Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Proposals--No, Not That Kind
The proposal introduces both the book concept and the author. For fiction, it generally includes a 3- to 5-page single-spaced synopsis. (The rest of the proposal is double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 point, but the synopsis is single-spaced. Why? No one knows.) The fiction proposal also includes a sample of the work, maybe 30 pages or so. But with fiction, a proposal should never be sent until the work is completed, unless you've previously had novels published. This is to prevent people from sending proposals but never completing the work when the full manuscript (a "full") is requested.
A non-fiction proposal may include an annotated table of contents--the title of each chapter with two or three sentences about it. It also includes a sample of the book. And, for some reason, it's considered okay to submit a non-fiction proposal without having completed the book. Go figure!
In either case, the proposal also includes information about you, including your "platform," which is a subject for another post. The format for a proposal varies from agent to agent and publishing house to publishing house. For a detailed look, I'll refer you to a post by my own agent, Rachelle Gardner, whose blog is a gold-mine of such information.
Okay, now we've covered approaching an agent (or editor). What happens next? If you're not successful, a long wait followed by either a rejection or total silence, depending on the preferences of the person to whom you're submitting. If things go well, however, you may be on your way to representation, and after that starts the real climb--getting a publisher's interest.
Hurry back. There's more.