View Full Version : HELP! Not your usual NF book proposal question

09-16-2007, 05:38 AM
I get how to write a NF book proposal, but I'm in a bit of a quandry.
The acquisition agent of my publisher called me Friday, quite out of the blue, to describe a project that is coming up and to tell me that she wanted to put me into the pool of 3-4 authors that they're considering for the book.

The book is to be a sole-authorship, with wide-audience appeal etc. etc. "A really great opportunity to the author who gets selected" as she put it. Incidently, I really like working with her, she's great, and while if I get the assignment, it would slow the progress on my already (un-agented/un-signed) NF WIP, having it on the resume, would help with the proposal for current WIP. (Sorry about the r-o sentence.)

My questions are:

Since I've been asked to submit a proposal, should I follow the same format as an unsolicited proposal, or do I omit things like audience/market since the pub already has their target aud. in mind and already have bookstores committed to the book?

Should I only give her what she asked for and no more, or do I go ahead and show my mettle so-to-speak, and demonstrate that I've learned a thing or two about the biz since they pub'd my book in 2004 and make it the usual style of proposal?

TIA for anyone who can shed some light on this strange (and wonderful) problem. And offer any additional advice for questions I haven't thought up yet. ;)
In the meantime, I'm outlining away. :e2writer:
She wants it by Tuesday. :eek::Jaw:

09-16-2007, 05:39 AM
I forgot to subscribe to the thread, so I had to post in order to subscribe to it.

09-16-2007, 05:48 AM
Congratulations on such a wonderful problem.

Tripletsmom asked a similar question in another thread "need advice on offer" back in August. Maybe ask her or read what others had to say.

In my opinion, it's still a competition and if you go the "normal" route and all of your competition ups the ante, then that leaves you out. While I'm new to nonfiction (although I have an agent and publisher), I have years of proposal-writing experience and my husband is a former grant writer. Different fields, same purpose: trying to convince someone to buy your idea or talent. Good luck.

09-16-2007, 06:32 AM
Thanks! I will search for the thread. :)

Lauri B
09-16-2007, 05:10 PM
Hi Erika,
I would consider this an opportunity to wow them with a complete proposal--it shows them that you are on the ball, understand what they are asking you to do, and that you understand the audience, as well, even if you're repeating what she already told you? I think it's always better to show you are prepared and competent to do the whole job. If i were the acquisitions editor and received only a partially complete proposal, I'd think twice about the author's commitment to the project.
good luck!

09-16-2007, 05:24 PM
I completely agree with Nomad. Send a proposal that shows you really know what you're talking about and leave no room for anyone else to send a better proposal. Cover all the bases, so they know you understand the project and can produce a stellar manuscript. Regurgitating information shows you fully understand the scope of the project, and adding new information shows you can write a compelling book.

In terms of putting your other book on the backburner to work on this one, I'd say that's not a problem. If you're selected to write this book, it's a done deal - practically guaranteed to be released. Your other book will still be there to complete once this one is published.

Good luck!

09-16-2007, 06:43 PM
Thanks Nomad and Tripletsmom.
I was leaning towards the complete proposal approach. I really want this assignment, not only because it's right up my alley so to speak, but it definetley will help with the existing WIP. Plus, given that I already have a professional relationship with the acq. ed., this opportunity is good practice for getting a proposal out there to a real person, you know?

I'm also thinking that if I'm not selected, I might ask her to pick my proposal apart and suggeste pointers that I can use for improving the proposal for the current WIP...kwim? So, either way, accepted or not, it's a good learning opportunity before I cast the proposal for my masterpiece (LOL) to the agent fates.

There may be an article germinating out of this experience--how to write a (good) proposal in 3 days--LOL. But that's only if it gets accepted. :D

So far I've got my CL, overview/premise, bio (that part was easy...a simple c&p with a minor update), outline/chapter summaries, competitive titles, resume, some samples (which were requested), platform and promotion. I just have to do the market analysis now, and whittle down my competive titles, I think I have too many.

Oh btw, in case anyone is wondering why I haven't mentioned the pub or the topic of the book, it's because since they're going to be selecting from a group of 3 or 4 candidates it's possible that one of the other candidates might also be an AW member, you know. If that's the case, and one of us is picked, that's awesome for AW, but for now, mum's the word on the pub. and topic.