The Components of a Nonfiction Book Proposal

To land a publishing deal you must craft a winning book proposal. The book proposal is a marketing tool used to sell a nonfiction book idea. The book proposal varies in length from 10 to 40 pages, plus the pages of the sample chapter(s), based on the scope of your specific project. It consists of the following components:

The Overview. The Overview section summarizes what your book is about. It needs to concisely convey what you intend to write and generate interest in the project.

The Market. The Market for your book refers to the audience. Agents and publishers want to know there is a large targeted group of readers who will purchase the book when it is released.

Competitive Analysis. The purpose of the Competitive Analysis section is to convince an agent and publisher that there is room on the bookstore shelf for your book.

The Promotional Plan. The Promotional Plan details what you will do to help sell the book. Agents and publishers want to know you are willing and capable of marketing the book by evaluating your plan, your platform, and your connections. (Your promotional plan may also provide the publishing house’s marketing department with additional ideas for how to best promote your book.)

About the Author. The About the Author section of the proposal presents your biographical information and expands upon your promotional ability.

The Chapter Outline. The purpose of this section is to present a preview of the entire book. An agent wants to know that you will cover all the intended information, deliver the book’s promise within the content, and package it in a form that is accessible to readers.

Sample Chapters. Sample Chapters are excerpts from your book that highlight your writing ability, and the style, tone, and depth of the manuscript.

Supplemental Material. This section contains additional items about you and your subject.