Memoir Book Proposal

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sharonsharon

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I am putting together a Memoir book proposal for a major publishing house. The book is not done, but they are accepting my book proposal in April. I am sending what I do have to an editor this week to help me in the process of putting together the proposal.

A question about memoir proposals- If the Publisher is not interested, I will then send out the proposals to agents and continue writing. If a memoir is not finished is it appropriate to send out the proposal to agents. The story and topic is very unusual and interesting, which is why this publisher wants to see the proposal.

I have seen some people say it needs to be finished and others say the proposal would be enough to send to some agents. Has anyone had any experience in this area?
 

Little Red Barn

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hi, sharon. it could go either way. generally they ask for the first three chapters along with the proposal. if the premise wow's someone, they could set a finish date for the rest of the work. myself, i had my ms completed before querying. the agent took it to auction with the query only, as she thought it was powerful enough to pitch without a proposal. everyone is different, tho.

good luck!
 

buz

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I haven't seen a single right answer for this (but then I'm not, yanno, a professional, so maybe hang around for a smarter and more definitive answer ;) ), and I've seen both. Personally, if I were an agent, I'd prefer to see a whole manuscript, unless the author was "proven" in some other way (i.e. is already famous or has some other major selling point about them). I've seen a lot of memoirs that started off really promising and then got all muddled and disjointed later on, and I'd want to be sure. I've seen the "proposal" method done more for memoirs that already have a selling point--celebrity tell-alls, for example--and the whole manuscript for more unknown entities.

But...I don't know that there's a correct way. :)
 

abluerwhite

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I'm glad you asked this because I plan on proposing a celebrity memoir to an agent and it's unfinished. Is it still very likely you can get an offer like this?
 

Siri Kirpal

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Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

If you yourself are unknown (comparatively) or your subject is, it's best to have the book finished before querying, even if you've got a proposal. In the case of celebrity people or celebrity topics, then a proposal with two or three chapters completed may be all that's necessary.

Best of luck.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal
 

sharonsharon

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thank you everyone. Because the publisher who wants to see it just wants a book proposal, I am working on that now. After sending it in, I will write out the whole story. The premise is very unusual and interesting. But, I will definitely start the whole writing process after this proposal is sent off in april. I am sending it to an editor this week and perhaps she will have suggestions.

I too have heard different stories.
 

LillyPu

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thank you everyone. Because the publisher who wants to see it just wants a book proposal, I am working on that now. After sending it in, I will write out the whole story. The premise is very unusual and interesting. But, I will definitely start the whole writing process after this proposal is sent off in april. I am sending it to an editor this week and perhaps she will have suggestions.

I too have heard different stories.
Good luck with this. Did you query first? And then the publisher asked to see the proposal? If they're interested, why are they waiting until April, or is that when you said you'd have it for them? Why wait to start the whole process after the proposal "is sent off in April?" Why not work on it now?

Sorry for all the questions? I'm curious as to how this all works, if I ever decide to write some creative nonfiction. :)
 

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