Interview With Children’s Picture Book Author Susan Chodakiewitz

Do you want to write a book proposal that sells? Here’s the answer: realize that it’s a sales document. You’re writing to persuade publishers that your book is worth investing in. You must persuade publishers that your book will make a profit, because too many a course in miracles twitter don’t.

Spend half an hour or so there, reading the back cover material of books in both the fiction and nonfiction sections. You’re reading blurbs. The book’s author wrote the blurb and wise authors start a book by writing their blurb before they write anything.

Yes, your blurb needs to be written before you start writing your book: it encapsulates the book. Essentially, it’s a description.

The reason you write the blurb first is because any book morphs as you write it. As long as you have a blurb, you have a direction and a goal. Without a blurb your book starts of with a bang but never goes anywhere. I won’t say that it’s impossible to write a book without writing a blurb first half, but it’s much more difficult than it should be, and it will take longer too, because you wander down too many sidetracks.

Therefore your first step in writing your book proposal and indeed your book, is writing a blurb. Your blurb should encapsulate your book in no more than 100 words.

2. What’s Your Competition? (Competition Is Good)

Your book isn’t published in isolation. Around 1000 new books are published in English each and every week. Many of those books won’t make back the money that was invested in them. You can imagine that no publisher is interested in publishing duds. Therefore your publisher is very interested in the “competition” section of your book, as indeed you must be.

Write down five books, preferably bestsellers, which will be your book’s  competition. Can’t find five books? If you can’t find at least five top-selling books in your subject area, then find another. Your book must have competition — competition shows that people are spending in that area.

Now, while competition is good, your book must not be an “me too” kind of book. It must have a point of difference. It must be appreciably different from its competitors, as well as compelling in its own right, before a publisher will consider it.

3. Build Your Platform: Marketing Is Everything

It comes as a horrible shock to most new authors when they discover that their publisher is not in the least interested in marketing their book. Even when you have a publisher, it’s up to you to market your book.

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