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Author Topic: Non-fiction Manuscript Proposals?  (Read 4915 times)
ShePirate
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« on: March 18, 2018, 06:39:34 AM »

Is it possible to start a topic on Proposals? I've come to understand that most are writing fiction in the QT forum which does not require a Proposal but sure could use the help with my Proposal. 
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Excerpt: Chapter 1 -"That vast emptiness invaded my entire life leaving just one intoxicating image. I didn’t understand its significance or where it would lead but I knew it was the start of something. Little did I realize, it marked the start of a lifelong quest toward self-actualization."
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2018, 10:56:18 AM »

Happy to talk about my experiences. I've written two books from proposals with a major press, and in my experience, it was way easier than querying agents. And when I wrote the first proposal, I sent it blind to that editor, she didn't know me from boo, so it really was the proposal that got me the work.

The details and sequence of what you include will vary by genre—cookbooks are different from textbooks are different from Steven Covey pop-management. But they want to know a few things.
1. Can you write? Is the proposal itself written in a voice that is appropriately engaging for its function?
2. Do you know your competitors, and can you state why yours is different and better? There have to BE competitors to demonstrate a viable market, but you have to demonstrate why your book should exist in the face of their successes.
3. Have you created a viable, detailed outline of your book? Do you know the story you want to tell? Every editor knows that the book will morph as it's written, but they want to see that you've laid out a strong map that will act as your workplan.
4. Have you made the case for why you're the right person to write this? That can be a mixture of expertise, name recognition/fan base, and prior publications, but you have to convince an editor that you're the best option for another entry in this marketplace.

Anyway, I think this is a terrific thread. I'll look forward to more of it.

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ShePirate
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2018, 11:33:47 PM »

Happy to talk about my experiences. I've written two books from proposals with a major press, and in my experience, it was way easier than querying agents. And when I wrote the first proposal, I sent it blind to that editor, she didn't know me from boo, so it really was the proposal that got me the work.

The details and sequence of what you include will vary by genre—cookbooks are different from textbooks are different from Steven Covey pop-management. But they want to know a few things.
1. Can you write? Is the proposal itself written in a voice that is appropriately engaging for its function?
2. Do you know your competitors, and can you state why yours is different and better? There have to BE competitors to demonstrate a viable market, but you have to demonstrate why your book should exist in the face of their successes.
3. Have you created a viable, detailed outline of your book? Do you know the story you want to tell? Every editor knows that the book will morph as it's written, but they want to see that you've laid out a strong map that will act as your workplan.
4. Have you made the case for why you're the right person to write this? That can be a mixture of expertise, name recognition/fan base, and prior publications, but you have to convince an editor that you're the best option for another entry in this marketplace.

Anyway, I think this is a terrific thread. I'll look forward to more of it.


So glad to see your response to my request! Competition is the main struggle as my book is a bit different and I don't know where or how to find similar.

Here's the link to what I have so far...your take on it would be hugely appreciated.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1LdDQKkGYzAKK_oveOhvlJ9IAzR8EokssBi6o-eIYCfc/edit?usp=sharing

If you don't have Google Docs, I can email you the PDF. Someone referred me to Michael Larsens - How to Write a Book Proposal and I purchased that Kindle book from Amazon.

Hope to hear back and thanks again!!!
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 12:18:39 AM by ShePirate » Logged

Excerpt: Chapter 1 -"That vast emptiness invaded my entire life leaving just one intoxicating image. I didn’t understand its significance or where it would lead but I knew it was the start of something. Little did I realize, it marked the start of a lifelong quest toward self-actualization."
koji
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2018, 02:29:25 AM »

Have you read Tracks by Robyn Davidson or Wild by Cheryl Strayed? These might help you place your story a bit more.

Rather than "Big Idea" they are memoir with philosophical and adventure components.
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Waterfall
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2018, 11:15:43 AM »

Have you read Tracks by Robyn Davidson or Wild by Cheryl Strayed? These might help you place your story a bit more.

Rather than "Big Idea" they are memoir with philosophical and adventure components.

Brings to mind Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or Golf in the Kingdom... memoir with philosophy.

And ignore everything I said about proposals, by the way. I didn't realize you were working in the memoir genre, which (as has been said elsewhere) is treated like a novel in terms of querying. A proposal isn't likely to be requested for a memoir.
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ShePirate
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2018, 06:07:47 PM »

Have you read Tracks by Robyn Davidson or Wild by Cheryl Strayed? These might help you place your story a bit more.

Rather than "Big Idea" they are memoir with philosophical and adventure components.

Yes, I used Strayed's book in my original Query as a comparison but it was dropped for more narrative. It's also been compared to EAT PRAY LOVE, from the adventure/travel standpoint. I'll check out TRACKS.
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Excerpt: Chapter 1 -"That vast emptiness invaded my entire life leaving just one intoxicating image. I didn’t understand its significance or where it would lead but I knew it was the start of something. Little did I realize, it marked the start of a lifelong quest toward self-actualization."
ShePirate
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2018, 06:10:45 PM »

Have you read Tracks by Robyn Davidson or Wild by Cheryl Strayed? These might help you place your story a bit more.

Rather than "Big Idea" they are memoir with philosophical and adventure components.

Brings to mind Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or Golf in the Kingdom... memoir with philosophy.

And ignore everything I said about proposals, by the way. I didn't realize you were working in the memoir genre, which (as has been said elsewhere) is treated like a novel in terms of querying. A proposal isn't likely to be requested for a memoir.

I hope it doesn't become necessary but at least I'm somewhat prepared if it does. Also, thanks SO VERY MUCH for the competing titles. Now, can you give any advice and how to get the demographics for these books? That's the other thing that is suffering.
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Excerpt: Chapter 1 -"That vast emptiness invaded my entire life leaving just one intoxicating image. I didn’t understand its significance or where it would lead but I knew it was the start of something. Little did I realize, it marked the start of a lifelong quest toward self-actualization."
ShePirate
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2018, 07:17:44 PM »

Have you read Tracks by Robyn Davidson or Wild by Cheryl Strayed? These might help you place your story a bit more.

Rather than "Big Idea" they are memoir with philosophical and adventure components.

Brings to mind Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or Golf in the Kingdom... memoir with philosophy.

And ignore everything I said about proposals, by the way. I didn't realize you were working in the memoir genre, which (as has been said elsewhere) is treated like a novel in terms of querying. A proposal isn't likely to be requested for a memoir.

Forgot to say...GREAT! Comparisons and thank you!  Now, how to research their demographics and sales?  Any site that lists that kind of info?
« Last Edit: March 22, 2018, 12:21:03 AM by ShePirate » Logged

Excerpt: Chapter 1 -"That vast emptiness invaded my entire life leaving just one intoxicating image. I didn’t understand its significance or where it would lead but I knew it was the start of something. Little did I realize, it marked the start of a lifelong quest toward self-actualization."
MookyMcD
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2018, 02:12:58 AM »

I'm pretty sure the nonfiction books that get deals with a proposal are hard nonfiction. Meaning: I'm proposing to write a book about the Johnson administration with this focus, here's my connection to the LBJ library or some stuff I found there, here's a detailed outline of what I'm planning to write, and here's why it matters.

I've seen your query, and I'm not 100% sure where the line between memoir and fiction is on it, but proposals don't really work for non-celebrity memoirs or fiction, so I doubt that would make a difference. If you were to retool the concept to a straight nonfiction book about the treasure hunt itself, I could see it being something that could be pitched as nonfiction by way of a proposal. 
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ShePirate
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 08:57:44 PM »

I'm pretty sure the nonfiction books that get deals with a proposal are hard nonfiction. Meaning: I'm proposing to write a book about the Johnson administration with this focus, here's my connection to the LBJ library or some stuff I found there, here's a detailed outline of what I'm planning to write, and here's why it matters.

I've seen your query, and I'm not 100% sure where the line between memoir and fiction is on it, but proposals don't really work for non-celebrity memoirs or fiction, so I doubt that would make a difference. If you were to retool the concept to a straight nonfiction book about the treasure hunt itself, I could see it being something that could be pitched as nonfiction by way of a proposal. 

I see thank you! I have gotten great references to other memoirs with a philosophical/adventure theme. I'm not questioning, the 'fiction' angle anymore.

I do believe you are correct in that Proposals are more toward hard non-fiction, however. The point being is I'm prepared if it's requested. I'll post here if an agent/publisher does request the proposal. The proposal, btw, is of great value toward showing the marketability of the manuscript, a chapter summary, etc. If I was an agent, I'd like to get the birds eye view from the Proposal. It would save a lot of time.
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Excerpt: Chapter 1 -"That vast emptiness invaded my entire life leaving just one intoxicating image. I didn’t understand its significance or where it would lead but I knew it was the start of something. Little did I realize, it marked the start of a lifelong quest toward self-actualization."
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