Prepping the Perfect
Facilitator: Diane Faulkner
From concept to contract, the best proposals not only sell your book, they also help shape your work. Fiction or non-fiction, there are 8 key sections that agents look for from every writer—regardless of publishing credits. Whether your book is still in the idea stage or you’ve written your first draft, this two-part course will help you clearly communicate why your baby deserves to be a book. No prerequisites or additional materials required, but occasional “field trips” to bookstores will be helpful. You will finish part 1 with a proposal package and a game plan for approaching literary agents.
Week 1: Hook Me! Shaping your concept
A good hook is the foundation of a good book. It’s also the focal point from which your proposal is formed. Your hook must be intriguing enough to get noticed by an agent’s slusher, but it doesn’t have to be entirely original. In this lesson, you’ll find your hook, discover your market and learn which type of proposal will work best for your book.
Week 2: The Big Picture: Creating your image
If you want your sample chapter read, you’ve first got to draw attention to your submission. Two sections of your proposal are going to make that happen for you: your title and your overview. This week will focus on creating a title that is appropriate for your market and developing an overview that will convey the 4 major points every agent needs to have in order to sell your manuscript to a publisher.
Week 3: Puddin' Time: Proving your place
As my momma always says, “The proof is in the pudding!” The markets and competition sections of a proposal are extremely important these days. With overall book sales declining, many wonderful manuscripts are never published, because there are too many other similar books already in print. Agents look to writers to clearly distinguish their book concepts from those already in the marketplace. In this week’s lesson, you’re going to dig up the facts agents need so they can paint a clear picture to publishers as to why your book should exist. You will also become familiar with your competition—or lack of –and write up a comparison that will support your book being the next in line for representation. Bookstore visit recommended.
Week 4: Now Hear This! Tooting your Horn
Publishers tend to do very little to promote the majority of titles they publish. As such, it’s up to the author to not only come up with some creative ideas that will help sell the book, but also commit to a plan that will help to increase sales. Your background, interests and expertise can help support not only your plan, but also play a part in putting your proposal on top of the pile. This week, we’ll concentrate on marketing plans that work for your genre and then work up a bio that will, without reservation, tell the agent all she needs to know about why you’re the best person to write your book. Library or bookstore visit helpful.
Required Materials: None, although the process will be enhanced if students will visit bookstores to check out the competition.
Objective: At the end of this course, the students will have shaped their book concepts, completed market analyses and plans, all of which are needed to obtain agent representation.
About the Facilitator: Diane Faulkner, a Michigan State grad of long ago (Industrial/Organization Psychology and Clinical Psychology), former senior executive in human resources and small business owner, is a free-lance editor and journalist whose work is regularly published in The Federal Credit Union, Credit Union Management Magazine, Women’s Digest, St. Augustine Catholic, The Business Journal, Across the Board-The Conference Board Magazine, Human Resource Executive and The Charleston Regional Business Journal (features and “Work Matters” columnist). She has ghostwritten and edited a book on self-leadership, the proposals for which generated a bidding war of sorts. Diane’s research on writing book proposals helped her increase her hits (agent request for proposals) from the typical 1 for every 100 queries sent to 3 for every 25 sent. Currently, Diane writes/produces/hosts a National Public Radio travel show for WJCT-RRS fm out of Jacksonville, FL, line- and copyedits book-length works for a Jones & Bartlett Publishers author, teaches business professionals how to be published, and works with writers on perfecting their proposals. To date, she has coached five new authors to publication (and counting!).
BTW: Diane was recently tapped as a technical resource for Monk Mysteries; books based on the popular MONK series on the USA Network.
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Scheduled Sessions for 2008:
January Session beginning January 7th
February Session beginning February 11th
March Session beginning March 17th
April/May Session beginning April 21st
June Session beginning June 2nd
July Session beginning June 7th
August Session beginning August 11th
September Session beginning September 15th
October Session beginning October 20th
Nov/Dec Session beginning November 24th
Your receipt and information will come to the e-mail address on your PayPal account.
Books recommended on this page are not required reading for participation in the course.
Jeff Herman's Guide to Book
Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents 2004
2004 Writer's Market Online
The Writer's Market Companion