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5 basic steps to a successful book proposal


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A book proposal is your first formal contact with the publisher. From this the acquisitions editor (the person who acquires new books for a publishing firm), and the managing editor will judge your ability to complete the book you have proposed to them.Therefore, you want to take considerable care to write the proposal well.

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5 basic steps to a successful book proposal

  1. 1. 5 Basic Steps to a Successful Textbook Proposal ® 2013 Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)
  2. 2. 1) Describe the book.  Provide a working title, identify the author or authors, then describe the approach or theme taken by the book. Identify the book's outstanding features, use of cases, problems and illustrations. Include some presentation of pedagogy as to how the book will present and achieve its objectives. Also note which supplements you intend to include with the book. ® 2013 Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)
  3. 3. 2) Identify the market.  What courses will most likely use the book? Be sure to note the level of intended use. Will it appeal as a remedial book or is it intended for advanced students. Do some research to get a good grasp of the present market and how you believe your book can grab a portion of that market. ® 2013 Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)
  4. 4. 3) Identify the competition.  Who are the three or four major competitors to your proposed book? Research what their relative sales have been by at least asking the sales representatives. Discuss the competing books' strenghts and weaknesses to illustrate how your book can compete with them. Include in this discussion presentation of material and the competing books' use of pedagogy, cases, problems and other special features. ® 2013 Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)
  5. 5. 4) Present an outline.  Include a chapter by chapter outline of major topics covered in the book. While the order might vary from proposal to finished manuscript, it is essential for editors and reviewers to see the logic and approach in your organizational structure. Be sure to include the organizational schema -- how the problems, cases and illustrations achieve your objectives. ® 2013 Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)
  6. 6. 5) Provide a production schedule.  This gives the publisher some idea of the time frame needed to produce the manuscript. Include the resources you will require to complete the project; whether you will need typing assistance, photographic research, etc. Be as clear as possible as to whether you intend to produce the ancillary materials or whether the publisher needs to contract it out. ® 2013 Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)
  7. 7. "Beware of putting anything in writing too early, since some editors will take your preliminary ideas to be definite proposals. When you do write the proposal, assume it will be your last chance to convince an editor to take an interest in the project. Also keep in mind that no matter how convinced you are that your book will be the best in the field, you have to make that clear to the editor, and you also have to explain to the editor how that is going to be clear to potential adopters." C. Leon Harris, author of Fugue and Evolution, Genesis and Revelations ® 2013 Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA)