Writing a Book Proposal for a Ghostwritten Book

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Are you thinking about having your nonfiction book or memoir written by a ghostwriter? If so, you may want to create a book proposal and get your book idea accepted by a publisher before you invest in a ghostwriter. 

A book proposal is intended to “sell” your idea and convince publishers to accept your nonfiction book. If you can ensure that your idea is publishable before signing a contract with a ghostwriter, you save yourself the risk of investing significant amounts of money into a project with few, if any, returns.

In its simplest form, a book proposal includes a concise summary of the main ideas, a sample chapter and outline, and some marketing strategies. However, there are other elements you should include as well. You usually end up with somewhere between 15 and 75 pages. 

You might be unfamiliar with the book proposal process and wonder how to put the document together. The steps below contain each element that should be included and help you figure out how to construct it. A book proposal is an important step in publishing your work, so it’s not something to take lightly. 

Do you have questions and need help writing a book proposal? Are you unfamiliar with the process? Are you looking for ghostwriting services? Whether you’re a CEO who wants to share insightful business habits or secrets or someone who wants to immortalize their legacy, check out how we can help.

Write an overview

The overview of your book should make an acquisition editor want to know and read more, so write something that piques their interest. You want a brief summary clearly describing what your story is going to be about. It can help to think of what you might want written on the back cover of your book. You should try to pull the reader in and make them want to buy your work. Effectively, your book proposal is a form of marketing, the difference being that your target audience is publishers, not readers. 

Remember to identify your genre and touch on your themes. Convince the editor that your book fills a niche in the marketplace. If it’s on an esoteric topic, show them there’s ample interest in the subject.

Specify your main audience 

At this point, you need to let the editor know who the audience for your book is. Who is going to buy and read it? This is where you convince the editor there is a demand for your book.

Try to identify the age range of your audience and the lifestyle they may live. Narrow it down appropriately since not everyone is going to enjoy reading your book. Don’t make your audience so wide that it’s unbelievable. There are very few, if any, books that appeal to all. By identifying your audience, you will show the editor you did your research and understand what group should be targeted. This is also important because different publishers work with different demographics, and yours will want to know they can market your book to their audience.

Compile your author bio 

Your editor will want to know why you’re qualified to write this book. What experience or knowledge do you have that will make people want to read your work? Why should they trust you to handle this topic? If you’re a geologist writing a book on bioengineering, you’d better have a good explanation ready for why you’re the right person to pen this book. Provide the information that shows them they can trust you.

There are different elements you can include in your author bio. Some writers supply their qualifications, which can include their career, experiences, and rewards. Others may submit previously published works or presentations. It is always a good idea to include your social media contacts and your photo as well. If you’re a person with a fascinating story to tell, simply provide whatever information is relevant to it.

Provide marketing ideas

Explain your marketing plan to the editor. They will want to know what steps you’re going to take to sell your book. Today, marketing has become the author’s job, so you should have a plan to get your work into people’s hands. Let the editor know how you will spread the word about your book.

Mention what connections you have. The more places you and your book are seen, the better your sales prospects. You should have your own website that will tout your book, but you should also be present on social media. Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and the like are all places authors should frequent, continuously teasing the new book to their followers before its release. Will you speak at events or do readings in bookstores? Can you do interviews and get reviews? 

All of these are important in building your marketing plan. Think creatively; there are many ways to market your book in today’s technologically advanced and interconnected world.

Bring up comparable works 

This is especially important if your book shies away from the mainstream. An editor will want to know if there’s a market for your work. If you give them comparable titles (5-10 works), they can see that someone out there is reading these types of books.

While you want to compare your book to other works in the subject area, it’s important to stress why it is different, better, or updated. Ask yourself how it fills a void in your market and let the editor know why it needs to be out on the shelves. Tell the editor why someone who’s already bought those other five or 10 titles would want to buy your book as well.

When you provide this analysis, make sure you include the titles, authors, publishers and publishing dates, number of pages, cost, and ISBN. This will allow the editor to easily find any titles you have supplied. 

Submit a concise outline

If you’ve managed to hook the editor with the information above, they will be looking for an outline of your work. This is like a table of contents where you provide some information about each chapter.

This allows the editor to grasp the entire work and the way it flows from the introduction to the conclusion. Don’t drone on and on detailing whole chapters: Provide a brief overview with a few sentences or a paragraph for each. The editor will get a chance to see your writing skills in the sample chapter, so this isn’t the time for flowery prose.

Include a sample chapter

At this point, you probably don’t have the book written yet. If you’re thinking about using a ghostwriter, you may want to reach out and provide them with enough information to construct one chapter. The editor will want to see a sample of the work you plan to submit. They will want to assess your ideas, style, and skills. Of course, you should conduct careful research when choosing a ghostwriter since if your book proposal is accepted, you’ll have to stick with the same professional. 

Choose the chapter that you consider most intriguing. An interesting, engaging chapter gives you a much better chance of getting your book accepted than a slower-moving one. At the same time, you don’t want to choose a chapter that will be confusing outside of the context of the book.

Add any supporting information

This is where you can provide any additional details you wish to share. You can let the editor know the likely word count and when they can expect the first draft. If you have published anything previously and it was a success, make them aware of it. If you have received positive reviews on any writing, include those in this section as well.

Get professional help

When you submit your proposal (and eventually your book), you want it to be in tip-top shape. Enlist a professional editor to help you develop or clean up your work. You stand a better chance of being accepted by publishers if your writing has been edited and reviewed.

Are you ready to take the next step and get help writing your book proposal? Do you want someone to help you reach out to agents and publishers? If you are a CEO sharing your business ideas or someone writing their life story, contact our skilled professionals for assistance.

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