RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH

July 22, 2015

I recently received an email from a potential client. She was a home chef with an idea for a cookbook. She had created a book proposal. A literary agent had asked to read it.  After a few days, the potential client received a response, “I have difficulty with the actual recipes. They are incomplete and need a lot of work. And they are written incorrectly.”

 

The first rule of writing a selling book proposal is:

Research.

 

The second rule of writing a selling book proposal is:

Research.

 

It should seem obvious. But many people, especially novices, think that all it takes to sell a non-fiction book is a great idea. This may have been true once. But today’s market is rife with experts who’ve written books, and wonderful writers who publish non-fiction to supplement their screenwriting careers. You only get one shot with an agent.

 

That’s why the third rule of writing a selling book proposal is:

Research.

 

I personally love research. It’s one of my favorite things about the writing process.  Discovering a new topic is rewarding and fun. Creating a new way to present that topic is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.  In the end, if I’ve done my research well, the pieces fit perfectly.

 

And an agent will be happy to go out and pitch the proposal. A publisher thrilled to send an advance.  

 

The potential client became a client.  We did our research. 

 

And created a fun, hip new way to present her culinary idea – tasty ingredients added, and written in the correct order - that she can feel confident sending to agents and publishers.

 

 

 

 

 

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