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 Book Proposal Book Proposal Sample – Nonfiction

Book Proposal Template

For nonfiction books, submissions to agents and publishers take the form of book proposals. The core of a proposal is a rationale, an outline, and one or two sample chapters. Publishers may also want to see a competitive analysis and a marketing plan.

If you are self-publishing, developing a book proposal in the early phases of your project will not only help you create a competitive book but also prepare you for later marketing and promotion phases.

The book proposal template provided here follows the specifications of a mainstream textbook publisher. However, formats and requirements vary widely.

For fiction books, agents and publishers expect the author to submit a finished manuscript (even though some developmental editing may be necessary later). Developing a book proposal won’t get their attention but doing one may still be useful as you think about your marketing plan. For example, competitive and comparable research can help you identify your audience.

 Manuscript Development Nonfiction Book Manuscript (format with figures, notes, and sidebars)

Fiction Story Beat Sheet (outline)


Publishers of nonfiction books – particularly technical and trade titles – will provide you with a template for your manuscript. The styles in the template help communicate your intended elements and layout to the book designer. If you are self-publishing a nonfiction book, especially if you have illustrations, planning your content this way will also help you communicate with a designer.

In the world of Hollywood movies, an outline for a feature-length screenplay has three acts and about 40 beats. A beat is a plot point composed of one or a short sequence of scenes. Even though a novel need not adhere to such a strict format, planning your story this way may help you get started. It’s entirely possible (and perhaps even desirable) if your inspiration during the writing departs from the outline. (And that’s why publishers shy away from novels presented as outlines or proposals. They know fiction follows its heart, not its head!)

 Promotion Press Release


Book Fact Sheet

Book Tip Sheet


Short Pitch

Query Letter

Media Kit

A press release is a dated bulletin to news media.

Blurbs are endorsements, short quotations, from reviewers or authors and experts in the same genre as your book.

A fact sheet contains cataloging details (book metadata) required by booksellers and libraries.

A tip sheet is a series of bullet points that summarize book content. Often enclosed with the Fact Sheet to booksellers.

A synopsis is a summary of your book’s content or story. One page is ideal, two pages at most.

A short pitch is a paragraph intended to hook potential readers. It’s the block of copy at the top of an online catalog listing.

A query letter is a formal pitch to an agent or publisher. If you are self-publishing, writing a query letter can help you clarify your thinking.

A media kit is a collection of marketing materials which might, for example, be sent to a reviewer along with an advance copy.