COVER SHEET: The title of your book, your name, and all of your contact information. Seems simple, but you'd be surprised by how many aspiring authors fail to include contact information.
PAGE TWO: Include the date, your book title and name, and the hook (elevator pitch) that will keep a busy editor reading. Reveal the antagonist and the antagonist’s goal, the protagonist, the main conflict, and the resolution. The ideal elevator pitch should be about 25 words, but this is not a hard-and-fast rule. The shorter, the better. Also include your manuscript’s word count, the sales category (romantic suspense, contemporary women, historical romance, fantasy, etc.), and the audience (YA, adult women). If you have room on page two, write a short two- or three-paragraph summary that expands on your elevator pitch, or place it on page three.
MARKETING: Today, an author is responsible for much of the marketing of his or her book. List how you plan to market your novel after publication. Are you a seasoned speaker? Do you blog or regularly post on social networking sites? Are you willing to set up and participate in blog tours or approach book stores or other venues for book signings? Notice how other authors market their books. A clever marketing strategy will catch an editor's attention.
BIO: An editor will want to know if you're a debut author and that you have finished and polished your manuscript. Include writing credits from magazines, newspapers, or blogs. List any organizations to which you belong such as ACFW.
COMPETITION: List authors and novels that would be comparable to your book.
SYNOPSIS: A one-page synopsis (no more than a page and a half) is an essential part of the proposal. Start with a paragraph about your antagonist, followed by a paragraph about her goal, and then give the editor a paragraph each for the antagonist, the conflict, and the resolution.
SAMPLE CHAPTERS: Most editors require that you attach the first three chapters. Many new authors will write and rewrite those sample chapters without subjecting the rest of the manuscript to the same vigorous self-editing. After you find an agent to represent you, he or she will require that your proposal be written to a specific set of guidelines.
For those of you who plan to attend the ACFW conference in Indianapolis, I hope this post has been helpful and wish you all the best in marketing your manuscript to an agent or editor.
Please let me know how today’s blog has helped you. This becomes a two-way conversation when you post a comment. Often I jump back on the blog during the day and will answer your questions or respond to your comments. I have both published and unpublished authors who read The Roving Editor, and we’d love to hear from you so that we can learn from your experience. Let’s talk!