Writing Assignment: Write Your Book Proposal

by Randy Murray on May 13, 2011

You may not have won the lottery, but today is your lucky day. You’ve just met a publisher who seemed interested in what you had to say. And they said those magic words: send me a proposal.

A book proposal is a short, very short, description of what your book is (or will be) about. You should include a simple overview, provide some idea of who might be interested in your book and how they might learn about it (marketing and promotion), a full synopsis, and a bit about yourself.

Some proposals go into great depth, providing chapter-by-chapter synopsis and summaries, maybe even a sample chapter or two, but that’s not needed today. You want to keep the conversation going and demonstrate to the publisher that you have a strong book idea, and a clear idea of who your readers are and what they want or need.  Your proposal combines marketing, a pitch, and, sometimes, it’s your one shot at getting a publisher’s attention.

For today’s assignment, write up a proposal of your book. If you don’t have a book in mind, make it your memoirs, or  your autobiography, volume one. Keep it brief, perhaps just one page.

Here’s my example:

Book Proposal

Title: More Writing Assignments

Synopsis: A second volume of Writing Assignments — short, focused exercises to help writers develop skills, practice techniques, and overcome writer’s block.

About The Author: Randy Murray is the author of Writing Assignments. He is a playwright and professional business writer. He publishes the blog First Today, Then Tomorrow.

Overview: This will be a follow-on volume to the original Writing Assignments book. It will be assembled from assignments published on the blog First Today, Then Tomorrow as well as new, unpublished assignments. This volume will also include several short essays on writing.

Marketing and Promotion: The first market for this book will be to readers of the original volume. Research from sales of the first volume tell us that this is a popular category for secondary and college educators, for bloggers, and for aspiring writers. An emerging market is, surprisingly, for the puzzle market. We are seeing a crossover purchase interest in those who purchase Sudoku or crossword puzzle products with Writing Assignments. This is a potential promotional avenue that should be explored and expanded upon.

Another suggested promotional approach would be to offer a bundle of both volumes for an attractive price, or perhaps give away an electronic version of the first volume with purchase of this new volume.

You may leave your completed assignment in the comments section below.

Click here to view and complete previous writing assignments

And buy a copy of the new Writing Assignments book!


The Writing Assignment: Write Your Book Proposal by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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