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How to Write a Book Proposal
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How to Write a Book Proposal

3.91 of 5 stars 3.91  ·  rating details  ·  162 ratings  ·  39 reviews
An updated handbook for prospective authors describes what editors are looking for in a book proposal; discusses outlines, sample chapters, and submission requirements; explains how to test-market a book idea and select the right editors and publishers for a proposal; and includes sample proposals.
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Writer's Digest Books (first published April 1985)
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Either this book was written by someone who knows nothing about writing a book proposal or he is writing about completely different proposals than what I am looking for and therefore should make it more clear what types he's writing about. I say this because pretty much EVERYTHING that I read in this book was COMPLETELY different and in some ways opposite than EVERY thing that I have read in any other place. It was very strange to me. Needless to say, the rating for this book was simply for not...more
Daniel Roy
A very useful book, if somewhat on the terse side. I really appreciate the ground the book attempts to cover, and it's definitely a snappy, fast-paced read.

It might be too snappy, as a matter of fact. Some of the topics Mr. Larsen breezes through would probably make a book in their own right. To give you an example, he might discuss social networking on the web, and mention something along the lines of "You need to leverage your social networks to promote your book." That's absolutely true, but...more
Spoiler alert!
After trudging through the amazing amount of work it takes to write a proposal (quite frankly I think it's more work then writing an actual book), there is a chapter on a mini-proposal and on the query letter. Thank Goodness! Otherwise, no proposal for me.
This book is an excellent resource, but it did make me consider how short my attention span actually is and that perhaps I should stick to short stories and poetry.
Lisa Tener
This is the book I recommend to clients who are writing book proposals. Agents love Mike Larsen's format and it's helped my clients get 5-and 6-figure book deals, even for first time authors in this competitive market.
C.G. Fewston

How to Write a Book Proposal, 4th edition (2011) by Michael Larsen is a total of 316 pages and 2/3 of the book should be called 'How to Build Your Author Platform' and then the last 1/3 is actually more details on how to write a proposal for a nonfiction book with much of that being four lengthy proposal samples, which are helpful but reflect more the success of the platform rather than any actual design in the proposal itself--but we can get into that in a minute.

Just a quick overview before w...more
*Note: I actually had a much older version of this book--copyright, 1985; so I imagine some of my concerns with this version are addressed in the more up-to-date ones. I don't have any money for books right now, so I'm wholly dependent upon what my library has to offer!

When I began How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen, I wasn't sure I even needed to be reading this book at this time in my book-publishing research. However, I realized by the second page of that first chapter I have a lo...more
The one thing a book on this subject must have, above all else, is brevity. Michael Larsen's suitably thin volume has this and many other qualities, making it a very useful tool for the writer who seriously wishes to publish. I can't say whether it actually works or not, as I have not yet sent off a proposal based on this work. However, I have laboriously put together one proposal (for a book which missed its deadline and has become, at least for the moment, rather defunct) using this work as a...more
Orlando Ferrand

HOW TO WRITE A BOOK PROPOSAL by Michael Larsen, is one of those books that are necessary to have at the reach of your hand if you are serious about writing. Michael Larsen's is a textbook, and a reference manual for those who've embarked in the journey of writing and wish to make a career out of it.

The table of contents as well as the reference index, make it easier to find specific topics, carefully developed in the chapters t...more
Very thorough look at how to write a book proposal:

* I love the "hot tips" scattered through the book -- lots of good hints for the book proposal process.
* It's about more than just the proposal. It addresses various business-of-publishing aspects, like what's involved in promoting your book and whether you should get an agent.
* It's a fairly long book, and I felt like it could have been better-organized. I read this one just after Jeff Herman's Write the Perfect Book Proposal, which I felt ad...more
Kristi Bernard

Writing a book proposal for the first time can make a writer's head explode. It's that serious. Larsen does a great job of explaining the process. Although there are a lot of pages, the book is a quick read. Writer's can use this book to make an irresistible proposal. Larsen shows you how to use models to make your book successful and helps you set literary and financial goals that will help you build a platform just to name a few.
Larsen points out how to hook a reader, how to search the market...more
Drew Patrick Smith
Jul 07, 2011 Drew Patrick Smith rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Writers Who Can't Use the Internet
Shelves: nyc-books
Review from the PFS Book Club...

What I Liked: This book is handy for any nonfiction writer who is seriously considering trying to get published. The advice is frank and realistic, and Larsen doesn't bother to sugarcoat the fact that it's much easier to get a nonfiction book published if you already have a national platform and damned hard to get published if you don't.

The book itself is written decently well, with its greatest strength being that it's pretty much as straight-forward as you can g...more
Review published at: Over A Cuppa Tea

‘How to Write A Book Proposal’ by Micheal Larson is a classic guidebook on how to write an effective proposal for your book so that it will be published by publishers.

As an aspiring author, I found that this book is rather useful though I already knew most of the things mentioned in the book.

The book is rather thick in my opinion, and I think some of the things ought to be ommitted from the book. But then again, it’s still a good reference book and I rate thi...more
Jenny Cutler Lopez
Extremely useful book. Borrowed from the library but ended up buying a copy as I know I will keep coming back to this gem.
This book had a very conversation tone, which I enjoyed, and they super-simplified the process they were describing so that it didn't feel as daunting to tackle. There were plenty of examples, anecdotes, and samples for readers to follow along with.

This book is more useful for non-fiction writers, however; a lot of the advice it offers was difficult to translate to creative writing proposals or simply didn't connect or resonate with me. I definitely recommend it for nonfiction writers, but ficti...more
Mary  Mendoza
Abandon all hope all ye writers looking for easy answers. Larsen’s standards and gazillions of impossible-to-meet-rules are daunting and depressing.
Leslie Raddatz
This book has alot of information on how to write a book proposal including examples of good ones that had results.

How to identify target markets

What are your goals to self publish vs traditional publishing

How to promote your book

The importance in building platforms such as facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

Shares common mistakes authors make

How to develope a media kit

Nine ways to fid the agent you need.

Also gives you a directory of resources you can use.

It helped me alot with self publishing my...more
Tyshawn Knight
I recommend this book to self-publishers as well as authors who want to publish traditionally because it helps you to think about your marketing plan and it explains what marketing a book is all about. You may self-publish and then have a traditional publisher look at your book. If that is the case you will want to understand the information found in this book. If you plan to become a literary agent I would also say buy this book because you may write proposals or refer the authors you represent...more
I gave this book five stars, but just to be clear, that doesn't mean it's a must read for everybody. If you never plan to write a book proposal, well, why would you want to read this book?

But, if you are trying to craft a book proposal, I can't imagine a better resource.

It's well-written, thorough, humorous at times (a nice bonus), and most of all, informative. Littered with relevant examples, and complete with sample proposals, the book is helpful from beginning to end.
How to Write a Book Proposal is a comprehensive how-to guide filled with lists, bullet points, dos and don’ts, hot tips, and sample proposals that will help writers create a winning proposal. The information in this book is organized well for the most part and presented in a way that the layperson can easily understand and apply.

Continue reading this review here:
Steve Goodyear
This book is pure gold for anyone thinking about writing a book proposal. Written by a publisher, he provides tons of inside tips on what publishers are looking for and how to put your best foot forward in your proposal. He also helps lead you to refine your idea so you have the best product ready to pitch to a publisher. He writes straightforward, getting to the point quickly, allowing for a quick read and easy reference later.
Chrystal Mahan
It was a pretty easy read. I can't sit and read all night like I used to. Long hours at the computer prevent me from doing that. It took me two nights to read this, a few hours each night.

The book is centered on keeping things short and to the point. Not only should this theme be used in your proposal but it was used in the writing of Larsen's book as well. That's my kind of informational, how-to, book!
Gil Michelini
Dec 08, 2011 Gil Michelini rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Writers
Excellent resource! Highly recommend to anyone considering publishing a book, even those (like me) who go the self-publishing route. Larsen's method is a great outline for a business plan and well as forcing you to answer many questions you may not have considered.
Michael Larsen is a friendly, personable, entertaining speaker. His books sound like him. I don't write non-fiction at this time but if I did I would use this book (I've kept it on my shelf for the time being).
Robert Kintigh
A good plan on how to write a book proposal and it has details for the beginner to the advanced. The language of the book is in simple format that makes it easy o follow. Very well written and enjoyable.
David Gleeson
And to think I just wanted to write a book... never thought I'd have to 'sell' it. Oh, well. This came strongly recommended and I've worked my way through it. Let's see if it works.
Alison Law
Excellent book! Immensely helpful resource that offers practical advice for crafting a book proposal and valuable insights into the dynamic publishing industry.
Laura Madsen
Very good guide to the nuts and bolts of preparing a proposal for a nonfiction book, including many examples.
Sep 15, 2007 Theresa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: writers
This is an excellent book with lots of practical advice, written by and agent with tons of experience.
Anna O'Leary
Jul 27, 2008 Anna O'Leary rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: write a non fiction book proposal.
Recommended to Anna by: The author, Michael Larsen.
A definite must to write a good book proposal. The book has examples of sucessful proposals.
an excellent resource that helped me get an agent and sell my first book, Your Self-Confident Baby
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