Tuesday, July 23, 2019

#TipfulTuesday The Key Ingredient to Publication: A Stellar Proposal

The Conference season is in full swing. Some have ended, some are yet to come. THIS TOPIC is crucial for writers hoping to land an agent or book contract while there.

After many years of attending writing conferences, classes, and reading books on writing, I have learned the key ingredient to publication, second only to a magnificent manuscript, is a stellar proposal.

Not the number of followers.

A stellar proposal is the answer.

The first instructor I heard give this advice said, "You spend months maybe years crafting a good manuscript. The proposal should have as much attention." Write To Publish Conference Instructor, Wheaton Illinois 2002.

Devote Time to Crafting a Stellar Proposal

What did he mean by that? A proposal is simply a collection of facts about your book and you, right? 

Not really. The hours spent collecting that data and splashing them on a page is only a tiny portion. We are writers and must convey the information in a compelling manner.

Perfect the Writing and Formatting

While at the Blue Ridge Conference, a Books and Such agent scanned through my proposal and pointed out several phrases. "I don't need that. Or that." Without her guidance I wouldn't have notice.

Agents and publishers receive numerous submissions daily. They will scan your proposal like a reader scans a new book. They are first looking for something that interests them. If their eyes fall on wordy phrases, superfluous information, or poor writing, the proposal will be rejected in the same way a reader will put the new book back on the shelf and walk away. 

Include Only Relevant Information

Think of a resume. If you applied for a medical position, you wouldn't note the art class you teach. 

However, say my story had homeless characters, I could include my Masters in Guidance and Counseling, my work as a caseworker for the homeless, or my volunteer work at the homeless mission because this shows credibility.

Vigilance not stagnation

Also, Agent Cyle Young, whom I spoke with at an American Christian Fiction Writers' Conference  (ACFW) state chapter meeting, showed me a few items to delete because, although they were relevant, the numbers generated did not create a positive impression. What did he mean? All information should reflect your efforts to get your message out. It should demonstrate your vigilance not stagnation.

Writing a proposal takes much more than looking at a sample from online and tailoring the style/formatting to suit your manuscript.

Bob Hostetler, agent with Steve Laube Agency, finds the proposal a key tool in selling his client's books to publishers. His 2019 BRMCWC class had a great focus on this topic. Articles on proposals are available on the Steve Laube Agency website: https://stevelaube.com/?s=proposals

*Set aside some time each week to research how to write a proposal. 
*Read in-depth blog posts, watch You Tube videos, read several books, and take classes on-line. 
*Have Your Proposal Critiqued by one or more persons who have mastered the art of proposal writing.

Without a stellar Book Proposal, a magnificent manuscript may never be read

And we want you to be successful!

~Mary Vee
Photo Credit: Mary Vee

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Mary Vee -Rock climbing, white-water rafting, and hiking top Mary’s list of ways to enjoy a day. She was homeless for a time, was a teacher, a missionary, and married an Air Force vet. Mary has been a finalist in several writing contests and writes for her King.
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