If you decide not to go the self-publishing route, then you will most likely be pitching your book ideas to publishing houses in the near future. This is such an exciting time for any writer, new or old, to really harness the passion that they have for their work.
The trick when you are pitching your work to publishers is for them to feel the same passion and understanding for your work that you do. Remember, you are not just selling a book! You are selling empowerment, a gateway into another world, and literary agents want to see that!
So, to help you on this journey, we are going to take you through the nitty-gritty details of how to write your book proposal, which parts you need to focus on when creating your presentation, and how to own the room during your pitch! It's all about confidence!
Creating the Perfect Book Idea Pitch for Publishers
You have the idea, and now you need to put it all together. One important aspect to remember is that you don't need to have your entire manuscript written, edited, and ready for publishing when you approach the publishing houses.
When you reach out to them, it will be with a small segment of your work—you know, to whet their appetite for the talent that you possess! But before you step foot into the room to present, you need to be comfortable with your proposal. To do this, you need to know how to write one!
Writing a Book Proposal
As with every formal document, you want your proposal to be as structured and formal as possible. You want to show the publishers that you are serious about your work and about partnering with them. This means that you will most likely need to follow a structure to make sure that you have covered everything.
So, let's get you started on what you should include when you are writing up your book proposal. These are what we believe are important, so feel free to add extra sections as you think are necessary. Our recommended structure includes the following:
- Start with an overview: You want to give the publishers a birds-eye view of what your book is about. To do this, you are going to begin your proposal with a brief overview of your book. This overview is going to include the title, genre, and a brief synopsis.
- Introduce yourself: When you interact with a publisher, they are not only partnering with your book but with you as a person! Tell the publisher or agent a little bit about yourself: Why you decided to write this book, your overall writing experience, and should you have credentials related to your book include those as well.
- Describe your book: It's time to be descriptive. Take into consideration a more detailed summary of your book. Aspects that you may want to include here are the book's main themes, characters, plot, and any unique bits of information that can be seen as a selling point! Ultimately, answer the question, "What makes your book stand out from others in the same genre?"
- Look into identifying your target audience: Explain who your book is written for and why it is relevant to that audience. Here, you can even include who you are looking to include in this audience in the future! It shows you aren't thinking short term, but long term!
- Include a marketing plan: Although many of the publishing houses that you approach will have a set idea of how to do this, they still want to know that you have taken some initiative and want to be active in this process. Create a rough outline of any ideas for marketing and promoting your book, such as whether you want to do book tours, a social media campaign, or other promotional strategies you may have.
- Discuss your competition: The likelihood of your work being the sole example of its genre is rather slim. But, that doesn't mean that you cannot be unique! Identify books that are similar to yours and explain how your book is different and why it will appeal to readers.
- Provide a chapter outline: Although you may only have a few chapters written when pitching your work, you need to have thought about your work in its entirety. Include an outline of the chapters or sections of your book, along with a brief summary of what each chapter or section covers.
- Submit your writing samples: Submit a few chapters of your book to give publishers or agents a better idea of your writing style and tone. As much as you want to partner with them, they also need to make sure that you are representing their brand should they choose to publish your work!
- End with a conclusion: Conclude your proposal by summarizing why your book is worth publishing and why you are the best person to write it. Remember, be yourself. After all, they want to partner with humans with substance, not robots!
This has been quite a lot to take in, especially if you haven't found a concrete layout for your book proposal. But, thankfully, you now have the main topics you should cover! Remember, make it interesting! Make the publishers want to partner with you!
After all, within the book industry, a well-known author represents a publishing house. They thrive on popularity, and if your writing can bring them that or if you can convince them that you can do that, then you are more than set!
The Art of a Perfect Book Pitch
So, now you have everything in your book proposal. You have fleshed out your book to the point that you are confident enough to talk about it and answer questions. And trust us; there will be questions! Thankfully, one of the hardest steps is now done!
What Should You Include?
Your next step is to go ahead and construct your actual pitch. Your book's proposal is the actual document you are going to give them. This presentation is where their eyes are going to be focused! No need to worry; we have your bases covered regarding what you need to focus on:
- Do some research on different publishers. Many publishing houses want to know why you chose them. You want to show that you chose them based on the genres and subject areas that they specialize in. Remember, your book also needs to fit their agenda!
- Think about how you are going to write your "query letter." Essentially, this letter is a summary of your plan. It gives a brief overview of your work, introduces you, explains why publishers should be interested in you, and describes the value you can offer them.
- Refer to segments of your book proposal as you present! This will show them that you know your work well. If you really want to exude confidence, make sure to add some colorful page tabs to the hardcopy proposals for ease of reference!
- Make sure to follow the publishing houses' submission guidelines. Every publishing house has their own layout, and you need to make sure that your work is in that layout when you apply and land an interview! Some aspects to consider here include formatting, word count limits, and even some submission deadlines!
- Make sure to be patient with yourself in the process! What we mean by this is that we are giving them time to actually focus on the work you have submitted. Make sure to include some references when pitching a book. Publishing houses get thousands of requests on a daily basis, and your references could be what pushes them into partnering with you over another author in the same genre.
It goes without saying that creating your pitch will take quite some time. You cannot expect to throw a PowerPoint presentation together in one night and receive a standing ovation. One can also not expect that every pitch will be successful.
You can make your slide deck as professional as a multimillionaire entrepreneurs'; however, you might still have your work rejected. This is where you revisit the drawing board, modify what is in your proposal and pitch deck, and then take another swing! It is all about resilience and determination in the book industry!
Honing in on Your Presentation Skills
So you know what you need to put in your pitch deck and what your book proposal needs to contain! Now, the real fun begins—developing your presentation skills! Everything up until now can be absolutely perfect, but if you cannot put everything into words with a certain degree of confidence, everything you have to offer may be overlooked.
How do you become confident in your presentation skills? How can you entice the room with all the words you use? Can you become as influential as a TedX speaker? Of course, you can! And this is how:
- Start off by defining your purpose: In essence, why are you the best person to have written this book? With this in mind, before you have even started preparing your presentation, you need to know what you want to achieve. What is the purpose of your presentation? Are you trying to inform, persuade, or entertain your audience? Once you have a clear purpose, you can start planning your content.
- Know your audience: Who is the audience you are going to be presenting to? Are they well-versed in the topic? Are their interests and needs in terms of literary growth in alignment with yours as an author? By establishing this common ground, you will have a more engaging presentation!
- Plan your content: Once you know your purpose and audience, you can start planning your content. Make sure that you allocate enough time and slides for each bit of information. Create an outline of your main points and supporting details. Use visual aids such as slides, images, or videos to enhance your message.
- Practice, practice, practice: Practice is the key to delivering a perfect presentation. Practice your delivery, pacing, and timing. Rehearse your content until you feel confident and comfortable with it.
- Engage your audience: Engage your audience by asking questions, sharing stories, or using humor. But, just make sure that you are able to read the room. If your humor isn't well received, do not force it! Encourage interaction and participation by inviting questions or feedback.
- Use effective body language: Your body language can convey as much, if not more, than your words. Stand up straight, make eye contact, and use hand gestures to emphasize your message. Engage with yourself and what you are saying as much as you would engage with the people in the room!
- End with a call to action: End your presentation with a clear call to action. In the literary world, this will include why you want to partner with this specific publishing house! This is where you prompt them to take the next step and to follow up with you should they see the potential for a partnership!
You need to be comfortable with your presentation skills. But you also need to understand that this will take time. It is not easy standing up in a room full of people and making them believe in your book as much as you do. It is going to take quite a lot of trial and error, pivoting where necessary, and really taking in constructive feedback when receiving it!
You have started on a journey that very few embark on. Either they are too scared of what the outcome will be, or they fear failure. But, you are different! You have decided to take the leap and let your work be known across the globe!
We acknowledge that this can be a difficult road, especially when it comes to creating that perfect outline! Many people have ideas, but they just don't know how to execute them and format them into an outline that others will understand. Luckily, we have got you covered!
At The Urban Writers (TUW), we have vetted and highly qualified freelancers who will go ahead and work with you to make your outline easy to understand, to the point, and highly engaging. Your journey doesn't have to be one that you take on your own! Get in contact with one of our sales representatives today and see how we can help you succeed!