Friday, July 14, 2017

Navigating Proposal Writing

Coming up with ideas for stories can be difficult. Not only do authors have to struggle with finding the right characters and the write plots, it is also an issue of determining whether or not the idea will work well months in advance of when that book would hit the shelves. In other words, what works this month may be out of style when that book would finally be ready for publication. The additional struggle is that the time you are spending working on these new proposal ideas is probably taking away time from your current writing that is doing well.

To truly craft a strong proposal is not easy.  Just saying you have a story idea is not enough. To convince an editor or agent will require providing a lot of depth to that small paragraph or two of your proposal. There needs to be a sense of knowing what will hold that book or series together. There needs to be a sense of what the conflict will be that is going to create that dynamic tension within the story.

As you think of your book, try to conceive how you would market this book. What would the book buyers and the readers be thinking as they see the concept in a catalogue or in marketing campaigns by the company. There needs to be a lot to tease the reader into wanting to buy that book or series.

It is also important to consider what your strengths are as a writer. As you write that proposal, think of how you can blend your current voice into this new idea. Trying to dive into a project that is outside of your normal voice will take a lot more work. The goal is to stick with what you know and tweak it slightly.

Finally, think of the market. How does that story fit with what is currently selling now and what may be selling a year from now. This is going to take some guessing, but you can get pretty close if you are examining the current trends.

There really isn't one right way of putting this proposal together. I think the key is to always just think it though. You can't just wing this one. You have to think of all the nuances of the project ahead of time and be prepared with answers. To truly sell a proposal requires you knowing EXACTLY how you see that finished project looking.

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