To propose or not to propose, but HOW is the question…

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions To propose or not to propose, but HOW is the question…

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    Cassie Hartfinh

    Hello Story Embers leaders, wherever you are! *waves and offers virtual pizza*

    I have a question.

    So I finished my first fantasy novel. The first of four, hopefully. Up till now, I’ve been self-publishing my novels because editors scare me and so do contracts. Well, they did, at any rate. Turns out, self-publishing also means I have to advertise all by myself. Which I’m horrible at. That might be due to the fact that I can’t afford it and the only social media I have is Facebook.

    But my opinion of traditional publishing has since changed. I feel as if I am ready to try pitching this novel, and its series, to a real publishing company. More specifically, Enclave Publishing. They’ve published authors like Gillian Bronte Adams and Nadine Brandes, both of whose books I’ve buried in a secret location so nobody but I can read them.

    My question? I would like to know where I can get a free or affordable lesson on writing the perfect fiction book proposal/cover letter. I’ve done a lot of research and I know the basics: blurb, summary, target audience, how my book stands out, etc. My problem is I don’t know how to format it correctly, or even begin writing it. I know what makes a good proposal, but as for doing it…I either need a REALLY good template, or someone to do it with me. I’m a very visual learner, and so far my research has not helped me in this regard.

    So this is why I’m reaching out to you, the leaders of Story Embers. Could you direct me to either a template for fiction book proposals, or tell me if you’ve done a class of some sort? Could one of you teach me, perhaps? I’m not even sure how to effectively convey the fact that I CAN NOT understand a written explanation of the lesson I want to learn. I need an actual teacher. Would you be so kind as to point me to one?


    ~Cassie Hartfinh, Wonderment and Wanderer of the Written Worlds

    @josiah-degraaf @briannastorm @daeus-lamb @j-a-penrose @hope-ann

    Ahyek nahd feltin'or rempak.
    I'm not promising anything.

    Brianna Storm Hilvety


    I haven’t worked much with book proposals myself, but I found a good article by Jerry B. Jenkins on the subject (which does mention formatting): https://jerryjenkins.com/how-to-write-a-book-proposal/

    And if you’d like a visual example, here is a proposal Jill Williamson created for one of her books: http://jillwilliamson.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Captives_Proposal_Example.pdf

    Keep in mind, though, that even with traditional publishing you’ll be expected to do a lot of the marketing yourself. Many publishers prefer that authors have a following before they’ll accept a book (because they want to make sure you have an audience who will buy it). This article from Writer’s Digest helps explain why that’s the case: https://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/do-you-have-what-publishers-really-want

    I hope those links are helpful! Best wishes to you as you embark on this journey. 🙂


    So, first up, congrats! You’ve reached a huge step in your writing journey! *throws confetti*

    But now, let’s get down to business.

    Firstly, I’d very strongly advise seeking a professional edit from someone before starting to pitch your novel. Find a reputable editor, and see where that goes. From what I can tell, if a publishing house declines your proposal, you aren’t exactly welcome to repitch to them. So, it’s best to do that with an editor who will give you feedback and help you to the best of your abilities. (Obviously, before then you need to do all of the running by Alphas and Betas just to smooth out the main bits.)


    But yeah, I’m preeeetty sure none of us who have been tagged are traditionally published.


    Also, as for something you can definitely look at, is Go Teen Writers. They have some awesome things there, including a guide to traditional publishing. And to top it off, the people there are very real, very nice, and very willing to help out.


    Good luck!

    Writer | Freelance editor

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