Every cookbook needs to have a specific audience defined. Be it men, women, school-age children, older adults, newly retired executives, experienced cooks, newlyweds, home chefs, or bakers, your cookbook needs to speak to a specific audience. When you keep this audience in mind, your message will be on-target and the audience won’t believe how much they can learn from you and how much you can help them. So what about when you write your cookbook proposal? Who do you write that for?
When you write your cookbook proposal, the target audience is not the same audience as your cookbook. Your proposal audience is an agent and/or an editor at a publishing house. Your job in a cookbook proposal is to speak to that agent and/or editor and WOW them with your cookbook idea. Your proposal not only packages, but delivers, your cookbook concept in a neat, clear, concise, and hopefully unforgettable, document. Think of your proposal as a tool to educate someone about your book idea. If they read the proposal they’ll know everything they need to know about you and your awesome cookbook idea. So, how can you do this?
Here are 5 tips for success with your cookbook proposal.
1. When you write your proposal always keep agents and editors in mind. Answer any question you think they would have about you, your topic, your platform, and your book idea. You are selling your book idea to them. You want them to lay awake at night and think of your cookbook idea and how you are the best person to write about this idea.
2. The proposal must showcase your best writing skills. This is done through how you write the proposal and how you express yourself in you book’s introduction, sample chapter, and in the several tested recipes you provide. Make your proposal an enjoyable read. Through your writing, and the way you express yourself in the proposal, the agent and/or editor must get an example of your ability to write clearly. Convince them of your ability to deliver your cookbook concept through your narrative and recipes.
3. When formatting your proposal check to see if your agent and/or the publishing house where you plan to submit offers style guidelines to format the proposal. If they have guidelines be sure to follow them to a “T”. If guidelines are not available, format the proposal in 12-point, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, or another widely acceptable font- style. Include a footer with page numbers and 1-inch margins. Skip elaborate design and stylized fonts unless you have a compelling reason to do so. Avoid “fluffing” up a proposal with fancy binding or random food images unless you want to include sample photography. Keep the proposal simple and keep it focused.
4. Make sure your proposal is clear, to the point, well-formatted, and free of spelling and grammatical errors. If writing and grammar is not your skill, partner with a collaborator, but disclose the collaboration to the agent/editor so they …