WRITING A NONFICTION BOOK PROPOSAL – By Carol Silvis

If you are thinking about writing a nonfiction book, you need to consider more than the manuscript. Unlike fiction works, which should be complete before submission, nonfiction books are generally sold through proposals. The proposal presents a strong case for your book idea and will have a publisher take you seriously. In addition, developing a proposal will help you stay focused on the book’s topic and the market for which it is intended. How to Write a Book Proposal by Michael Larsen is one of the best books I have read on this subject.
Book proposals contain specific information arranged in an easy-to-read format. Some publishers have their own standard company proposal templates, which they send to the author. A typical nonfiction book proposal consists of four main parts: Overview of the Book, Sales and Marketing Strategies, About the Author, and an Outline and Overview of the chapters. These main sections contain subsections, resulting in a proposal that is several pages in length. My typical proposal runs between 18-22 pages.
The main sections of a proposal include the following:

Title Page
• Introduction/Overview
• Outstanding Features
• Market
• Competitive Books
• Complementary Books
• Author Promotion
• About the Author
Table of Contents
• Overview of Chapters

Title Page. Center the title and the author’s name. Type the author’s contact information in the lower left corner.

Introduction/overview. Describe the book’s (1) main subject area, (2) contents, and (3) page count. State whether the book will be part of a series. Answer the following questions in the introduction/overview:
• What is the book about? (3-4 sentences)
• Why is the topic important?
• What will the book’s angle be?
• What makes you the best person to write the book?
• What outstanding features make this book different from others on the market?

Market. Describe the market and audience for this book.

Competing and Complementary Books. Make a list of books that compete with yours and those that complement it. Give a sentence or two about your reasoning.

Author Promotion. Describe what you will do to personally promote the book.

About the Author. Detail your background, including your academic and professional background as it relates to the book, your publications, and your writing-related activities (e.g., member or officer in a writing group)

Table of Contents. Type a table of contents.

Overview of Chapters. Give a page or so overview per chapter.

Writing a proposal is a lengthy but necessary procedure if you want to increase your chances for success.

Carol Silvis is the President of Pennwriters and the author of Job Hunting After 50,  available on Amazon.com

http://www.carolsilvis.com
http://www.carolsilvis.blogspot.com

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Enter Pennwriters Writing Contest Before It’s Too Late

Go to http://www.pennwriters.com for complete rules and entry form. Submissions must be postmarked by Jan. 31, 2012 to qualify. Submit your novel beginning, short story, article or poem. Area 7 has some very talented writers and I’d love to see one of us win.  Yes, I’m submitting. I’m sending in a short story and an article. Hope you do too.

Area 7 News

Good news for Baltimore, Maryland area Pennwriters. Pennwriter Secretary and Area 7 member, Jessica Williams, has stepped up to become the Area 7 Baltimore Group Leader. Jessica will be announcing the details of where and when meetings and events will be held early in 2012. I lead the Area 7 Blue Ridge Group meeting twice month in Purcellville, VA. Anyone interested in participating in these groups is encouraged to contact me for more information at bcarducci@comcast.net. I would like to see all Area 7 members benefit from regular interaction with other writers in their local area no matter where they live. Anyone interested in leading a group, please contact me directly. If you have a place to meet and a desire to spend time with fellow writers it is possible to host a group.

Coming in March – Area 7 (Baltimore Group) led by Jessica Williams will hold its first event, a workshop and new member drive. Description of Event: Self Editing with Ramona Long. Attendees can submit first three. double spaced pages, of their work for review by Ramona. Ramona is also offering to do longer critiques (20 pages) from the first ten participants, at a special rate of $30. Space will be limited. Sign up as soon as possible.
Location: Baltimore County Library. Date: March 24, 2012. Time: 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM ( lunch on your own). To register and for more information contact Jessica Williams at jesswilliams06@verizon.net

Prepping for NaNoWritMo

PREPPING FOR NaNoWriMo with SUSAN MEIER: Online Course INSTRUCTOR: Susan Meier DATE: October 1 – October 31, 2011 REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/PennwritersCourse201110 (LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now.) COURSE DESCRIPTION: Everybody believes NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which runs every November at http://www.nanowrimo.org) is a race against the clock, a fight with procrastination and inertia. In some ways it is. But once you’re in the thick of things, you’ll discover NaNo is really all about ideas. Writers don’t stall because they’re lazy. Writers stall because they don’t know what to write next. The month BEFORE NaNo, get proven tips from Susan Meier—the author of almost 50 books for Harlequin and Silhouette—and let her take you through several different ways to examine the story you want to write, to capture the natural scene possibilities within your idea, to generate new ideas, and to push yourself through the most grueling, but fun, month you will spend this year! Lessons include: * The List of 20 (How to generate ideas quickly so you have little downtime when your natural ideas run out) * Turning a “Want” into “Need” (How does knowing why you’re writing this book provide you with both energy to write and ideas for your story?) * The One-Paragraph Story Summary (Say it succinctly…3 kinds of one-paragraph story summaries: back cover blurb, core story question, and growth paragraph) * Could, Might, Must and Should List (How to capture ideas that spring up naturally) * Storyboard Versus Synopsis (Breaking your idea down into manageable bites) * The Psychology of Pushing through the Hard Times (What to do when you get stuck) * The Psychology of a Draft (Push, push, push!) * What Are You Doing in December? (Editing tips) Discover how to get the most out of NaNo and write a publishable novel. LIMITED CLASS SIZE. Enroll now. REGISTER: http://tinyurl.com/PennwritersCourse201110 ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR: Susan Meier is the author of over 45 books for Harlequin and Silhouette and one of Guideposts‘ Grace Chapel Inn series books, THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS. Her books have been finalists for Reviewers Choice Awards, National Reader’s Choice Awards and Cataromance.com Reviewer’s Choice Awards and nominated for Romantic Times awards. Her book, HER BABY’S FIRST CHRISTMAS won the traditional category in the 2009 More Than Magic contest. HER PREGNANCY SURPRISE, her first release for the Harlequin Romance line, made both Walden’s Bestseller List for Series Romance and Bookscan. MAID FOR THE MILLIONAIRE, MAID FOR THE SINGLE DAD, and COUNTRY TWIN CHRISTMAS are her 2010 releases. Susan loves to teach as much as she loves to write and is a popular speaker at RWA chapter conferences. Can This Manuscript Be Saved? and Journey Steps, Taking the Train to Somewhere! are her most requested workshops. Her article “How to Write a Category Romance” appeared in 2003 Writer’s Digest Novel and Short Story Markets. Susan also gives online workshops for various groups and her articles regularly appear in RWA chapter newsletters. For more information about Susan Meier, visit http://www.susanmeier.com. * Subscribe to our announcement list for email on our latest online courses! http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PennwritersOnlineCourses ***** * For more information on this course, contact Laura M. Campbell, Online Courses Coordinator. To mail in your registration and payment, send payment at least one week before the course starts using the mail form at this link.

Driven to Love by Denise Meyers – reprinted with permission

The following is a reprint of the blog that I wrote as Schizophrenicwriter. It’s only fitting that it appear here as well.
Bobbi
***

Driven to Love is more than the title of a book written by Denise Meyers, a Pennwriters Past President and friend to every writer she ever met. It is also a fitting description of how she lived.

Her family and friends know what I’m talking about. Her strength, tempered by a not-so- well- disguised vulnerability was equally matched by a quick wit and warmheart that drew people to her wherever she went.

It was with great sorrow that I learned of her death on August, 4, 2011.

Whenever I walk to the halls of a writer’s conference I will think of her. When I hear a group of people burst into laughter during a writing workshop I will hear her laugh ringing through the room. When an aspiring writer announces a first sale I know she will be celebrating along with him and, more than likely, nudging any nearby angels to join in the celebration.

When one of us hops online to announce a rejection letter or share a moment of doubt hers will be the voice we hear in our mind urging us to keep trying, reminding us that an acceptance letter or book contract can happen at any time, but only if you keep writing and continue to submit.

If we are lucky we are privileged to meet someone who truly inspires us on the road to publication. A mentor who doesn’t pretend it’s easy but does everything that can be done to help us find the tools we need to succeed. Through Pennwriters, I am blessed to know many people like that. Denise was the first and I will never forget her. Rest in Peace my friend.

Driven to Love by Denise Meyers is avaialble in ebook form on Kindle and Nook.

Pennwriters Presents – Monday May 9th.

Pennwriters Presents –

Our Guest Star will be Bobbi Carducci, short story, memoir and creative nonfiction writer, and author of STOREE WRYTER GETS A DOG, her first venture into writing for kids. She describes herself as a schizophrenic writer because of the variety of writing she does and in recognition of the voices in her head (her muse) that demand to be heard.
She also writes a monthly book review column for About Families Publications available in print and on line.

In addition to writing, Bobbi is the President of Community Voice Media, a small print publisher specializing in books by and for young people. She is the Executive Director of the Young Voices Foundation a 501 (c) (3) educational nonprofit established to mentor young writers http://www.youngvoicesfoundation.org and the creator or the Young Voices Awards honoring books that Inspire, Mentor, and/or Educate readers of all ages. http://www.youngvoicesawards.com.

She is a long time member of Pennwriters and, as a resident of Virginia, is the Area 7 Representative to the Board of Directors. She is a writing coach and frequent presenter at writer’s conferences, including the upcoming Pennwriters Conference where she will present a workshop titled “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words – How To Evoke Real Emotion In Your Memoir.”

Bobbi Carducci’s month-long online course, CREATIVE NONFICTION & MEMOIR WRITING, starts June 1, 2011. You’ll discover proven methods to convey real-life facts and events through story structure and character development with a focus on storytelling, personal essays, and feature writing. To learn how to write that great real-life story of yours and get it published, enroll now at http://tinyurl.com/PennwritersCourse201106 .

Bobbi Carducci, also writing as Barbara Simpson Carducci, can be reached by email at bcarducci@comcast.net or through Twitter @BobbiCarducci and Facebook. You can also visit her blog at http://schizophrenicwriter.wordpress.com or her website at http://www.communityvoicemedia.com/bobbicarducci.html.

Topics to discuss with Bobbi Carducci include:

* Short story writing
* Creative nonfiction
* Writing for young readers
* Writing in general
* How to be an overnight success in 60 years or less
* The correlation between a well made Cosmopolitan and a happy marriage

The opinions of Pennwriters Presents Guest Stars do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Pennwriters organization. INCLUDE THE GUEST STAR’S NAME IN THE SUBJECT HEADING OF YOUR QUESTIONS. To get the most out of the program, please set your Message Delivery to “Individual Email.” Here is how you do it:

1) Go to the Pennwriters online group setup page at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Pennwriters/join

2) Under “Step 2. Message Delivery,” click the option “Individual Email.”

3) Click the “Save Changes” button.

That’s it! Have your questions lined up Monday. You can start posting questions early over the weekend. See you soon.

– Nate Hardy
Pennwriters Internet Activities Coordinator

CREATIVE NONFICTION & MEMOIR WRITING Online Course
http://tinyurl.com/PennwritersCourse201106

Read and Critique – Round Robin

Pennwriters offers a Round Robin Critique Group program that is ideal for those who can’t get to area meetings as often as they would like, or who live too far away from their area meetings or other Pennwriters, or who write in a genre or form that isn’t as popular as others (and it’s difficult to find like-minded writers to network with).

A Pennwriters Round Robin Critique Group or partnership can be done either by e-mail or by US Mail. And do consider partnering to help those still looking for match-ups in: Short Story, Romance, Literary, Christian/inspirational, Mystery/suspense, Science Fiction-Alternate History, Middle Grade (ages 9-13) fiction, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Historical nonfiction, and Eclectic (writing short in various forms/genres.)

All you have to do is contact Catherine McLean, mouserun@certainty.net and ask for a Round Robin Request form.

Catherine E. McLean is a Pennwriters Meritorious Service Award winner who has given more than 30 workshops and had two-dozen articles published on the devices and techniques of writing fiction. Her short stories have sold to magazines and anthologies. www.WritersCheatSheets.com