The Golden Ticket: Preparing a Winning Book Proposal

We’re all familiar with the golden ticket young Charlie used as his all-access pass to the chocolate factory. Securing an agent or a publisher can sometimes seem like you, too, need to win the lottery to have your book looked at.  While agents differ in what they’d like to see, here are some general guidelines to help you…

1. Understand the process of publishing house proposal consideration
2. Enable your agent to best position your project
3. Secure an agent


Consider the agent and/or editor as a storefront; you are the supplier.

  • What do they sell? What do they need?
  • Do you have a strong voice, a good fit, and compatibility?
  • What does the competition have that they do not?
  • How can you help them compete?


Know Your Audience. Writing Rule Number One: Angle your writing toward that audience – in this case, an agent and an editor.

  • What kind of writing is included in a proposal? Persuasive, enticing, marketing-oriented.
  • Consider the number of query documents that cross an agent/editor’s desk (many agents reject 10,000 or more proposals in a year) and make yours shine.


Book Proposal Sell Flow Chart

Author -> Agent

Agent -> Editor

Editor -> Editorial Committee

Editor -> Sales Staff

Editor -> Publication Committee (Marketing, Sales, Admin, Editorial, Test Groups)

Enable your team to make a sale!


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