31 Jul It’s time to get that book published: My 10-step guide to creating an amazing book proposal.
I’m pretty much on cloud 9 right now after signing my book deal with Hay House.
To have that little blue H on the spine of my book, and to experience everything that goes along with it, has been a burning desire of mine since the age of 17.
My forthcoming title is an uplifting, inspiring guide to Spirit communication, and it will be on shelves everywhere books are sold in November 2017.
The day I received the email from Hay House saying that they were making me an offer on the book, I was in shock for about 10 minutes, then it was all I could do to put my head in my hands and thank the Universe, then I squealed with delight, and then I cried. A lot.
Part of my strong reaction was because the journey to receiving my offer had been a long, passionate, challenging and emotional one…and it had finally paid off.
So my intention in writing this blog post for you – the soon-to-be author whose book is burning brightly inside – is to give you some direction about some elements that you may not have considered, that I believe made my proposal successful. This post is not so much about the structure of a proposal (although if you’d like me to make a post about that I can – let me know in a comment!), it’s more about coaching you from what I’ve learned, so that your journey need not be as long and challenging as mine was as I tried to figure it all out on my own.
My book is considered non-fiction, and so I submitted a proposal; I did not write the entire book in advance. The following is a guide to creating a proposal for a non-fiction book and, generally speaking, does not apply to fiction, children’s books etc.
Obviously I can’t guarantee that following these steps will get you a book deal.
There are variable factors to you and your approach which will affect the outcome of the steps you take.
…And there are always going to be exceptions to the rules.
…all that being said, I really hope that what I’m about to say helps you, because I know how it feels to have that dream burning away inside you, and to feel by turn inspired and frustrated by it, and I hope from the bottom of my heart that you succeed at bringing your beautiful book to the world. I know how much it means to you.
So let’s get started on how to create an amazing book proposal that will interest and excite agents and publishers.
Step 1: Write a proposal (and thus, a book) that makes sense to your existing business / context.
I have been an intuitive practitioner and Spirit communicator for 13 years, and my book idea is directly related to the interests of my audience. My book is also well aligned with Hay House’s message and ethos, so write a title that makes sense to your expertise, and go to the agent or publisher that makes sense for your title.
This may seem obvious – but the first title I pitched to Hay House got rejected because it was WAY out of left field. I wanted to try something different. Different = unrelated to your current audience = no platform = nope.
Step 2: Cultivate a strong success mindset.
There is definitely a mindset piece. Your thoughts determine what you believe to be available to you in the world, and that belief determines the actions you’ll take.
Believing that you MUST succeed is the difference between seeing it through, and quitting when it gets tough.
I hired a coach (yes, coaches have coaches) and immersed myself in several coaching strategies that concentrated on desire, visualization, taking inspired actions, taking massive action, crying and whinge-ing (otherwise known as ‘sharing’), overcoming procrastination, removing blocks, healing self-esteem issues and working through fear.
I passionately and excitedly visualized having my book proposal accepted. I regularly imagined what it would be like to write the book. I fantasized about getting glammed-up and touring all over the world to read from my book and demonstrate Spirit communication. And I was fired up about it ALL THE TIME. This fire that burned carried me through. You need to do whatever you can to crank your desire for success up so high that NOT writing the book becomes too painful.
Step 3: Put yourself in the game.
I put myself in the game. I went to Hay House events. I connected with authors. And if I hadn’t attended a specific I Can Do It conference way back in 2012, none of this would’ve happened – that was the day I bumped into the MD of Hay House UK and made ‘an impression’ on her (It’s a funny story, I’ll tell you about it one day).
Now that might look like luck, but it’s not. If you put yourself in the game, and you put yourself around the people, events and organizations related to your book idea, then you will be the one who’s there when the opportunities come up – simple as that.
Step 4: Be a gracious reject.
My first proposal got rejected and I didn’t take it personally. Hay House gave me notes on why, and what I needed to do differently. I went away and followed them TO THE LETTER. Hay House told me what they wanted of me so I made it happen. Don’t go away butt-hurt and sour at rejection, use it wherever possible as a springboard upon which you can improve and try again. (When everyone else has quit, taken it badly, or can’t be bothered anymore, YOU must be the one still in the game).
Step 5: Come up with a refreshing idea.
My idea is different – it’s high-concept, it’s something new. It’s Sex and the City Meets Spirituality. It’s ‘Who knew dying could be so life-affirming?’ It’s a Millennial guide to consciousness in ridiculously expensive shoes.
How could you create something from an angle that’s not been done before? Marketable innovation gets attention.
Step 6: Your book proposal is a business plan.
Remember, a publishing house is a business. Your title has to be profitable for them, and it has to make sense for your business too. Your book proposal should demonstrate this awareness throughout. Talk about numbers. Talk about sales. Talk about your marketing strategy.
You should have a significant social media following and email list before you submit, and you should be able to demonstrate to the publisher / agent that you’re willing and able to attract buyers for your book and promote yourself, the publisher and the book.
Step 7: Act Now.
There’s never a perfect moment, just get it done. Don’t overthink it, just get on with it.
I felt sick with anxiety when I queried Hay House. I’d been trying to get all my ducks in a row, and had set up all these weird conditions that had to be met before I could approach them. One day I got sick of it all and realised it was all just procrastination in a cute costume. I sat down and wrote a two-line email at 8pm that night and was done with it, after having faffed about for two months.
If I hadn’t thought f*ck it and taken immediate action, I’d still be messing about, worried and doing nothing meaningful, instead of excitedly writing my book.
NOW is the perfect time.
Step 8: Be yourself. Be you.
Be true to yourself throughout your idea, your proposal, your correspondence, everything. Don’t try to say what you think they want to hear – just do your own thing, state your true message and embrace your unique story and journey.
Step 9: Your proposal is a ‘taster’ of your book.
Your proposal needs to evoke the essence of your book in tone, content, flow and presentation.
Be innovative with your proposal without being gimmicky – how could you stand out?
Whilst I wrote the proposal, my fiance created a mock-up of how we pictured the front cover of my book, so that Hay House could see my vision, and see that the title belonged with them.
Step 10: Stay clear on your ‘why’ and your desire to write.
If it burns deeply in you then the book WILL happen, because you won’t quit until it happens be it with your dream publisher, a different publisher or self-published. This is the most important step of all. To stay the course when others won’t. To persevere where others give up. And to be encouraged when others are deterred.
Your book has the power to change a life so don’t get disheartened and don’t give up.
Have you written a book? Submitted a proposal? Are you working on your first title now?
Please inspire us with your best advice, tips and author-related experiences in a comment.
Lauren Robertson is a speaker, intuitive consultant and coach who wants to give you sleepless nights because you’re too excited about your own life.
Lauren channelled her intuitive abilities into coaching as a way to empower her clients to find their own answers. She studied consciousness, the emotions and philosophy of mind at University of Glasgow and holds an MA Hons. in literature and philosophy. She is a Divine Living trained coach and has spoken on platforms all over the world.
Lauren is a fan of bulldogs, Italy and ridiculously expensive shoes, and her debut book The Medium in Manolos will be published by Hay House in November 2017.
Ps. Is it your dream to have your book published by a major publisher?
Would you like my help to create a show-stopping book proposal that you will be proud to send to agents and publishers?
Do you want to dissolve feelings of frustration, overwhelm, fear and procrastination so you can finally turn your dream of writing a book into an actionable plan?