How to Write a Book Proposal

write a book proposal

You’ve got an idea for a bestseller. Perhaps you even have the manuscript ready. Now, what? It’s time to pitch your idea to the publishers and write a book proposal.

A book proposal is basically a business plan for your book. This document is designed to get the publisher’s attention and get the book published. Its main purpose is to present the book as a viable investment to the publishing house and show why it’s worth publishing.

While the exact contents of the book proposal differ from publisher to publisher (or, in truth, agent to agent), and it’s always crucial to check their guidelines before submitting, book proposals generally have a similar structure. The document should always include your information, the overview or synopsis, table of contents along with chapter breakdown, author bio, sample chapter, marketing strategies, competitive titles, and any additional information you believe the publisher would find useful.

So, let’s go over all the parts in greater detail:

Title page.

This part should include the title and your name.


This short piece is in many ways the most crucial part for getting your book published. It should be one to five paragraphs. Take your time writing it because it is basically your sales pitch and will decide your book’s future. Make it attention-grabbing and succinct as it shouldn’t bore your potential publisher. Make sure your summary charms the reader and makes them long for more. You can show it to friends and colleagues. Give them the pitch and discuss your book’s main themes to find out what clicks most with other people.

Table of contents and chapter breakdown.

Present the table of contents along with a brief chapter overview. Don’t worry if this doesn’t match your future table of contents; writing a book is a process, and the structure may change along the way.

Author bio.

Include your bio, along with any relevant experience and previous publications.

Sample chapter.

This excerpt should show the spirit of the book and make the publisher certain you know your stuff. Make sure it’s polished and it’s selling exactly what you’re trying to sell. If you’re writing a comedy, include a truly hilarious piece. If you’re writing non-fiction, make sure it’s clear you’re the expert.

Target audience.

Explain who is your target audience and why they would be interested in buying your book.

Marketing strategies.

Explain how you’re going to market your publication. Do you have an audience already? Do you do conferences, talks, write a newsletter? Make sure to discuss all the manners of attracting audiences at your disposal. Have a huge Twitter following? A channel on youtube? All your followers are your potential readers.

Competitive titles.

Include a list of similar titles available on the market, along with an explanation of what makes your book different and why it’s worth publishing. This part should indicate there’s a market for your book.

In your book proposal, be specific and succinct. Don’t be modest when it comes to your experience and abilities; flaunt them to make the potential publisher certain you’re the right person to become their next bestselling author.

And if your book is not ready yet, here are a few tips on How to Get in the Mood to Write and How to Write a Book from our blog.

Have you written a book or need to write a book proposal, but you’re not sure it ticks all the boxes? Send it over to us! We’d love to help.

 Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

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