Resources for Authors Working on A Book Proposal

Jump Straight to All Book Proposal Posts

Before You Work on Your Book Proposal, Do This!

Book proposals are the most visible (and high-stakes-feeling) milestone on your book publishing journey. Because they require you to take a meta-perspective on your book, you might assume that you can use the proposal as a way to help you clarify your book's argument (and help you get a book contract). Having now worked with hundreds of authors, I can say this approach is misguided. Namely, writing a book proposal will not help you identify and fix fundamental flaws in your book project. Instead, writing a book proposal before rethinking the relationship between your book's scope, evidence, and structure; hierarchizing your claims (your book likely can't do half of the things you think it can!); and clarifying how each chapter tangibly advances your book's argument can lead editors to pass on your project because it "lacks an argument," "needs more focus," or "reads like two books."

Instead, you need to systematically rethink your project, clarify its priorities, and intentionally make decisions to make it more cohesive. I show you exactly what dimensions of your project to revisit and give you actionable prompts to produce a project that will attract editors' attention in my Journal of Scholarly Publishing article, which you should be able to access for free through your institution's library.

Hear from Editors About Proposals: First Book Q&A

Wondering what acquisitions editors wish first-time academic book authors knew? Been given conflicting advice about when to submit proposals? Curious about what leads editors to reject a proposal? Hear it straight from them in this round table replay:

My Top Book Proposal Posts to Get You Started

All Your Book Proposal Questions, Answered

When Should You Submit Your Academic Book Proposal?

✓ Posts on Individual Sections of the Book Proposal like drafting the competing works section, compiling your peer reviewers list, and identifying your academic book's audience (plus how to know if you are actually writing a book for a general audience)

Or, check out all my posts about academic book proposals below.