Monday, September 24, 2012

The Proposal, part five

Great news for those of you out there who hate to plot!

There's more coming up in your proposal. :P

By this point, you are pretty much done with the worst part of the proposal. You've got the synopsis done (BIG SIGH HERE) and things are looking good.

Most publishers like when authors offer to make their books into a series - apparently, it ups the sales when people know they aren't going to be investing in your characters' lives for just one book. So even if you're not into writing series (like I originally was), you might want to at least make it an option for the publisher.

In my proposals, I have a section called "Potential Series Options" and underneath, I write a very BASIC sketch of two more books (one paragraph each) with two more potential titles. For example, in my proposal for Paige Torn, my book releasing in May, I listed two more books - Paige Rewritten and Paige Turned - as potentials for a continuation of the series. NavPress, my wonderful publisher, liked the idea and I've now got two more deadlines. ;)

After you wrap up that section, the only thing left is your sample chapters!! You need to include three and I always, always, ALWAYS recommend that you put the first three chapters in there. They need to be SPOTLESS, particularly if this is your first novel. Read, re-read and re-re-read them. ;) By the time Miss Match was published both my mom and I had memorized almost the entire book. During copyedits, my editor would say, "Oh and that section with this particular scene...where is it...?" and I'd say - without looking - "I think that's on page 132."

Pitiful, but true. ;)

And THEN.... give yourself a big drumroll because you are DONE.

Now what do you do with this pristine proposal??

I'll cover that next week. ;)

Got any questions?? Leave them in the comments!


  1. Gosh, a proposal sounds so daunting I need to just focus on writing a books I feel is worth submitting first!

    I have noticed series are popular. Do you have any advice on planning a series? And as a beg writer would you recommend going into a pitch with series options?

    I've thought before writers would have at least some of the book memorized. You pour over it so much. Was there a time when you hated miss match or didn't know if it'd be published?

  2. Tonya, you're right. Focus on finishing your story first and making it something you are happy with and proud of before worrying about this step. But save Erynn's notes here for later because that time will come!! :)

    Erynn, you forgot the most important step - CELEBRATING WITH CHOCOLATE. hehehe.

    Tonya, my thoughts on series (though Erynn will probably have a lot more thoughts since she's written several series and I've only written sequels and proposed a series thus far) is to plan your story first. Write your story, exactly as you want it to be. THEN think about "what could I do next to carry it on?" Don't sacrifice your first story because you're so caught up in worrying about how you could make it last 2 or 3 books or connect in ways to 2 or 3 books. Does that make sense? Write the story you love and want to write first then pull sequel or series pieces from that when you're done. It won't be hard then, I promise. And we can help ;)

  3. Ditto Betsy - both on the chocolate and the series! :) Love ya, friend.

    Tonya, yes, there were definitely times where I wondered if Miss Match would ever get published. I'm pretty sure every beginning author feels that way!! Keep at it even on days when you can't stand your characters. ;) The books I learned the most from were the two I wrote before Miss Match that will never see the light of day. ;)

  4. I have stay-in-the-shadows books too. hehe

  5. Erynn,
    Since I've loved your stories from the first page of "Miss Matched" through "Cool Beans" and beyond....may I become an early reader??? SO EXCITED a new trilogy is coming our way...