in 1-2 sentences. You can find three. I promise.
3. Platform. If you don't have a platform, an audience, speaking engagements, strong endorsements, etc. then this will be an uphill climb. Most authors wait until they have finished their book to begin work on building their social media platform and strategy.
This step should be taking place prior to or simultaneously with the writing of your manuscript. Build it before you need it. Use blog posts, teasers or other elements to whet the appetite of others and begin to build interest for your message. Submit short articles to one of the numerous online e-zines searching for short articles (more next week on this important aspect) to help build your presence on the internet. Everything helps.
If it took you a year to write your book, then do yourself a favor and give the book proposal the same due diligence to do it well. Put your best foot forward. This will be the literary world's introduction of who you are. Make it count.