So You Want to Write a Book

Well, why shouldn't you write a book? Thousands do. According to Bowker (a publishing industry consultancy) there were close to 9,000 new titles published in 2008 in the business sector alone.

So you may be asking yourself, to paraphrase the Cowardly Lion in "The Wizard of Oz," "Whatta those authors got that I ain't got?" After all, you're smart. You have lots of innovative ideas about this and that. You write well. (Don't your colleagues regularly praise your emails?) And aren't people always telling you, "Brad (or Cheryl, as the case may be), you should write a book." Which is easy to say. But what does it really take?

First of all, you have to have the desire. Writing a book is terribly hard work. It takes time, concentration, and energy--three things often in short supply. You've really got to want it to get it done. But say you do have the burning ambition to produce a book, and you also have the time and energy. And, most importantly, you have a good idea. Several of them, in fact.

What then? What then is you write a proposal. (I'm talking exclusively about non-fiction here. Fiction is a whole other kettle of fish.) And what is a proposal? A proposal is the document that will convince a publisher to give you cash money to write your book. Money is important. It's important for all the obvious reasons, and it's also important because the more money the publisher pays you, the more money the publisher will spend to promote your book in order to protect its investment. From that perspective, a book proposal is essentially a business plan telling your prospective investor (the publisher) how it will get a return on its investment. The book proposal is an absolutely critical (dare I say, mission critical?) first step toward getting your book published and getting it published the right way.

So what's the format, the template, for a book proposal? What must it contain and how should it be structured? How long should it be? How do I do it? The answers to all your questions will soon be forthcoming. When? As the Wicked Witch of the West said, "All in good time, my pretties; all in good time." Well, in a few days anyway.

Add new comment