Book Proposals

The Business Plan for your Book

your pitch-perfect Book proposal

If your goal for your fabulous nonfiction book is a traditional publisher, a small press, or a university press, you need a fabulous nonfiction book proposal. This is the business plan for your book. Let’s make it perfect.

Why you need a proposal

Your book deserves its best chance in the world. 

It’s that simple.

But a book proposal is a complicated document and can feel overwhelming. It’s the one shot you get to let your dream agent or publisher know why and how your book will make a difference in someone’s life.

I often say that the book proposal needs to be a better book than the book itself.

So when you’re ready to write it, I’m here to help.

When you need a proposal

If you’re writing a nonfiction book – whether general or academic nonfiction – you should write and pitch your book proposal before you complete the manuscript.

Agents and presses don’t expect a full draft before they decide to work with you. They want to support you as you bring it to life.

If you’re writing a memoir, on the other hand, write your proposal after your manuscript is complete. 

If your agent or press is interested in the proposal, they will ask to see the entire book before making a decision.

When the time is right for your book, let’s get started.

core components of a Book Proposal

what goes in your proposal

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Overview

The start of your proposal let’s the agent/publisher see not only the topical overview of the book, but also how it will change your reader’s life. 

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Author Bio

This isn’t your resume; this is where you let the agent/publisher know what makes you the best person to write this book.

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audience analysis

You need to know everything about your ideal reader so you can write for them. Share all those intimate details with the agent/publisher.

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Comp Titles

What recent books give your book context? Explain to your agent/publisher where your book will live on the bookstore shelf.

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Marketing Plan

A lot of the business-work of a proposal sits here. Map out the marketing plan for your book so that your agent/publisher trusts your partnership.

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Table of Contents

Since your agent/publisher isn’t reading the whole book, this is where you showcase exactly what’s there. Be direct. Be clear. Be confident.

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Everything about the book became clearer.

Caroline challenged me to dig deeper, to step back and ask questions. Without inserting herself or her opinions into the process, she helped me find mine.

Like magic, places where I had been getting stuck melted away. Places where I had been having fun with the writing took flight. Everything about the book became clearer, which then led to better (and more!) words flowing to the page. Her feedback has given the project a polish and professionalism I could have never done on my own. Really, she has exceeded every expectation I’ve had.

 

Barb Mayes Boustead

Wilder Weather (SDHS Press, 2025)

3-Month Intensive proposal coaching

It takes at least 3 months to hammer out a book proposal (not including sample chapters). Together, we’ll work through all key components, investigate your market, and set you up for success so that your proposal best showcases the importance of your story as well as your authority to write it.

Proposal Coaching includes:

  • Weekly exchange of proposal pages, with in-line comments and feedback
  • Bi-Weekly 45-min 1:1 coaching sessions to discuss progress and set plans
  • Collaborative support in agent/publisher selection, including a personally curated list of agents/publishers 
  • Private Slack channel for quick communication

Our goal is to draft a complete proposal & agent list that you can adapt as needed as you pitch your amazing book.

Cost: $3500

Book Proposal review

If you already have a proposal and need a fresh set of eyes on it, I can provide a full review to see what’s working and where you can make it even better. This of it like a developmental edit for your proposal. 

Your Proposal Review includes:

  • Thorough onboarding Q&A to share your goals and insights about the book and the proposal
  • A full read and review of your proposal, including up to 2 sample chapters (max 40 chapter pages)
  • In-line comments on all core proposal components (excluding sample chapters)
  • Detailed edit letter (5-7 pages) with both general and specific feedback focusing on key highlights, challenges, and offering clear steps forward.
  • 60-minute review and strategy call

Cost: $850