Why book proposals are important — even for self published authors

By Laurel Kashinn, Certified Ghostwriter

A book is both a business and a vehicle. A book’s business plan is called a book proposal. Wise authors take time to write book proposals. Why? Because planning always increase odds of business success.

As a vehicle your book carries your ideas, vision, story, or message to readers. That was the whole, point, right? Your book carries you, the author, as well to new experiences, new people, and perhaps a new identity as an authority: you “wrote the book on that.”

The vehicle of your book might even carry you beyond your time, posthumously imparting a kind of immortality, connecting to your grandchildren and great grandchildren, if not a wider circle. Some special books go on a journey far, far away, translated into other languages and across time, carrying to many others knowledge, wisdom, the memory of an event, sharing ideas, visions, and information that transform society and the world — sometimes for generations.

About Nonfiction Book Proposals

Besides being a blueprint and a map, a book proposal is also a sales and marketing plan. A book proposal includes a market analysis, audience demographics, platform growth and promotional strategies, sales plans, marketing blurbs, and much more. A book proposal is required to sell nonfiction manuscripts and land you a publishing deal (if your aim is traditional publishing.) It is also immensely important in selling your books directly (for self publishing.)

It’s not just about having the finished written book proposal. Sure, you need that if you’re selling your manuscript, books, or seeking funding. The real value of creating any business plan is engaging in the process of thinking about what you want, where you want to go. Visualizing your destination and how to get there, imagining the steps and stops along the way. Writing it all down aids in the process of attracting the right opportunities and making it all happen.

That’s because focus of attention is very powerful and all things begin as ideas. The clearer the ideas in your book proposal, the faster and more easily their creation becomes. The act of daydreaming, thinking, planning, making checklists, and visualizing what you want to see happen with your book—in a relaxed enjoyable way — is a key part of a successful book business journey.

Self-published authors need book proposals, too

Book proposals are also important for self-published authors–perhaps even more so. After all, as your book’s publisher, you are responsible for all of the marketing activities. A carefully thought-out book proposal will absolutely help you make sure you don’t crash your vehicle!

A friend on FB shared a story about a book that clearly was without a book proposal. He had posted “Feeling Disappointed” after attending a book signing at a well-known independent book store on Milwaukee’s East Side. He’d heard a radio interview with the author, read about it in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, took time out to drive across town, attended a packed event to listen to the author speak. He and lots of other people were greatly interested in the topic. But there were NO books to buy! They had all sold out–less than a month after publication! The author did not even have a sign-up sheet to collect names and email addresses for later follow up!

A few weeks later I read that that bookstore is no longer promoting self-published authors. Hopefully they will read this article and amend that decision to be “no longer promoting self-published authors without a book proposal and evidence that they are not an amateur.”

A book proposal prepares you for your book launch

Think of your book launch like a cross between a rocket launch and a wedding. It happens only once. There are no do-overs. Think about all the months or years of effort you put into writing your book. Don’t you want it to get off the launchpad? Break out of the atmosphere? You certainly don’t want to blow up on launch–and waste all that time and effort!

For whatever distance your book might travel, thinking about who you want to read your book, and how to get the books in their hands, knowing how many people that is, and what you want to see happen after you publish is important. And its important to do this planning well in advance of your launch date. You need time to make sure your vehicle has wheels, wings, an engine, tires, transmission. And fuel. And for those it is carrying, the right seats.

Maybe the seats in your vehicle are comfortable, readers fall in love. Or maybe the seats make reading uncomfortable, and inspire them to get up and take action. Or teach them something valuable. The writing should support that.

While you are the author, the designer of your vehicle, your book needs to be written in a way that when the reader opens and starts reading, they go for a ride. To make that happen, the author needs writing and editorial know-how, as well as know-how about the publishing industry: a blueprint, a plan, and a road map.

It’s all up to you, the author, to decide: is your book a 2-wheeled scooter, powered by one leg’s muscles that will just go around the block? Which is perfectly fine if that’s what you want. Or will it be a rocket ship, that blasts out of orbit and makes it to the moon and back? Or to the planet Pandora?

If you need help writing a book and a book proposal that gets your project off the ground, I’d love to talk with you. Book a free strategy session with me (pun intended) at http://calendly.com/laurel-kash/30min