Unlike a book synopsis, a proposal goes into much more detail about your manuscript. These are most often written for prospective literary agents to give them a good idea as to what your manuscript is about and if it would be worth his or her time representing you. A proposal is a thorough outline of your manuscript or even a book idea, so the first two pages will be a summary of this. State what you have or intend to write about and the topics to be covered. Fiction writers need to present a general outline of the plot of their story, as well as information about the main and primary characters, and how they interact.
Three pages will then be devoted to describing the market appeal of your proposed book. Include all demographics including age, socio-economic factors, education and other characteristics of your potential market. List other books on similar topics that are best sellers to prove there is already a market for your book and a wide interest in it.
Then present a one-page description of yourself and any co-authors or researchers. Here you can boast as much as you want about yourself and your writing credentials. Then give a chapter summary with a chapter-by-chapter outline on the next page of what will be in your book. Finally, write about three sentences to tell the agent the approximate number of words you expect your book to include and a projected date for completion.
You should also consider acquiring an endorsement of your book to send along with your proposal. Seek out someone who is either well known or has excellent credential in the field that your book covers and have them write up a short endorsement saying how talented you are as a writer and how great your book is. If you don’t feel competent to write a book proposal yourself, you can hire a professional writer to do it for you. Of course, this will cost you at least $500, but might be well worth it. You will be getting someone else’s objective view of your ideas. Either way, after your proposal is on its way you will have to wait until the agent writes or calls you.
Give it about two weeks and if you get no response by then, write or call the person to enquire about your proposal. If you don’t hear anything for six weeks, contact him or her again and advise that you intend to move on and will be submitting your proposal to other agents.
When you finally acquire an agent, he or she will send you a short one or two-page contract. Be sure that the contract is for no longer than one year and that you won’t be charged for such things as administrative or office expenses, if the book does not sell.