Publishing Child Book e-Course

Proposal and Cover Letter

A proposal is sent either as follow-up to a query letter or to publishers that prefer to receive a book proposal from the start. The proposal includes a cover letter and the entire manuscript (if it’s short) or the first three chapters of longer manuscripts.

Writing a good cover letter is essential. Just as you would never send a job application with just your resume, you should never send a manuscript without a cover letter.

A follow-up cover letter may be fairly brief (e.g. half a page), and should remind the editor that he or she has asked for your manuscript (e.g. “Thank you for your interest in…”). Although it may be brief, make sure to reiterate, concisely, why your book is a potential winner.

TIP: Aside from including your manuscript, you can also include a market analysis for your book. This serves two purposes: it increases your credibility and may convince the editor that your book is highly marketable. Remember, you want to make it as easy as possible for the editor to say “YES”.

A cover letter sent as part of your initial approach resembles a query letter. The only major difference is in your objectives. The objective of a query letter is to get the editor to ask for your manuscript. The objective of a cover letter is to get the editor to read the enclosed (sample) manuscript and then to contact you about a book deal (contract).

The important thing to remember in all your communications is to focus on “WII-FM” (What’s in it for me). Instead of launching immediately into a diatribe about why your book is so great, try to show the editor how publishing it will benefit him or her. Publishing is a business, so the “bottom line” IS the bottom line.

TIP: Always include a “P.S.” The P.S. in a sales letter is statistically proven to be the second most read part of the letter (after the headline or opening sentence). The P.S. really attracts the reader’s attention.

What should you say in your P.S.? You can restate benefits, introduce a new benefit, provide more credibility or communicate urgency (to motivate the editor to take immediate action).

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