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Your BIG Book Deal: Sell Your Book to a Major Publisher

Celebrity Author Teaches How to Pitch and Sell Your Book Idea
5.0 (2 ratings)
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18 students enrolled
Created by Jenna Glatzer
Last updated 5/2016
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  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 3 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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Experienced author and ghostwriter Jenna Glatzer teaches you how to sell a nonfiction book to a major publisher.

Learn How to Sell Your Big Book Idea

Did you know that you don't have to write a book before you sell it to a publisher? In fact, publishers and agents don't even want you to write the whole thing. They want to be involved in the process, so what they want from you first is a document called a book proposal. We'll go over all the ins and outs of vetting your idea and then writing an amazing book proposal, including...

  • How to analyze your idea to make sure it's good enough and big enough to land with a major publisher
  • How to determine if you need a coauthor, ghostwriter, or other collaborator
  • Checking out your competition to make sure there's a market for it and see how you can differentiate your book
  • How to write an overview that grabs attention
  • The "author platform" and how you can build and improve yours before the book deal
  • How to write an effective book outline
  • Showing publishers you're ready to promote
  • Tips for your sample chapters

Why Take This Course?

This is a rare opportunity to take a course with an author who's really "done it all"-- I've had 27 books published, with three more on the way. They range from biographies and memoirs to true crime, reference, business and leadership, self-help, health, psychology, inspirational, and children's educational. 

Along the way, I've worked with multiple top agents and publishers, so I have a wide-ranging knowledge base about what sells and what doesn't, and what works in a book proposal. Plus, I'm one of those weirdos who actually likes writing book proposals. With any luck, I'm going to teach you how to like the process, too. It's pretty exciting to watch an idea take shape!

Course Details

You don't need anything to start this course except the desire to write a nonfiction book. If you have a strong idea for one, great. If not, you may find the inspiration for it here. 

This course is taught by video lecture and handouts.

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is meant for people who have ideas for nonfiction books and want to sell them to major American publishers like Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and Hachette. It is not meant for novelists.
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What Will I Learn?
Determine if an idea is good enough and big enough to sell to a major publisher
Figure out whether to work alone or with a collaborator
Understand how agents decide which books to represent
Understand how publishers decide which books to buy
Analyze your "author platform" and ways to improve it
Write an amazing book proposal that is ready for the marketplace
View Curriculum
  • No prerequisites other than the desire to write a nonfiction book.
Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 18 Lectures Collapse All 18 Lectures 02:41:28
1 Lecture 02:28
Your Big Idea
3 Lectures 34:03

Analyze your idea to determine if you have enough material, if there's a proven market for it, and if you need a co-author of collaborator.

Preview 15:54

What to consider when selecting a coauthor or a collaborator, and where to find a useful one.

Co-Authors and Collaborators

Scope out competing books to determine how yours is going to be different or better.

Checking Out the Competition
The Book Proposal
14 Lectures 02:04:57

The essential and elements of a book proposal, what it's for, how you send it, and how long it should be.

Overview of a Book Proposal

Coming up with a great book title, and how to format your title page.

The Title Page

The first thing an editor will read-- making your overview a winner.

Writing a Great Overview

How to analyze and specify your target market... and why editors don't want to hear that everyone is going to read your book.

The Market: Part 1

Samples of market sections in book proposals that sold.

The Market: Part 2

Brainstorming to figure out who will buy your book and why.

The Market: Part 3

How to compare and contrast your book with competing books-- and how to figure out which competing books are best to include in a book proposal.

The Competition Section: Part 1

Analysis of competition sections in book proposals that sold.

The Competition Section: Part 2

What an editor wants to see in your "About the Author" section.

About the Author

Details about how you and your publisher can best publicize your book.

The Publicity Section

What goes into your book's outline, and how closely you're expected to follow it.

The Annotated Table of Contents

How many sample chapters? Do they need to be sequential? How long should they be? 

Sample Chapters

Extra sections and elements that might help your case.

Optional Elements of the Book Proposal

Final words and two book proposals that sold to major publishers (Penguin and Simon & Schuster).

Wrap-Up and Two Sample Book Proposals That Sold Big
About the Instructor
5.0 Average rating
2 Reviews
18 Students
1 Course
Bestselling Author and Celebrity Ghostwriter

Jenna is the author or ghostwriter of 27 books, including Celine Dion's authorized biography (For Keeps) and a Marilyn Monroe biography authorized by her estate (The Marilyn Monroe Treasures). She has written for Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, McGraw-Hill, and others, in genres including memoir, true crime, business, self-help, reference, psychology, and children's educational. In addition, she has worked as a developmental editor for three publishers and numerous authors, including New York Times bestsellers. 

One of her books was made into a TV movie, and her work has been featured on Oprah, The Today Show, Dr. Drew, Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Phil, The View, Inside Edition, and Access Hollywood, as well as in People, Time, and numerous other publications.

She has also been a contributing editor at Writer's Digest, a judge for professional writing competitions, and a writing instructor at the Omega Institute.

In short, she knows her stuff.

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