The Dog-Eared Books
Last week, I was on the faculty of the Glorieta Christian Writers Conference which ended on Sunday. I find these conference invigorating yet also draining. Over the next few days I plan to write some incidents from the conference and some of the writing insight I gained from this experience.
Throughout the conference, people asked me to sign their copy of Book Proposals That Sell, 21 Secrets To Speed Their Success. I wrote this how-to book to help writers learn how to put together excellent book proposals from my perspective as an acquisitions editor. Several incidents made a deep impression on me. Two different times the person handed me a dog-eared copy of their book. As someone who travels, I know it took extra effort for them to carry that book from home to the conference. Each one had read their book three or four times and marked different sections in pen and highlight. It was fun to flip through their book, see the highlights and their marks in the margin of the book. It’s exactly what I hoped would happen with this book—that readers would study the contents and use it when they create their own book proposals. It’s what the various editors who endorse the book hoped as well—so they will get better book proposals to take through the publishing process.
I’ve written many books but it’s rare for me to see how a reader uses a particular book. While the book released in the spring, it was gratifying and encouraging for me to see the intense use of the information to create their proposal. While I didn’t do it, each time the thought crossed my mind, Could I purchase this dog-eared book and give them a new one? I would use the dog-eared book for my own encouragement about how these words are being used around the country to improve the quality of book proposals. Instead, I personalized each book, signed it and handed it back to the person.
At the conference, the participants sign up for meetings with various editors, literary agents and professional writers. I had at least forty such meetings during this conference. At one of them, the author pulled out a proposal that he wanted me to review. He had followed my Book Proposals That Sell and I could clearly see it from the way the information was put together. Through my review, we tweaked a few elements but overall, this proposal looked like it was in good shape. I asked him about the reaction from literary agents and other editors. “Everyone wants to take it back to their publishing house,” he said with a smile. I congratulated this author because he had done the hard work of writing a proposal with the various elements in place—and to increase his possibilities of finding a traditional publisher to bring this proposal into print.
If you are one of those people who have read and used Book Proposals That Sell, I’d appreciate it if you would take the time to write a few lines about what the book has meant to you at Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble or Christian Books.com. Repeatedly I find people make buying decisions about books from these reviews. If you’ve written such a review (or plan to do so), my appreciation for your help.
Firsthand, I know it takes a lot of work and energy to write a proper book proposal—whether nonfiction or fiction. It’s not something which you knock out in a few days. The well-done book proposals involve a lot of time to think, research and creatively brainstorm. Yet I know if you take this effort, it will pay in the reaction and reception of your ideas into the marketplace.