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How To Plan a Nonfiction Book Proposal

In this encore edition of the Morning Media Menu, we spoke with Dan Slater, author of Love in the Time of Algorithms: What Technology Does to Meeting and Mating.

Slater explained how he went from losing his job to writing a book about dating in the age of social networks. He also shared some practical intelligence for making the best nonfiction book proposal. Here is an excerpt:

I had been a legal reporter at the Wall Street Journal, and I never in a million years imagined myself writing an article, much less a book, about online dating. I stumbled on to it. I thought the subject was interesting, both the business side and the sociological side–’How is this business affecting people?’ … Then you look at the market: ‘Has this book been done?’ That is something that you can see quite easily. You go on Amazon and do a bunch of searches. You say, ‘Okay, what does this space look like?’

Press play below to listen to the whole interview. He also offered this advice:

One of the things I found was that there had not been really a book done, which was kind of amazing, because the industry has been around for at least 15 years. So it was for sure a salable thing. I found an agent who agreed with me on that. And then, as I worked on the proposal, the question was ‘what does this book need to look like?’ …  We knew this really needed to be a book more about what this means for your relationships. The trick of developing the proposal was to weave the business side in with the sociological side … I probably had about four to five months of reporting for the proposal.

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