The Literary Agent’s Guide to Writing A Non-fiction Book Proposal (e-book, $3.99) delivers on its title. Author (and agent) Andy Ross offers a handy step-by-step roadmap in creating what he describes as your book’s business plan.
This game plan is more than the proposal. Ross starts by addressing the need for a persuasive query letter to an agent. Why should the agent represent you and your book proposal?
Ross notes that the most popular subject he teaches at writing conference is query letters. His top complaint about bad query letters? They’re too long.
One tip the author dishes is to avoid “sucking up.” he doesn’t want query writers to waste time talking about an agent’s list, or life. For Ross, some writers want to praise him on Cody’s, his bookstore for years. “Don’t waste words with your query,” he warns.
Once an agent is willing to read your book proposal, Ross advocates fast action. Don’t wait a month to send the requested proposal. From prescribing 12 point Times New Roman font to telling you which sample chapter to include, Ross reveals all.
The greatest strength of this book comes from actual proposals he’s used to sell books for clients. The only time Ross strays from the path is when he includes an imagined query for War and Peace from author Tolstoy.
Ross may not be an author who’ll create legions of starry-eyed readers. He mentions that he gets 10 to 20 query letters a day, only to choose 10 to 20 projects to represent in a given year. “We have become the gatekeepers of book publishing,” he writes. “We filter out the bad stuff, and only deliver the best quality projects for publishers to evaluate.”
Nonetheless, such a clear, level-headed attitude means Ross is the right pick for non-fiction authors wanting a good strategy before they battle for publication.