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 these courses with a proposal package that needs only sample chapters before agent submission.
Week 1: Build That Bridge! Outlining your idea.
This is the first part of a three-week process that will help you structure your book and jump-start ideas for flushing out your manuscript. Agents often skip right to the outline before reading about your markets to determine if your book has enough structure to support the idea laid out in your overview. There’s a trick to great outlines and it all has to do with balance. This week, you’re going to outline every chapter you need to create an interesting and solid book.
Weeks 2 & 3: Truss it Up – Flushing out chapters
Chapter abstracts, also called synopses, are a necessary part of every proposal, fiction and non-fiction. They give the agent an idea of the flow of your story, and yes, if you’re writing a murder mystery, you do give away your ending. Think “Cliff’s Notes,” but shorter. For an agent, your synopsis shows you’ve thought through your work. For you, it jump-starts your sub-plotting and minor character creation. For non-fiction writers, a synopsis shows the writer where additional material is needed to round out your work. Library or bookstore visit helpful.
Week 8: Pick Me! Finding your agent
Now that your proposal is nearly complete, you need to find the best person to represent your work. This week will focus on utilizing the best resources to narrow down your submissions and increase your hits with each set of submissions you send. You’ll craft a query letter to generate interest in your proposal and then learn the key elements necessary for your next step (not in this workshop) of writing your sample chapter. Depending on time, those with completed sample chapters may have them critiqued by facilitator upon request.
Required Materials: Prepping the Perfect Proposal, Part 1. Visits to bookstores will enhance the process.
Objective: At the end of these courses, the student will have written a proposal package and query letter, both of which are needed to obtain agent representation. Sample chapter section is not included due to time.
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.
How to Write Irresistible Query
Write the Perfect Book Proposal: 10 That
Sold and Why, 2nd Edition
How to Write a Book Proposal