For many writers, getting your own book published is the pinnacle of a successful literary career. It’s far from easy, as the publishing industry is a mysterious, unforgiving realm ready to shatter the hopes and dreams of any aspiring author. Knowing how to write a proposal template that stands out is essential if you are to get anywhere.
Of course, this may seem daunting. For sure, a book proposal template involves more than the average freelance proposals with Bonsai. However, this is a huge part of the journey to becoming a published author.
Writing a book proposal is just about convincing one person to like your book. You don’t need to concern yourself with impressing global audiences just yet.
Once you learn how to write a book proposal, you’ll soon realize the truth:
It’s not that scary.
Let’s show you how it’s done.
Yes, this is a little more than a simple creative brief. Some book proposals run 25 or 50 pages in length, if not longer. But here’s the good news:
You don’t have to write such a long proposal. In fact, it’s better that you don’t. After all, if you can’t captivate an editor or publisher within a few pages, why ramble on for another fifty?
Your job right now is not to write the book. Instead, you just need to persuade an editor to see that you have a great concept, one that they believe is worth pursuing.
Here’s how to write a book proposal in seven simple steps.
The introductory section of your proposal is the first thing an editor will read. Think of the synopsis as your 30-second elevator pitch.
How will you encapsulate all the brilliance of your book in just a few paragraphs?
Start off by answering the following questions:
By brainstorming detailed answers to questions like these, you can weave a coherent, unified answer that truly encompasses the essence of your idea.
Any member of Bonsai will tell you how good structure and organization can impact your working life in a positive way. When it comes to writing a book proposal, a clear outline is crucial.
Ideally, your elevator pitch will grab the attention of your prospective editor. Next, you need to follow up by delving into the inner workings of your book.
Use this section to lay out all the chapters, describing each one with a sentence or two. You should provide enough detail to pique interest but not so much as to kill the suspense. Ultimately, your outline must demonstrate the solid, logical structure of your book, showing how one chapter builds upon the next.
Back all that up with a professional book proposal - create yours in just a few minutes with Bonsai. Sign up for your free trial today and check out our proposal templates, together with plenty of other features for invoicing, contracts, and time tracking.
Marketing 101: know your audience.
By doing your homework on the people you are trying to reach, you’ll produce a much better end product. If editors don’t see the marketing potential of your idea, it will never get published. Only by backing up your idea with in-depth research on your market can you hope to strike a deal.
Here are some questions you should be prepared to answer:
Your book needs focus, and the best way to accomplish that is by creating detailed buyer personas of the people you envisage buying your book. Research indicates you can increase conversions by more than 70% with this technique.
The toughest part of learning how to write a book proposal is to master showing how you can promote it.
We’re not talking about popping out a few tweets or sharing your idea with friends and family on Facebook. In your proposal, you need to reveal just how you plan to drive sales.
Do you have some past success? Have you got an existing platform or fan-base and considerable influence within the target market?
At this point, you may consider current trends in publishing. For example, the alternative writing platform Wattpad has surged north of 65 million active users in recent years. It’s important that you think about modern marketing methods, and also include useful stats in your proposal.
This could include:
Bowker reports that self-publishing breached 1 million titles in 2017, and it will continue to rise in the digital age.
Therefore, your book will face some competition. You can bet your bottom dollar that you will have to compete with similar concepts and an already congested market space.
That’s no reason to be deterred though. You should be ambitious but don’t shoot yourself in the foot by acting as if your book is some never-been-seen-before unicorn. It should be unique, but not so much so that nobody will be interested in it.
Your book proposal should detail how yours will fit into an existing market. To prove this, do your research to find competing books that fare well on Amazon or Google reviews.
Take note of their successes, and highlight their flaws. How does your book compare? How will yours do better?
Writing a book is a slow, and often arduous process. For many writers, it is an all-consuming project that may become the sole source of income until it is completed. Pitching your book proposal with the first few chapters is a good idea as it lets you know it is a financially viable project before you commit too much time or effort into writing.
Not every book proposal requires sample chapters. However, it will really give your proposal an edge if you have some work to show. Many editors and publishing houses will want to be sure that you have the skills for the job, especially if there is a lot of money involved. A few fantastic chapters that really hooks their interest can seal the deal.
Going forward, if you are relying heavily on a book project to stay afloat, the smart advice from Bonsai would be to arrange a retainer agreement that ensures you get timely invoice payments for delivering a chapter or two each month.
Learning how to write a book proposal isn’t just about pitching your book idea – it’s also about selling yourself.
In the final section, you need to put your inhibitions aside and let your character and confidence shine through. This doesn’t need to be a rambling resume or boring fact sheet.
A short n’ sweet rundown of your writing background and big achievements in the industry will suffice, alongside some quirky tidbits to reveal why you are the perfect author for this book. Your proposal may already have convinced editors that you have a great book idea – now you need to show them that you are the right person to write it.
Now, it’s time to get to work. Your book proposal is the first major step to becoming a published author, and it’s not a step you can skip out on.
By following the tips in this article, you’ll soon have a solid pitch to convince editors that your idea is worth backing. Sure, it will be easier said than done, but a great plan that considers your audience, competition, and marketing plan will put you in a strong position to succeed. The rest comes down to your ability to write a great book.
When you have everything else organized, you can focus on the job that really matters. Join Bonsai's free trial today and let us help you with keeping track of everything.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?