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Book Proposals That Sell: 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success

Book Proposals That Sell: 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success

4.9 19
by W. Terry Whalin
Writing a book? If you are like most people, you start with a blank page and write your entire manuscript. According to author and acquisitions editor Terry Whalin, your approach is backwards. About 80 to 90% of nonfiction books are sold from a book proposal. This mysterious document called a proposal contains many elements that will never appear in your


Writing a book? If you are like most people, you start with a blank page and write your entire manuscript. According to author and acquisitions editor Terry Whalin, your approach is backwards. About 80 to 90% of nonfiction books are sold from a book proposal. This mysterious document called a proposal contains many elements that will never appear in your manuscript-yet these details are critical to publishing executives who make the decision about publishing or rejecting your project.

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ACW Press
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What People are Saying About This

Kelly Gallagher
"As a former publisher, the truth and insider information from Book Proposals That Sell resonates with my own publishing experiences. Terry Whalin helps would-be authors or experienced writers walk through the critical questions from any acquisitions editor. If you answer these questions, it will help you gain serious consideration for your book idea."
Vice President, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association
Jeanette Thomason
"With practical know-how and tons of proven tips, this book is like that wise friend who's been in the business, knows what works and why. Step-by-step, Terry Whalin guides and inspires both beginners and even experienced writers to doing better, successful, meaningful work."
acquisition editor, Revell Books
Cecil Murphey
"Many beginning book writers complain that it's harder to write the proposal than the book itself. Until they know how, that's probably true. Terry Whalin knows the secrets of good book proposals. As a writer, he's composed many book proposals; as an editor, he's read hundreds of them."
writer, co-writer, or ghostwriter of more than 100 books including Committed But Flawed and 90 Minutes in Heaven
Claudia Cross
"As an agent, I've read Terry's nonfiction proposals and have always been impressed. He knows how to put together a winning presentation to capture a potential editor's attention and get a decision. In Book Proposals That Sell, Terry combines his compassion for writers with his considerable publishing experience to create a must-have book for anyone preparing a nonfiction proposal."
Literary Agent, Sterling Lord Literistic, New York City
Les Stobbe
"A well-written book proposal gains attention, piques interest, and provides the information an editor--and later the publicity department--needs to convince not only his editorial staff but the whole publishing team. Terry Whalin provides the know-how to add sales appeal to any book proposal."
Literary Agent, Editor-in-Chief, Christian Writer's Guild

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Book Proposals That Sell: 21 Secrets to Speed Your Success 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
daws1996 More than 1 year ago
When an Agency that I follow recommended this book, I picked it up, and I'm so glad I did. It was written in a simple, easy-to-read style that make getting through it a breeze, and short chapters that eliminate the biggest headaches when going back to find something later. To answer some of the criticisms posted on other reviews sites: Yes, much of this advice is posted on the internet and you can find it for free, but I like the convenience and not having to search for what those things, print them out and keep them somehow or save the link and hope I remember to go back later and look for it. It's up to each person to weigh the cost of the book versus the time, research, and storage methods for the same information. Yes, some of the advice is simple. However, if you've picked up very many books by self publishers, apparently the advice isn't common sense. (Please note, I am not bashing self published authors here. I have read several that I enjoyed quite a lot. I am simply agreeing with Mr. Whalin that not everyone understands the basics like spell-checkers are not going to find every spelling error in a manuscript.) As some reviewers have pointed out, the book uses examples from publishers and authors that are Christian. While I don't understand the difference that makes in the mechanics of building a book proposal, I can understand that some won't like this. Ultimately, I understood that Mr. Whalin was pulling from his experience, which seems to be in the Christian publishing world. Perhaps the book is not as grammatically correct as some would like, but I prefer it. It felt more like a conversation than a lecture, which encouraged me to keep reading. Other books I've tried on this subject came across very different, and while I forced my way through them, it was a chore. This book was easy, which to me, makes it more valuable. It is not clear from the description of the book that it is primarily for non-fiction proposals. That is not to say that fiction writers will not find any value in the book, but you need to be prepared to find another resource that is specific to fiction genres. Overall, I found great value in this book and it was well worth the money I paid for it. I can see it as a resource that I refer to multiple times as I build my next few proposals.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an editor and publication consultant, Terry Whalin's book is one I recommend to authors who are in the submission process and don't know why they aren't meeting with offers from agents and publishers. As with all endeavors, there are keys to success that make the process easier and Whalen's 21 tips for selling your manuscript are spot on. Required reading for all writers!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Book Proposals That Sell is a small book packed with beneficial information for the non-fiction, and to a smaller extent, fiction writer. Written with an insider's knowledge, this book is broken down into twenty-one easy to understand secrets that will advance the reader/writer past any competition and closer to the goal of publication. Concepts, such as writing a proposal, that may intimidate the new writer or frustrate a more experienced writer are explained in a clear and concise manner. This book leads an author secret by secret from an idea to a book with publishing possibilities. This is a book that goes on my keeper shelf.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Book Proposals That Sell is a must-have, especially for beginner writers or writers new to the book proposal process. It delivers on the promise in its title by helping readers tap into 21 secrets that make proposal writing simpler, and quicker. Following Whalin¿s advise assures that each proposal crafted will be well-written and professional.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What an eye-opener this book is! Terry Whalin has been both a writer and editor for many years, and he shares information about the publishing business that only an insider can know. Number One is that editors prefer a well-written proposal over a completed manuscript. (Surprised? I was!) Brilliant writing alone won't get you a contract. Editors don't have time to read voluminous manuscripts, so they rely on well-crafted proposals. And they receive thousands of proposals each year. You need a proposal that will stand out from all the others, one that says, 'Read me. Don't put me in the rejection pile.' BOOK PROPOSALS THAT SELL gives step-by-step instructions on how to write a proposal and explains the 'WHY' of each individual step. In addition, a wonderful sample proposal is included so you can actually SEE what each page should look like. This book is a MUST READ for every writer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you write, you need this book! Terry Whalin shares insider secrets to publishing success in Book Proposals That Sell. Clearly written and to the point, Whalin's book shows how the publishing business works, pitfalls to avoid, and exactly how to succeed in getting your non-fiction book published. The first time you read it, you'll be inspired. The second time you read it, you'll be driven. You will reach for it again and again as you write that perfect, powerful proposal. If you want to get published, this book is the place to start.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Terry¿s book is like a stuffed refrigerator. Every shelf brims with food for thought that will energize you and grow you as a writer. If you¿re new to the book publishing world, or even if you¿ve had a few published, invest in this book for the sake of your career. Terry plainly and thoroughly lets you in on the secrets of what makes a book proposal competitive and hard to turn down. As you read the book, chew on each of his 21 ¿secrets¿ for success. Ask yourself how you can make each true of your book. Don¿t pass over the materials in his appendix, particularly the example book proposal and web sites referenced through his own excellent writer-help e-zine.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For writers trying to navigate the jungles of the publishing industry, Terry Whalin emerges as a trustworthy guide. Drawing on knowledge gleaned from years of work as a successful writer and editor, Terry shares the keys to achieving the first requirement to publication: a winning book proposal. Written in a manner that is easy even for a beginner to understand, this is a valuable tool writers will want to keep at their desks for frequent reference. I have been struggling with writing a book proposal for some time. BOOK PROPOSALS THAT SELL provided insight into how the publishing world works, answered many of my questions, and gave me the confidence that I can do this!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although the primary purpose of Book Proposal that $ell, 21 Secrets to Speed your SUCCESS is instructing the writer on how to construct a dynamic non-fiction proposal, the information in this book can be used to develop fiction proposals as well. Mr. Whalen shares his knowledge from his experience as an editor. His no-nonsense manner makes for easy to understand instructions and he tells exactly what editors need from the writer. Highly recommend this book as your first choice if looking to sell your non-fiction book and as an adjunct to develop a proposal for fiction manuscripts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Book Proposals that $ell is eye opening to the magnitude and minutiae that every manuscript goes through in the acquisition process. Terry¿s book not only provides us with valuable detail of how to judge our own manuscripts to ensure they do not land in the rejection pile, his book does something else just as important. Within these pages we vicariously absorb the walls, settings, processes, and committees through a manuscript¿s entire travel in its search for acceptance of publication. The process is made open and understandable so that as writers, we no longer have to feel that our manuscripts are in some Twilight Zone process of selection. Terry makes us feel like we are traveling with our books throughout the review process. Book Proposals that $ell deftly describes the inner workings relating to how and why a manuscript is chosen--or not. By understanding more about this process, it refreshes the emotions of writers in scrutinizing our manuscripts before so glibly shipping them off into an unknown land. Terry has the experience in the book industry that writers need to listen to. The details he covers in writing a book proposal are so concrete that, if followed to the letter, there is no reason any non-fiction book writer should ever receive a rejection slip again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm thrilled to have this book, one that will remain in my top referral books. Thank you, Terry for writing an understandable book, one that maps out a trail for determined writers. Priceless. Terry Whalin¿s, ¿Book Proposals That Sell,¿ is an outstanding resource for those who cringe at the thought of assembling a proper proposal. In the book, he conveys a powerhouse of Twenty-one Secrets of Success, a tremendous gift to the writing world. Follow a clear, precise example and you¿re on the way to a polished book proposal. Of all the handbooks I¿ve read, this one by far exceeds my expectations. From learning to envision your own work, maintaining publisher and editor relationships, to getting your foot in an agent¿s door, the handbook leaves nothing to the imagination. Submitting a winning proposal offers a better chance at acceptance. Mr. Whalin shares years of first-hand knowledge from a publisher¿s viewpoint. I highly recommend ¿Book Proposals That Sell.¿ If you¿re a dedicated writer, this is one book you¿ll treasure.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a must for any writer that's serious about getting their proposal read...and bought. You can use this book to help you create a dynamic proposal from scratch or go through an existing proposal to see where you might have gone wrong. Either way, Terry Whalin's 21 secrets are full of valuable information that no writer should go without. I've looked at a lot of proposal books and this one simply tops them all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If there is one thing that seems to stump writers, it is putting their book ideas into a proposal format that will make editors eager to see more of their writing. Terry Whalin's previous position as acquisitions editor for a major publishing house plus his ongoing writing experience give him a unique vantage point in the publishing industry. In BOOK PROPOSALS THAT SELL, Terry draws from his experiences on both sides of the editorial desk to share successful methods for coming up with great book ideas and then for writing proposals that will spark an editor's interest. BOOK PROPOSALS THAT SELL is a must-buy for any writer who is serious about getting their work published.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is chock full of practical tips and ideas for getting a non-fiction book proposal off the ground and accepted for publication. The reader learns everything from how to make a pitch to an editor, to how to organize a spellbinding sample chapter, create a dynamic marketing plan, get endorsements from well-known experts and more. Whalin knows how to spell out practical steps for getting published with specific detail that will enable the reader to carry through to success. He even includes a sample of a nonfiction book proposal that garnered a six figure advance from a publisher. Helpful appendices refer the reader to other books or websites on the subject. This is a must-have book for writers!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Book Proposals that Sell' is a gift from talented author/editor W. Terry Whalin to all hopeful non-fiction writers. Whalin knows that the best path to a non-fiction book contract is to submit a top-notch book proposal to the publishers. He combines step by step instructions for creating that proposal with a unique insider look at the publishing industry. He even shares an actual example of a book proposlal that earned a six-figure advance! These are the nuts and bolts, folks. Worth every penny!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This author writes with insider knowledge of publishing and reminds authors publishing is a business. W. Terry Whalin, teacher, author of more than 60 nonfiction books, and the current fiction acquisitions editor for Howard Publishing Company, writes from the dual perspective of author and editor. He humanizes editors and reveals they have similar foibles as writers themselves. He teaches by example and invokes the golden rule: treat editors, as you would like to be treated. He uses personal anecdotes to illustrate. Editors may change publishing houses, but they have long memories for rude behavior, he writes. The book reveals 21 blockbuster secrets in 21 short, well-formatted chapters. Chapter headings target common mistakes writers make, including how to avoid them. An index provides easy reference. An actual book proposal that garnered a six-figure advance is also included. Seven appendixes cover recommended books, a proposal checklist, agent list, Web site shortcuts and twelve maxims for writers. Although targeted toward nonfiction, many of Whalin¿s ideas and examples are excellent advice for any genre¿ book proposal. This is a ¿must have¿ reference for any writer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Terry Whalin is on the inside ¿inside the editor¿s office where manuscripts pile high and inside the writer¿s mind as he wonders how to propel an idea into print. In Book Proposals That $ell ¿21 Secrets to Speed Your Success, Terry Whalin offers readers the benefit of his editing and writing expertise by unveiling the elements of nonfiction book proposals. Initially, Whalin takes us into the everyday life of an editor; he cautions writers to be patient and study what it takes to get a manuscript through a publishing house. In the next section Terry unfolds the 21 secrets to writing a well-crafted book proposal. He moves us through the stages of a proposal as though we are chatting over coffee-- do you know your topic, audience, abilities, and competition? While we mull over those questions, Terry cuts in with powerful statistics-- if ¿nine out of ten books are sold from a nonfiction book proposal,¿ then why not take the time? Personal illustrations drive home the concepts of layout, submissions, and marketing. Terry Whalin tops off the conversation by sharing an actual sample proposal that grabbed a six figure advance. He never minimizes the work involved yet encourages us with what can happen if we are willing to follow the process. For those who need more, he includes an appendix packed with resources. I read the book in one sitting but know I will return to it again and again for solid referencing. Book Proposals That $ell is a must for writers who want to learn from the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After publishing eight works of fiction, I am working on my first non-fiction book, so Terry Whalin¿s handbook has arrived right on time for me. I am so pleased I haven¿t submitted my book proposal to a publisher based on the tips I¿d gleaned from other sources¿Terry¿s book spells out exactly what I need to do to grab an editor¿s attention. I already knew that publishers contract writers of non-fiction based on their proposal, as opposed to a full manuscript. Terry expands on this fact and not only explains why, but enlightens the reader on the daily activities of the average editor. He then provides twenty-one tips for preparing a proposal that will sell. Some are pieces of advice which at first seem like common sense, ¿Always take the attitude of a learner,¿ but Terry takes it a step further. He provides real-life examples of how this statement relates to, and can help, the writer. Other tips gear the writer toward making a superb presentation¿telling why he or she should write that book. How to make sure the writer gets a response on his proposal. Finally, Terry provides a sample book proposal, one which did result in a sale. I intend to use Terry's plan and highly recommend this handbook to any writer who wishes to sell their non-fiction manuscript.