If you’re writing a nonfiction book, you’ve probably already heard this advice—write a proposal before you write your book. The foremost reason to start with a proposal is that, if you’re pitching to an agent or publisher, a proposal delivers the most pertinent information about your project in the shortest amount of reading time. In a few pages you can lay out your goals for the book, your credentials, and how you fit into the current market. This allows agents and publishers to determine if and where you’d fit into their current list more quickly than if they have to dig for the information themselves.
Submitting Your Work
Once your manuscript is complete, you may find yourself reading and rereading it, constantly making tweaks or rearranging small pieces of the text or rewording your never-quite-right prose. It may seem like it will never be perfect. Guess what. It won’t. But it’ll never be done either unless you let it go.
After you’ve decided to write a book and you know what your message is, you might find yourself wondering How will I know I’m ready to submit?
At Greenleaf, we receive manuscripts in varying stages of completion. Sometimes, authors have a manuscript that just needs a little polishing before publication. Some authors have a strong outline and know who their audience is. Others come to us with merely an idea. No matter where your project is in its development, the editorial team at Greenleaf can help you ready your ideas for publication.
Any chance you have to get in front of agents or publishers and tell them about your book is a precious opportunity, no matter how brief the encounter. Don’t waste it. Make the moment memorable (for the right reasons) by crafting a series of brief, targeted talking points about your project.
Qualities of a Good Pitch:
- It’s brief: A good pitch starts with a single sentence, known as a logline or hook. Prepare one or two additional sentence-long talking points about your project based on the book’s synopsis.
- It gets to the guts of your book: By boiling your pitch down to a single sentence, you are forced to get to the heart of the story or message. The hook should be the book’s compelling central idea and will be used to sell your idea again and again.
Writing a book can be a lonely experience, and you don’t want to completely isolate yourself during the writing process. It’s important to get feedback, especially while you’re developing an idea. Not only does this help motivate you, it also helps you catch issues and address concerns on the front end rather than trying to overhaul a manuscript after it’s already complete.
Going to press is exciting. Lots of hard work is behind you, and the finished book is close to becoming a reality. But as you print your books, you should be aware of potential complications. Consider the printing of your book as a custom project. The jacket, covers, and text are unique–written, designed, and printed specifically for you as opposed to being interchangeable commodities to be pulled from a shelf.
That being said, it's difficult for a printer to produce the precise amount of books you request. When the printer orders materials for printing a book, he must allow for spoilage at each manufacturing stage. If production runs smoothly and spoilage is kept to a minimum, there will likely be higher yields of the final product. These extra books are referred to in the industry as "overs."
And here's where people tend to get confused: Your invoice will reflect the total amount of books shipped from the printer, meaning that if relatively few books have defects, you'll end up being charged for the total number of books shipped.
"It’s all pounds, shillings, and pence to me, darling." —Absolutely Fabulous
Just like most industries, book publishing has its own peculiar jargon—a language that may be confusing to first-time authors. To minimize confusion and miscommunication during your book’s production, here's a list of some of the more common terms you might come across: