How To Write A Book Proposal Posted on by Karen Kelsky You all know that the book proposal is the cornerstone to a successful tenure track career in most areas of the humanities and social sciences. Sure, some parts of psychology and economics and other fields are not book-based, but basically, the law of the land is: What you may not be aware of is that the book proposal should be an element in your job applications. In this job market, you have to be looking ahead to the book, and able to speak intelligently about the book and its publishing plan, from the earliest days, ie, even when you are ABD and still finishing the dissertation.
Or, perhaps you want to write your first academic book on an entirely different subject. Unless you are famous and have publishers soliciting manuscripts from you, you likely will have to submit a formal academic book proposal to an academic press to have a hope of publishing a book with such a press.
Many university press websites have guidelines that can help you through this process.
UC Press has a good set of guidelines as does Harvard. Be sure to check the websites of the press where you plan to submit to find out if they have specific guidelines. Here I provide generic suggestions for what should go in an academic book proposal, and then suggest a method for writing such a proposal.
A book proposal for an academic press has seven basic components: A one-page description of the book. The most important aspect of this one-page description is the argument you will set forth.
Here is one example of how to do this: Hook — Invite the reader into your proposal with an interesting anecdote or some surprising data.
State your central argument. Back it up with a few sentences.
State the contribution to scholarship and place in the literature. Provide a brief roadmap to the book. A descriptive table of contents. Dedicate one paragraph to each chapter.
Give the title of the chapter and provide a three to four sentence summary of the chapter. A mechanical description of the final manuscript. Here you say that the estimated length of the final manuscript will be anywhere from 70, towords.
More or less may raise eyebrows. A description of the audience for your book. Tell the editor who you expect to purchase your book. Will it be read only in your field, or also in other disciplines? Will undergraduates be able to understand your book?
Or, is it solely directed at faculty and graduate students? Could it be used in undergraduate or graduate courses?
If so, explain which ones. What are the existing books in your field? How will your book stand out from these? Do you use a different methodology or approach? Is yours designed for a different audience?
If any of the competing books you mention are quite similar to your own, spend a few sentences explaining how yours is distinct. How far along are you? Do you have a complete manuscript? If you do, say so. If not, say how many chapters you have completed, and provide an expected date of completion.
If this is your first academic book, I discourage you from sending a proposal before you are certain you will finish the book within a year. If the publisher requires a complete manuscript, you likely want to be less than six months away from completion before sending the proposal. Who might review your book?
You can provide the names and contact information of people who you think might be appropriate readers for your book. Now that you know what the components are, it should be easier to imagine how you will write such a proposal.
I suggest you start with the chapter descriptions, as those should not be terribly difficult to write. Once you have those done, you can begin to work on the introductory first page. When you get stuck, turn to the other, easier parts of the proposal.Academic Book Proposal Template Academic book proposals typically contain six basic types of information.
It is important to understand the purpose of each section because different presses use slightly different terms for each section. This resource will help undergraduate, graduate, and professional scholars write proposals for academic conferences, articles, and books.
While the requirements are very similar to those of conference proposals, proposals for a long article, chapter, or book ought to address a few other issues. Mar 22, · A book proposal for an academic press has seven basic components: A one-page description of the book.
The most important aspect of this one .
Feb 11, · The basic format for writing a book proposal couldn't be more straightforward. It's so standard you might be lulled into believing it's simply a matter of filling in the blanks.
Every proposal—and you can find examples in a nanosecond by Googling—should contain the following sections: overview, competition, market, Author: Rachel Toor. A book proposal for an academic press has seven basic components: A one-page description of the book.
The most important aspect of this one-page description is the argument you will set forth.
Writing an Irresistible Book Proposal by Michael Larsen The Golden Rule of Writing a Book Proposal is that every word in your proposal should answer one of two questions: Why should a publisher invest in your book, and why are you the person to write it?
If a word doesn’t help answer one of those questions, delete it.