Every non-fiction author needs to know how to write a book proposal. This is the way that non-fiction books are “sold” – the author writes the proposal to educate another person (be it an agent, editor, or financial backer) about the book they intend to write. Aspiring cookbook authors are no different – they need to know how to write a proposal too and for the same reasons – to educate your agent, editor, or financial backer, about your cookbook idea. Even when I wrote my cookbook for a university press, I had to write a proposal to sell my book, myself, and my idea to the review boards who accept or reject book ideas for the press.
Whether you plan to self-publish your cookbook, or shop around for an agent and/or cookbook publisher, a cookbook proposal is a very important step. In this blog post, I’ll summarize the reasons why a cookbook proposal is important, not matter your planned route to publication.
If you are an aspiring cookbook author who plans to self-publish your cookbook a proposal is still an essential and very important step in the process. And, although you might be the only person who “sees” your proposal, the act of writing one will do several things.
* A cookbook proposal will help you identify your audience for your cookbook. Everything you do in your cookbook you do for your audience.
* The proposal will help you write your cookbook concept in detail. You need to be able to describe your concept in a concrete and descriptive way.
* A proposal serves as your plan for the path to get your cookbook written, produced, and then most importantly in the hands of readers. It covers not just your topic, but your plans for the marketing and sales of your book as well.
* Because you pay for all aspects of self-publishing, a cookbook proposal can serve as a business plan for your cookbook in the event you want to seek funding for your publishing venture. You’re a publisher now, and it’s time to look at your book as your business, so the proposal is key.
If, on the other hand, you’re an aspiring cookbook author who plans to seek a traditional publisher, your cookbook proposal is equally important but for different reasons. First and foremost you need to sell an agent/editor on the idea of your cookbook. You need to get them to “buy in” to you and your idea. Therefore, your cookbook proposal will:
* Provide a thorough overview of your unforgettable cookbook concept.
* Introduce you as the perfect author for cookbook concept.
* Define how and why a publisher should take their time, and spend their money, on the publication of your book.
* Provide a snapshot of your writing style and voice.
* Give a taste of your book through a sample of your best recipes.
* Summarize why someone would want to purchase your book.
* Define the audience you bring to the publishing agreement by revealing your platform.
* Make a strong case for you and your cookbook concept that leaves the agent/editor unable to sleep at night.
All of these reasons for writing a cookbook proposal are important, whether you plan to self-publish or seek the help of an agent or traditional publisher. In my next several blog entries I plan to review all essential parts of a cookbook proposal in detail so stay tuned.