How to Write a Book Proposal

Crafting the perfect book pitch for potential agents or publishers is a daunting experience. The fear of rejection is an ever-present, and it’s absolutely vital you get the very best proposal out there in order to best display your talents to potential employers.

But what to include, and how best to write it? Here are a few tips on what to include in a high quality book proposal.

Cover page

A smart and succinct cover page is the first impression your proposal will make, so it’s imperative it is of good quality. Make is short and snappy, but remember that this is effectively the opening of a business plan for your book – professionalism and a showcasing of your organisation is key. Sometimes, depending on your pitch, incorporating a clear and customer focused pitch can be a good idea.

Table of contents

This can be worked into your cover page, but in essence, the table of contents should allow the reader to dip in and out of your pitch to browse any section at will. Make it as concise as possible and remember – clarity is key.


See this as a synopsis of your book. How succinctly can you get across the message of your book? Brevity is key, try to keep it to a hundred or so words maximum, but make it exciting. This is your main sales pitch.

Target market

This is where things get serious and the pitch turns business. Who are you aiming this book at, and will they buy it? Back your ideals up with hard evidence that your idea will shift copies using traffic figures and demographic statistics, and steer clear of rambling, generic statements.

Competitor analysis

Like in your Target Market section, it’s important that your Competitor Analysis is backed up with statistics on who your book will be taking on in the market, whilst laying out why your idea is different or better than what’s already out there.

Author bio

Why should the agent or publisher trust little old you with the responsibility of writing this book? Whilst you know that you can carry out the project and deliver an outstanding end product, you’re effectively asking someone to part with cash for a product they can’t yet sample. This is another sales pitch – profile your talents as succinctly as you can.

Marketing/promotion plan

This is a brief run-through of how you envisage promoting the book, including any online promotion on social media, through blogging or link building. Be sure to use strong, assertive language maintaining what you have done or will do, rather than saying what you plan to do.

Chapter outline

A brief run-through of the different chapters in your book, and a very brief synopsis of each chapter’s content. Make it sound as exciting as possible!

Sample chapter

Whether you’ve already written your book or not, it’s important you include a sample chapter in your proposal to showcase your style of writing, giving the reader both a feel for both you as an author and the subject in hand. Choose the meatiest, most interesting chapter you have and make sure it is a display of your very best work. Length is important, too – ensure it is between 4,000 and 5,500 words long.

Thank You Statement

It’s a personal touch, but writing a brief Thank You statement can be a good way of rounding off your pitch, thanking the reader for perusing your proposal and bringing a call to action to the table.

Given that every book is different, it’s only right that each proposal is completely bespoke, reflecting both the client needs and the style of your work. With this in mind, Proposal Fox offers entirely customisable book proposal template software that makes crafting the perfect pitch quick and easy. Sign up today for your free template.