Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Good advice for aspiring writers

Although I've never written a book, I am well-aware of the difficulties new writers have in attracting the attention of publishers. The 3rd edition of How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen offers many great tips and examples to help new writers stand out from the crowd and gain the attention of publishers.  The book is extremely thorough and gives plenty of advice on how to make the proposal stand out from the crowd.  The chapters in the book include such topics as how to create a "hook," how to plan a promotion and marketing campaign and how to create an outline.  There is also a style guide included to help focus the attention of the writer onto "action" words and active voice constructions that will help make the proposal more dynamic.  The appendices in the back of the book are helpful, if somewhat intimidating.  The examples of proposals seem to be almost as long and involved as the books themselves!  For instance, a sample proposal includes a table of contents, an overview of the work, outlines of chapters and selections from the proposed book.  The proposals also include suggested markets for the work, overviews of competing book, a mission statement and suggestions for future "spin-offs."  I really had no idea that so much had to be included on a proposal, or that the finished product was so involved!  One thing I liked about the book was that each chapter began with a "Golden Rule" which offered a short snippet of advice from the chapter, and each chapter has relevant "Hot Tips" scattered throughout.  One thing I found odd with the book is that in several places cartoons were described in detail (including where it appeared and who the author was) -- why not just include the cartoon itself?  But that's a minor quibble!  Overall the book was packed with advice and the examples of proposals included will give budding writers an extremely detailed model to follow when preparing their own proposals.

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