Podcast #28- Book Proposals, Gatekeeping, and Pity Parties

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Another literary agent emailed me a few weeks ago after reading my query letter. She wanted to see my book proposal, which I hadn’t written yet.

A book proposal is simply a sales pitch for why they should represent your work. I liken it to a car salesman telling the literary agent why they need to be IN MY BOOK TODAY.

A book proposal is made up of many sections.

An Overview that will entice the agent to read your book.

An About The Author page that should not seem too braggy while also promoting you in the field you are writing about.

A Marketing Plan that describes in detail how you plan to advertise your book, your selling strategy, your social media following, blog, and so on.

A Comparative Analysis, in which you select at least two other books on the shelves today about your subject and try to tear them down nicely while explaining why why your book is better but not significantly better, but also why your book is needed on the shelf.

There’s even more, but I’m afraid I’ve lost all of you by now.

Oh, and it must be at least 15 pages long and no longer than 55 pages.

If you didn’t already know, I despise elevator pitches, I cannot stand writing bio’s, and all of this is the stuff of nightmares for me. And here I was, facing four days focusing on one big-ass elevator pitch.

While recovering from the side effects of my booster shot.

The podcast lays out what happened during the week I worked on my proposal and the agent’s response much better than I could express it here. So if you’ve been meaning to listen to a podcast, today is the day. I’m also fatigued from drafting a 35-page proposal, which is why I’m phoning it in here.

I mentioned in the podcast a link to the following post:

How to Turn Your Blog Posts into a Book That Publishers Will Love

And this song just felt appropriate:

Have you ever thrown a pity party for yourself? Tell me about your most memorable one.

26 thoughts on “Podcast #28- Book Proposals, Gatekeeping, and Pity Parties”

  1. I throw them so often they all sort of blend in together. But the memorable ones are where I’m down on myself because I’ve been made to feel bad, but then something happens the whoever made me feel bad, and then I wonder if they’re getting their comeuppance for being mean to me

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think the interest in the book proposal is huge. Let’s focus on that for a moment and not the work the actual book proposal requires.

    Back when I was leaning towards writing a tell-all about Irish dancing (still my plan but the memoir is my current focus and Irish dancing book is on the back burner) a mentor who has been published told me I needed to compare my book to other SIMILAR books on the shelf. Huh? I searched and searched but as far as I can tell there is nothing else similar out there. Isn’t that a good thing? Like, hello unique.

    Best of luck with the process.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I cannot imagine how difficult it is to craft a book proposal. I’d get bummed if I tried. Still I give you kudos for doing so and am hoping the effort was worth it to you, if not also to an agent.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I was tired after my second shot. That’s why I wanted to get through Thanksgiving, hosting guests, and the funeral before the booster. I barely made it through the past 10 days as it was.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I shall listen to your podcast today! I’m super interested in knowing about your book – so I’ll wait to hear. I’m pretty new here so I didn’t even know you WROTE a book! Yay you! What an incredible accomplishment!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I can’t even begin to think of how difficult it would be to have a book published. Wait, I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to write an actual book! The fact that someone took the time to look into yours is pretty huge. Right? I know it might not feel like that right now, but I think it’s huge. Keep forging on, but I understand and agree that maybe you take a break for a few weeks; enjoy your family and the chaos of the holidays.

    Pity party? I’m pretty good at throwing them for myself.

    Big hugs my friend. XO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is the perspective I need to keep in mind; two people took time to read my work and they saw potential.

      It’s fine to host those parties every now and then, in my opinion. Especially if there are good snacks. 🙂

      Thank you for the hugs. XOXO.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. A pity party is still a party…which means you should celebrate the fact that 1) you wrote a book and 2) you have an interested agent!

    Cheers to you, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’m trying to picture someone like, I dunno… Eudora Welty or Virginia Woolf doing this book proposal you describe. Like, really? I can sorta vaguely see a nonfiction author doing this… like Julia Child? Maybe? But that’s prob bc I know nothing about Julia Child except Meryl Streep’s Julia Child (in the movie Julie & Julia – which is a movie about a book from a BLOG! Holy Full Circle Batman!) and, let’s be honest, Meryl Streep seems like a badass who could A+ anything… even a book proposal!

    Anywho, that book proposal seems to req a completely diff skill set than, say, writing a friggin book. And clearly we can blame modern life for making us Do Everything Ourselves… even market research, planning out a book promotion, etc. Like, if you have to do this yourself, why not just publish too? Release in ebook format and you avoid all those pesky paper, ink, shipping costs…. You could have all of the fun of naming your book AND your own publishing “house” (cottage? shack? lean-to?)!

    My only hope is that this crazy ridic task has resulted in one fantastically motivating music playlist that you will return to again & again when other onerous tasks need to get done. Sending good thoughts your way,

    PS. Super big YAYS that someone requested your proposal! Writing the proposal is poopy but OMG! someone is intrigued by your book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG, YES! I converse with my comments with my comments as I read them, and I was yessing along the entire time with this one.

      Why haven’t I thought of creating an epic Book Writing Experience playlist? It’s time. Thank you for inspiring me.

      It is super exciting that someone has requested my book, and I keep reminding myself of this. That, I believe, is the bigger picture I need to keep reminding myself of.


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