I have enjoyed switching gears to the book proposal writing phase. It’s familiar territory (how many proposals have we written in our careers?) and doing research again is fun. I even went to a public library and signed out two books on winning proposals!
Writing a proposal is like making a cake: each ingredient must be added in the right amount and in the right order for it to create something special. Experimentation is risky.
Most advice contains the same sections and a lot of the same tips:
- Overview – What is your premise and how does it satisfy a need?
- Markets – Who will buy your book?
- Competition – What books are similar to yours and why is yours different?
- Author – Why are you the best author for this book?
- Promotion – What can you do to help sell your book?
- Table of Contents
- Sample Chapters
In the past, I would create a proposal framework and then fill it the sections sequentially, building the narrative. This time, I dove into writing a draft as I was researching. This was a mistake because it missed the big picture and was less organized. After a day of “free-wheeling” I went back to a more structured and effective approach.
One hundred and one reasons for becoming my publisher is a stretch, especially since my goal is to convince one that my book will sell enough copies to make a profit. All other reasons are icing on the cake.
“What are you going to call it?” is often the first question people ask me about my book. I answer the same way each time: “I don’t know.” I have thought about potential names but not one of them has stuck. My book keeps changing and so does it’s description.
There is a lot of advice on picking a book title. Sources agree that there is a lot at stake because it is a key influencer on whether or not a reader will buy your book (or someone else’s).
A good title…
– Grabs attention, is intriguing, and pulls the reader in
– Sums up what the book is about
– Hints at the benefits of buying it (addresses what people need)
– Is relevant to the audience interested in your book
– Is not too obtuse, clever or clichéd
– Does not include hard to pronounce words
– Is positive
– Matches the tone (and energy) of the book
– Is short (less than eight words)
– Stands out from other books in your genre
– Is easy to remember
– Includes a subtitle that further describe what the reader gets
– Includes key words a reader would type into a search engine to find a book like yours
– Does not mislead the reader
I have been tracking my competition through LinkedIn chat topics on the best change management books written. The list is at 243 and counting. Also, I downloaded the table of contents of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time. Finding a title that will stand out from these tomes and meet all of the above criteria will be a challenge. There is one more requirement, however, that makes the task a little more manageable: you need to love your title and be proud of it because you will have it for life.