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Experts Break Down the Elements of a Nonfiction Book Proposal

book-proposal-2_articleAs part of this week’s Profit From Your Passion series, yesterday we offered advice on how to get your book proposal off the ground. Now that you’ve got an outline in your head for your nonfiction book idea, the next step toward attracting a publisher is to sit down and compose the formal proposal. Although easier said than done, the process can actually help you narrow your focus, determine what your unique angle is — and help you stay organized.

We talked to seasoned writers, agents and editors about the basic elements of a nonfiction book proposal, mistakes to avoid and more. The takeaway is that your book proposal shouldn’t be taken lightly:

One thing [Brian Klems, author and online editor for Writer’s Digest] wishes he’d known ahead of time was that writing the proposal, even after having done most of the research, takes a really long time. “I thought the hard part would be writing the book, and that I’d knock out the proposal in one night. A friend of mine said no, don’t do that… don’t hand it in, give it a couple of days to sit down and start going over it. This is your one shot, you want to get it as right as possible.” In light of how we writers tend to be perfectionists, however, he adds, “You always feel like you can improve, but at that point, you do have to cut yourself off and say, it’s time for me to put it out there.”

For more information on how to write a compelling nonfiction book proposal, read: Getting Started on Your Nonfiction Book Proposal.

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