If you’re writing a non-fiction book and you’re NOT interested in publishing it yourself,  you need to write a book proposal, not a book.

Why is this?  Unless a publisher approaches you about writing a book,they must first be convinced that a market for the book exists. Then they’ll need to be convinced that you’ve got the right plan for selling your book to that market. If they’re convinced on these two fronts then — and only then — will they read your sample chapters.

You may have to approach publishers through an agent, not directly. Agents will read your book proposal before approaching publishers. If it’s a good one, they’ll help you massage the proposal and your sample chapters to meet the various publishers’ criteria. But you’ve got to write the proposal first (or hire someone to do that for you).

I’ve written before about the need to approach a book project with specific goals. Writing a book proposal will guide you through turning the goals into tactical steps.

See how comfortable you are with these questions and then get in touch if you’re ready to explore how we might work together.

These marketing issues (and others) must be addressed in your book proposal

  1. Name three books that are on the shelves right now (and selling) that would interest the same people who would buy yours. Contrary to what you might think, “competition” demonstrates that a market exists.
    • How is your book the same as each of the three?
    • How is it different from each?
    • Comparing your education, work history, achievements, awards, publications and professional affiliations to those of the other authors, how do you stack up?
  2. If you walked into a book store looking for your book, in what ONE area would they find it? Business?  Finance?  Management?  Personal investing?  Memoir?  Electronics? Computer programming?  This helps you focus — you’ll sell more books when you focus than when you shotgun.
  3. What five questions does your ideal reader want to see answered in your book? This assumes you know who your ideal reader is, of course.
  4. Make a list of everone you can count on to read your book and publicly rave about it.
    • Where they will be raving?
    • How many followers/subscribers will be paying attention to their raves?
  5. How many clubs, professional organizations and affinity groups will pay you to speak at a meeting and allow you to sell your book there?
    • List them.
    • What exact dates and cities will they hold meetings during the first year your book is available?

What about you, the author?

If you plan to write a memoir or autobiography, what about your life has universal appeal?

What can people learn from your experience even if their lives have little in common with yours?

Would a co-author’s credentials help you sell more books?

I recommend reading Guerrilla Marketing for Writers, whether you intend to write your own book, to publish your own book or to use a ghost writer or publisher. Great stuff.

Hopefully you answered these questions with confidence. If so, let’s get started.