On Selling a Book on Proposal


Hi community of awesome, I’m Ava Jae and this is bookishpixie. So one of you guys asked me about doing a vlog on writing a series, which I’m going to cover next week, but it got me thinking
about something similar, namely, selling a book on proposal. So in the fiction world, at least, selling
a book on proposal is not the norm. The way novels are usually sold is the writer will write the entire book, and then edit it a ton, and then send it to their agent,
and then the agent will send it off on submission and hopefully a publisher will buy it. However, every once in a while, you’ll hear
about an author selling on proposal, or selling a series, and that’s what we’re talking about today. When you sell a book on proposal, it means you’ve sold the promise of writing a novel. So the publisher is saying yes, we will absolutely publish this and you will absolutely write this. Proposals are usually reserved for (1) big-time authors, (2) authors who have a track record with that particular publisher, or (3) with
an unsold series. The guidelines will vary publisher to publisher, but generally a proposal package contains (1) the pitch, (2) the synopsis of what will happen in the book, and (3) a couple chapters. So what this means for the author is you have to plot out the book, write out a synopsis, and write a couple chapters and revise it
super heavily, because those are the chapters the publisher is going to go on when deciding whether or not to buy the book. So after you’ve plotted out the book, and
you’ve written the chapters, and revised it really heavily, and give it to your agent,
and your agent sends it out… then you wait. I sold BEYOND THE RED’s two sequels on proposal and it was a really interesting experience. When I was working on the series proposal, it was a really surreal experience because I couldn’t tell anyone about it except for
my couple critique partners, and I was working really hard on these chapters, and knowing that I might not be able to write the rest of it. So it was kind of this detached experience
because I didn’t want to get emotionally attached to this manuscript, um, because I knew I might not be able to write any more of it. With my specific proposal package, I did a
full outline for the next book, INTO THE BLACK, and did a couple chapters out of that book, and then I just partially plotted the last book and did a synopsis based off of that
to show that I knew the direction the series was going in and also I knew exactly what
I would do with book two. And it was exciting because it was a chance that I might be able to write the full series, but I also didn’t want to get *too* excited
about it because I knew there was also a chance it might not sell and I wouldn’t be able to
keep going even though I really, really wanted to. So you can imagine when I got the news
that my publisher had picked up the full trilogy, I was really excited. Aside from the emotional limbo experience of writing a proposal package, I found that it went, uh, quicker than I expected because I only had to work on a couple chapters and the synopsis, rather than an entire book—so obviously it didn’t take as long as writing a whole book. But overall it was a really exciting and good experience. So that, in a nutshell, is a simplified version of selling a book on proposal. So that’s what I’ve got for today! If you liked what you saw, don’t forget to
subscribe and comment, and I’ll see you guys next week!

11 Replies to “On Selling a Book on Proposal

  1. That's fantastic! I thought your series had always been sold that way. Thanks for the insight! (Your blog and video scheduling is keeping me inspired to keep a schedule of my own!)

  2. I have question. I know your busy but have you considered occasionally make like a 10 or 15 minute every so often? Maybe it would increase viewers if you threw a curveball like that every so often. Of course you probably don't like to ramble but I'm sure, if you did consider longer videos once in a while, you'd do something special and interesting. That isn't saying your videos aren't interesting as they are, but sometimes it's good to throw in variety.

  3. Hi I'm Reagan. You inspire me so much. I want to be a writer when I grow up. Please make a video a video about money as a writer. Also I'm 11 years old.

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