Book Publishing: Pitching Your Book to a Publisher

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You’ve identified some publishers that might be a good fit for you and your book idea. Now you have to decide how you’re going to approach the publisher. Will you write the book and try to pitch the manuscript to publishers? Or will you write a book proposal and submit it to publishers for consideration? Or will you do neither of the above, as I did?

Pitching a Manuscript
To many, it might seem logical that an author should write a book first, and then submit the manuscript to publishers for consideration. This isn’t necessarily the best idea, however. Authors who have done this have found that publishers have their own styles and requirements, and they run the risk of a) being rejected all together because the book doesn’t fit the publisher’s style or b) being accepted by the publisher but forced to rewrite large portions of the book.

Writing a Book Proposal
Writers of professional books are probably best served by first writing a book proposal and seeking out a publisher. Experts suggest that a short (2-3 paragraphs) summary of the book be submitted to publishers, and then the writer should follow up with the full proposal if a publisher expresses interest.

Writing a proper proposal can be a significant undertaking, and there are even books that guide a writer through this process. A proposal should include an outline of the book, a summary of the content, information on potential buyers, an analysis of competing books already on the market.

It’s helpful to work with someone who knows a lot about proposals. There are consultants for-hire on this topic, and if you’re serious about being published, this may be very helpful to you.

Neither of the Above
I didn’t submit a manuscript, and I didn’t prepare a book proposal. I met my editor at a major industry conference in 2006. We had a short conversation, and I expressed my interest in writing a book on fraud detection and investigation. We talked about my “platform” and the editor said that I seemed like a good candidate for working with Wiley.

We had a few casual conversations and email exchanges over the next several months. I took a look at the [tag]fraud[/tag]-related books already published by John Wiley & Sons, and considered where my book would fit in.

Up Next: How I closed in on my book deal with Wiley.

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