Writing a book is hard enough, but why does writing about the book you’ve written feel impossible? In mediabistro.com’s 7 Steps to a Winning Book Proposal, published authors, editors and agents spell out the necessary steps to crafting a viable and compelling query letter.

Step one, assemble the basics. Your query letter must include an overview, marketing plan, competitive book analysis, and author bio and platform, along with a table of contents, chapter summaries and a writing sample.

Bring these pieces together in an intuitive order, but don’t dwell too much on what’s the perfect arrangement. “If you’ve got the ingredients — a really fresh idea or a fresh spin on an old idea, good writing, and a platform and a promotion plan — it doesn’t make any difference what order they are in,” said Michael Larsen with Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents. “Editors can skip around, and will and do.”

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