Monday, July 30, 2012

The Proposal, part one

Not like this, exactly. :)

We've talked a lot about proposals on here, but I think we should spend some time talking about the tiny details that make a proposal. I've been reading everyone's comments about feeling insecure about their writing, feeling overwhelmed when it comes to conferences, etc. If you are holding a well-crafted proposal in your hands, that can do a LOT to help your self-esteem come Meeting The Editors time.

(And, by the way, only two of the editors I've ever met were scary.)

(Only one made me cry.)

(I'm just kidding. I never cried. I may have sniffled once or twice though because I was in South Carolina and the greenery does not mesh well with my allergies.)

Okay. First and foremost, you need a Killer Title.

Actually, scratch that. First and foremost, you need to put your name and contact info in the top right corner of the first page. I have heard editors harp on this for ten minutes. They talk about how they were holding the next John Grisham, the next Karen Kingsbury, the next Huge Bestseller Featuring Some Other-Worldly Creatures and the author did not put their name on it and ALL WAS LOST.

After you've written your name, address, phone number and email address, skip down a few paragraphs and write in your Killer Title. But don't get attached to your amazing title, because there is always a good chance that it will be changed.

 Curious how to come up with a title?

With Miss Match, my original title was Matchmaking 101. I usually come up with a title by telling every single person I know the two-sentence hook for the book and then asking what they think the title of my book should be.

(Actually, I only did that for Miss Match. My brother came up with the original title, my dad came up with the title the publisher chose.)

(Thanks Bryant! Thanks Dad!)

I named Cool Beans after the coffee shop in the book. My current WIP, Paige Rewritten, was a play on my main character's name (the first will be titled Paige Torn, same concept).

I'll be back next week to talk about the next two segments in the proposal. In the meantime, if you guys have questions, please leave them in the comments and I'll try my best to answer them or pawn them off on one of my fellow Scribble Chicks. ;)

Have a good Monday!


  1. Writing a complete book takes more patience and endurance that I thought.

    It seems like publishers and agents are partial to proposals they see at conferences. I really thought I'd be able to make it to one this year but it doesn't seem to be happening. It makes me wonder if I'll ever be able to get to a conference. Are there any ways of upping my chances of getting my proposal looked at and being published without going to a conference?

  2. Hey, Erynn. Just wanted to say that I'm reading Sketchy Behavior, right now. I love DJ, but my best friend (already read it) says my opinion is going to change. :( I don't think so. I like him. :) Great book, altogether!

  3. Tonya - it does take a lot of work!! Honestly, your BEST chance is a conference, but there are definitely lots of writers who got published by other means! We'll have to do a post on ways to get your proposal in the hands of editors.

    Ashley - thank you!! You are super sweet. So glad you are enjoying it! :)

  4. I'd love a post like that.
    Ultimately, I do want to go to a conference. I'm just wondering about if I am not able to get to a confarance or even a lot of them. Conferances are pricey and sometimes you aren't discovered at the first one!

  5. Tonya, there are lots of conferences that aren't as expensive at Mt Hermon or the big ACFW every year. I teach every year here in Shreveport at a conference that's a chapter of the RWA (Romance Writers of America) and they always have quality editors and agents there. It's so much cheaper because it's only one night. (two day conference) Aren't you in Texas? Also, the ACFW this September is in Dallas, if that's near by to you! No airfare.

  6. I just looked NOLA is a lot cheaper than some :)

    Yeah, ACfW is about an hour from (without traffic). I really thought it'd be possible earlier this year but more & more things are pointing to "no" or "not right now". Hoping it's not right now!