Write Your Book Proposal & Pitch
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Write Your Book Proposal & Pitch

Find an Agent, Sell Your Book
4.6 (8 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
69 students enrolled
Created by Dianna Booher
Last updated 1/2016
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  • 4 hours on-demand video
  • 8 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Write a book proposal that gets an agent or editor's attention
  • Identify ways to find an appropriate literary agent for your book project
  • Interview a literary agent to make sure there's a good match for your project
View Curriculum
  • Nothing is required. But having your book idea in mind would be helpful. As you learn about what goes into a proposal or agent query, ideas will come to you about your book and you can capture them immediately for later use.

Learn the 10 key ingredients that must go into every bestselling book proposal. Then pave the way for that proposal by finding an agent and learning how to pitch your proposal succinctly so that it gets past the gatekeepers and lands a contract with a major publishing house.

Master the Proposal Process and Stop Wasting Time

Brainstorm 10 ways to craft titles that tease editors to take a look

Learn how to do a competitive analysis to include in your proposal

Create the all-important marketing plan and learn when to do what

Differentiate between your author bio and your resume

Identify the 10 things every bestseller has in common

A Powerful Knowledge Base and Writing Skill at Your Command!

Have you ever heard would-be authors tell you that selling to the major publishers is too difficult? That your chances are "slim to none"? Don't be fooled. Editors need new books every season. Agents love to find new writers. But according to my editor and agent friends, many would-be writers do get rejected because they do NOT take the time to learn how to write a proposal or a query!

They simply write a complete manuscript and send it off. That's like building a product without any research in to what customers want or need, and then hoping someone will buy it! This course will show you the appropriate publishing protocol.

After completing this course, you'll know exactly what editors and agents expect to see in your nonfiction proposal. Not only will you know the 10 elements they will be looking for, but also you will know exactly WHAT goes in each section and HOW editors will evaluate each section.

The comprehensive marketing lectures suggest far more ideas than you can possibly use to promote any one book--no-cost, low-cost, and more expensive ideas. Some easy. Some time-intensive. Select according to your topic, time, and budget.

You'll also receive a proposal template to download.

In the section on queries, you'll learn the 6 items to include in your letter, email, or face-to-face pitch. And you can download two sample query letters as go-bys.

In total, you'll have 37 video-recorded lectures available to listen at your leisure and for replay as necessary, plus downloadable worksheets, while you finish your proposal and interview an agent to represent you and close your first--and your next--book deal.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for both new and seasoned authors who are not earning what they deserve on current projects. While the entire course is not for writers who intend to self-publish, several segments such as those on marketing apply to all writers.
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Curriculum For This Course
45 Lectures
Course Introduction
2 Lectures 13:32

Welcome! In this program, you're going to learn the many benefits of publishing your book--reasons the rich and famous write as well as the average person on the street. This course is geared to help you sell your book to a major publisher, earn an advance, get global distribution, and align yourself with the best design and marketing minds available.

But even if at the end of the process you decide to self-publish or cannot interest a publisher in your concept, this course can STILL provide valuable help in shaping your idea, expanding your platform, and marketing your book to readers.

For example, you'll pick up tips on social media sharing, guest blogging, testimonials, joint ventures, book launches, and speaking opportunities to sell your book.

This introduction will overview all these key parts of a proposal. After you get the big picture, the course will go into all the various parts in great detail: the proposal sections, the agent pitch, and interview questions to select the best agent to represent you in the marketplace.

Preview 08:03

Researchers have found that almost all bestselling books have 10 things in common to propel them to the bestseller lists. Doesn't it make sense to know how to evaluate your idea and your plans from the very beginning to see how you can tweak them to make them even more compelling to editors, agents, and your final audience--your readers?

Unfortunately, writers and publishers cannot always objectively evaluate ideas and plans as they create! Hindsight is a much better teacher. But an objective look at the target list will help you know how to shape your book proposal and pitch to the ideal book publishers would love to buy!

Preview 05:29
Writing Your Book Proposal
11 Lectures 56:35

Most book ideas submitted to major publishers get turned down NOT because of the idea or the writing. Writers most often get a rejection letter or email because their idea never reached the acquisition editor. That is, their book idea never got past the gatekeeper. As soon as the book proposal or query arrived, it shouted "amateur" and was rejected by the administrative assistant or "first reader" rather than going to an editor who could make a "buy" decision.

This video lectures gives a quick overview of the 10 items that editors need to know from your book proposal. When one of these ingredients is missing, the best answer you can hope for is a delayed "no" or "maybe" followed by a request for more information.

The following videos will expand in much greater details what goes in each of these proposal sections.

You can also download here a book proposal template to see the order of a "typical" nonfiction book proposal.

A Quick Overview: 10 Ingredients in a Book Proposal That Lands a Big Contract

Practice: Book Proposal Template
4 pages

A mediocre title won't keep a keep a great book from selling. But a great title can sell a mediocre book. That said, selecting the perfect book title to include in your book proposal is worth the time it takes to get it right! This lecture will overview 10 different categories of titles and provide sample sample titles in category so you can download them as a go-by to use in your own brainstorming session for your book.

Titles: Crafting a Title That Teases Readers to Take Your Book Home

Practice: Brainstorming YOUR Own Best Title (See Examples)
3 pages

Everybody knows that you when you produce a new product (like a book, a car, a watch), you should study the competition and be able to tell those who fund your project how yours is will different. But what if there are already 227 books on your topic? On what basis can you differentiate?

If competing books on your subject have been widely successful, do you still have a chance to sell yours? What if other books on your topic have not sold well? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Learn how to "shape your story" according to the stats from competing books.

This lecture will tell you exactly what editors expect to see in the competitive or comparative analysis of your book proposal.

The Competitive Analysis: So What’s Unique About Your Book?

The Marketing Plan--A Note Only
1 page

The new buzz words in the publishing industry for the past few years have been "platform" and "discoverability." This lecture will help you identify how to find your own platform and how to expand it. And if you feel you don't have a sufficient platform to interest a major publisher, you'll learn how to "borrow" a platform until you can build your own.

Your Author Platform

Another big part of your book proposal and your agent query is the author biography. But don't fall into the trap of taking the easy way out: That is, just cutting and pasting your professional biography into the book proposal. Wrong move! An author biography is not synonymous with "resume."

This lecture will help you identify what an editor wants to read in your author biography.

Your Author Biography

This section of the book proposal becomes unique for all books. Depending on your topic, you'll will have many unanswered questions about research, approach, timing, the project status. Your proposal will need to answer those obvious questions--issues that may seem obvious or even unimportant to you because you know your topic well. But an editor will have some standard questions in mind.

This lecture will identify what key items need to be included so that you get a quick "yes" rather than a protracted discussion that delays the contract and your advance payment--or causes a misunderstanding that could even derail the contract.

Nuts & Bolts—Filling in the Proposal Gaps

So far in the course, each video has gone into great details about various sections of a book proposal. Some of the proposal sections might be only half page; other sections might be 5-10 pages.

This lecture helps you once again visualize the proposal as a whole, getting all the proposal parts in your mind as one document.

Proposal length totally depends on topic. A great proposal may run as short as 6-10 pages--or as long as 50-100 pages. But this lecture will ensure that you understand the proposal document in its entirety--from the overview down to the finest detail.

Pulling Together All the Proposal Parts

In addition to the upfront matter of your matter, your editor or an agent will need to be convinced that the proposed book has substance. It's not that they can't visualize the book. It's that they can visualize the book all too well! To their dismay, they sometimes buy a book and pay and advance to a first-time author. Then later when they see the finished manuscript, they realize the "book" turned out to the just a long magazine article!

So to prevent that from happening, you must convince them that you REALLY do have enough material to write book. So that's where the chapter outlines come into play.

This lecture will tell you want to include and what they should accomplish.

Chapter Outlines and Titles That Tell & Sell
Marketing Your Book: Creating the Plan & Laying the Foundation
7 Lectures 31:55

Next to the book's concept, your marketing plan becomes the most vital ingredient in your book proposal. Your publisher is basically looking at your proposal and thinking, "Okay, convince me that you know how to market this book--and that I'm going to make a big profit if I invest in its production."

No matter how big the publisher, you are the real expert in marketing a book on YOUR topic. Yes, the major publisher has name recognition around the world. Yes, they have major distribution channels.Yes, they can get book in places where you have no contacts.

But they expect you to handle the marketing to your own community of followers.

This lecture gives you a few marketing ideas to prime the pump and tells you how to set up the marketing section in your book proposal. Then each of the following marketing lectures provides detail on a particular aspect of marketing that you may list as part of your book's marketing plan.

Marketing: Creating a Marketing Plan That Pushes Your Book Onto the Bestseller

This video lectures covers the importance of endorsements or (book blurbs as they are often called), how to get them from people you don't know personally, and when you need them.

Marketing: Endorsements That Add Credibility

I'm always surprised to learn that the major publishers have more catalogs and directories than first-time writers ever imagined. Some go to the bookstores (trade). Some for specialty stores. Some for libraries. Some for the military installations. Some for educational facilities. Some for direct mail.

This lecture encourages you to make sure you get listed in as many of these as possible.

Marketing: Catalogs & Directory Listings

Building a book website (or page on your regular website) has become the norm for most serious authors of how-to's, business books, pop psychology or nonfiction of any kind.

Such websites are relatively inexpensive. For those who are tech savvy, they require about two hours' time.

This lecture covers ideas for what a book website includes.

Marketing: Your Book Website

Unfortunately, few publishers write press releases that serve your purpose well--certainly not all your purposes.

Major publishers often write their press releases to introduce their books to reviewers. So truly the news to those reviewers is "Here's a new book."

But that's definitely NOT really interesting news to the rest of the world. That's why you'll need a different kind of press release if you intend to sell books and get major media coverage like USA Today, Good Morning America, NPR, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, CNN, CBS, NBC, Fox.

This lecture will give you details on the two kinds of press releases you need.

Marketing: Press Releases That Tell & Sell

The press kits that firms used to mail out at $20-$30 a package have almost become a thing of the past. In conjunction with the book website or book webpage, you'll find an author's online press kit or "newsroom."

This lecture identifies the basics that should be there--and then gives you ideas for developing specialty items based on your unique book.

Marketing: Online Press Rooms & Press Kits

When is the best time to do article spin-offs? How about guest blogs? Why spend that much time? What's the point? This lecture covers this marketing idea in building your platform.

Marketing: Article Spinoffs & Guests Blogs
Marketing Your Book: The Proposal Plan—Mid-Stage
6 Lectures 17:05

Some people actually write a book simply to build their email list. Listing building is THAT important to their overall business success. This video covers the importance of gathering emails as you market your book and strategies for doing so.

Marketing: Email Campaigns & List-Building

Learn to multiple your reach with launch partners. This video lecture discusses various arrangements whereby you can offer value to your partners and their audience while gaining their help in launching your book.

Marketing: Affiliate Programs & Joint Ventures

What do people love to do more than read? Support a cause with the money they pay for the books they read. This lecture suggests tie-ins to cause campaigns.

Marketing: Cause Campaigns

Has direct-mail had its day? Does it still work? Do publishers still use it to marketing books successfully? This lecture discusses success strategies.

Marketing: Direct Mail Still Delivers

Does your book's concept lend itself to a physical object as a promotional piece? This video lecture will give you some ideas that have worked successfully.

Marketing: Promotional Widgets & Their Use

Ever wanted to know what a book review could do for you? How many book reviews do you need to persuade readers to make a buying decision? How do you collect great book reviews? This lecture will address these issues.

Marketing: Reviews & How to Leverage Them
Marketing Your Book: The Proposal Plan—Later Stage
11 Lectures 01:03:31

Authors wade into social media daily. But do a large number of followers of Twitters, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram instantly turn into buyers?

How do editors evaluate your social media efforts? What's good, great, insignificant?

This video lecture discusses what editors hope to see in your proposal.

Marketing: Social Media to Engage Buyers

If your book is written and ready to go and your publisher is ready to release it to the world, it's way too late to think about your book launch. A successful book launch starts about 6 to 9 months earlier--when you send off that complete manuscript to the publisher for the production process to begin. Learn what goes into a successful book launch--social media activities, media coverage, web presence, contests, and so forth to make buyers and the press aware that your book is ready for purchase.

Marketing: Book Launches Online

Book-signings have a terrible reputation even among the most experienced authors. But there are exceptions: A few authors know how to make them a hugely successful sales event. But then there's a second evaluation: Sales results versus time trade-off to "make it happen."

This lecture will give you the pros and cons of what's involved in turning a book-signing into a successful sales event.

If you decide to do a book-signing, this lecture provides a comprehensive to-do list (pre- and -post) as well as a complete agenda (with appropriate timing) for the one-hour event.

Marketing: Book-Signings & Bookstore Events

Ever thought about hosting an event to introduce your book to new buyers? Consider doing this alone, with a group of other speakers and writers, or in conjunction with organizations who have something to gain from the same audience you want to reach. Learn how with this lecture.

Marketing: Summits & Public Events

Could you hold a contest to generate interest in your book? Ever thought about giving away your book to generate interest from book buyers? Just how do book contests and book giveaways work? If you're giving books away, how do you ever make any money? How much effort do such things take? Learn from this lecture if you should include these ideas in your marketing plan and proposal.

Marketing: Contests & Giveaways

Premium sales on your book are like hitting pay dirt. Sometimes your publisher closes these deals, but often it's up to you the author to find the premium buyer. Learn the ideal premium buyer for your particular topic. This lecture will launch your thinking with some some key leads and resources to finding those decision makers and buyers.

Marketing: Premium Sales That Pay Off

A friend of mine used to say, "The worst place to sell a book is a bookstore!" Why? Because YOUR book is only one among thousand of other competing titles. You need to place your book in specialty stores where it's the ONLY book in front of people already in that store, and those people are interested in the topic your book addresses. Now, that's an achievement. This lecture encourages you and helps you to find those buyers!

Marketing: Specialty Stores

How do you find organizations willing to order your book in large quantities? Are there organizations willing to pay you large fees to speak on your book's topic in exchange for some tie-in to your book? If so, what are the ways you can offer them equal value for such sponsorship? This lecture covers benefits for both you as a writer and the sponsoring organization--as well as how to set up such an arrangement.

Marketing: Sponsorships That Work Both Ways

What you know may seem "routine" and like "no big deal" to you. But after you write a book, readers and other fans may be willing to pay you monthly or annual fees to have access to ongoing content from you--in many formats: full-length books, ebooks, videos, audios, articles, interviews, podcasts, webinars. This lecture identifies some of the specifics that you may to include in your book proposal.

Marketing: Membership Sites & Inner Circles

Tradeshows are not just for the big-time authors with large organizations behind them. Learn from this lecture the many ways you can use your book to gain new buyers and which of these things to include in your book proposal.

Marketing: Trade Shows & Industry Conferences

It surprises many authors to hear that more than half of all copies of their book will be sold before the publisher ever releases their title. How does that happen? Pre-selling activities by the author and publisher. This lecture addresses how to make your speaking and training-related events pay off in book sales (pre-orders) and email collecting for later use.

Marketing: Speaking & Training Events—BOR & Pre-Sold Packages
Pitching Your Book to an Agent or Editor
2 Lectures 14:35

Occasionally, if you're very lucky, you will find yourself face to face with a literary agent. Somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody will invite you to a party, dinner, or conference and you'll ask the proverbial question, "So what do you do?" And they'll respond, "I'm a literary agent."

Or maybe your opportunity will be more formal: You'll attend a writers conference and pay for a 15-minute appointment. You'll get your chance to pitch your book idea orally.

What you say and how well you say it is the difference between a "I don't think your book would be a good fit for me" and "Yes, I'd love to see it. Here's my card. Please send it to my attention immediately."

This lecture tells you what to include--and what NOT to include--in your oral pitch.

Pitch Perfect: The Purpose of the Oral Pitch

Most writers will be approaching agents via email or letter. And the vast majority will be rejected immediately the same way--unless they educate themselves on what specifically editors and agents expect to see in queries.

This lectures removes the guesses from the query process. You'll learn exactly what goes into a query letter: content, structure, and phrasing.

You can also download two sample queries as go-by documents for later reference.

The Grabber Query: Make Them Beg for More
Finding a Literary Agent
6 Lectures 36:23

You often hear the complaint, "It's harder to find an agent than to find an editor!" That can seem true to weary writers looking for representation. Here's why: Editors get paid by their publishing houses that employ them. You'll find their names quite easily listed with the publishing houses they serve and often on social media.

But agents get paid only on commission--when they sell a book. So they can't afford to waste their time on would-be authors who don't send what they need to make a sale.

That's why agents are always on the look-out for great new writers who can make them money--but writers who've spent the time in educating themselves on how to sell a book. That's the value of writing a great query letter--discussed in the previous lecture.

This lecture will tell you the many ways to find an appropriate agent so you can send your well-crafted query email or letter. Then after you get a "yes" or "I'm interested" response from an agent, you're still in the driver's seat.

But what if you've sent multiple queries and several agents respond to you favorably? This lecture tells you how to respond.

You'll can hear more than a dozen interview questions to discuss with each agent to help you narrow the field and make a great choice of agents. After all, this agent choice should be a lasting relationship!

You can also download a couple of sample queries to refer to later when you're writing your next pitch.

Interviewing & Selecting a Literary Agent

Practice: Sample Query A to Agent
2 pages

Practice: Sample Query B to Agent
2 pages

Practice: Interview Questions to Select Your Agent
1 page

How do famous writers deal with rejections? Yes, even the most successful, bestselling authors still receive rejections now and then. Learn how they deal with rejection so that you can think positively as you stay on course with your writing!

Rejections—For All the Wrong Reasons

Learn about the offers you are entitled to because you've enrolled in this course.

Your Discount on Personal Coaching
1 page
About the Instructor
Dianna Booher
4.5 Average rating
29 Reviews
319 Students
2 Courses
Bestselling Author of 46 Books

Dianna Booher, MA, CSP, CPAE is the bestselling author of 46 books, published in 60 foreign language editions, with nearly 4 million copies sold. She has published with Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster/Pocket Books, Warner Books, McGraw-Hill, HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson, and Berrett-Koehler Publishers. Her most popular books include Communicate With Confidence; Speak With Confidence; Creating Personal Presence: Look, Talk, Think, and Act Like a Leader; and What MORE Can I Say?

Several have been major book club selections. Her work has also won an American Library Association’s Best Nonfiction of the Year award and has appeared on Executive Soundview Summaries list of “25 Best Business Books of the Decade.”

Dianna and her work have been featured in the national media such as on Good Morning America, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, FOX, CNN, National Public Radio, Forbes.com, Bloomberg, Fast Company, The New York Times, Washington Post, Boardroom Reports, Investor’s Business Daily, Industry Week, Reader's Digest, Success, Entrepreneur, and Glamour. Leadership Excellence has named her as one of the “Top 100 Thought Leaders” and one of the “Top 100 Minds on Personal Development.”

She has also won the highest awards in the speaking profession, having been inducted into the CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame (awarded by the National Speakers Association of the United States).

Dianna and her training company have received vendor-of-the-year awards from clients such as IBM and Frito-Lay for overall impact on the organization. She is founder and CEO of Booher Research Institute. Other clients for her communication training and coaching include Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Pepsico, Bank of America, Alcatel-Lucent, BP, Shell Oil, ExxonMobil, Chevron, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Bell Helicopter, Hallmark Cards, American Airlines, DFW Airport.