The “Unfair Advantage” of a Book Proposal

January 30, 2009 at 6:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment




Many authors have asked me this question recently:

“Val, what is your secret? How come you were able to land a Publishing Contract with a leading New York Publishing House on a first attempt, whereas we’ve been trying for so long and STILL there’s no contract in sight??”

I got a little tired of answering that, so I’ve decided to put my answer in writing.

To put it simply – all you need is an Unfair Advantage over the majority of other authors that submit their books to the same publishers as you do.

Now here’s where the rubber hits the road. You have to Think differently than they do!

How differently? This is how. Please don’t think that submitting your manuscript is just a “numbers game”. I also thought this way before, until I came across The Successful Proposal Template.

By the time I was done with the template, I’ve realized this important thing.

When you are submitting YOUR book to the Publisher – you can’t think wholesale. On the contrary – you must think retail!


Because, as I’ve learned from my younger days of being a sales clerk, “Retail means detail!”

Now please pay attention here – the next part is extremely important!

You have to know your publisher intimately, before you throw anything at all at them – whether it’s a question you submit through their website, an email, a phone call – anything!

Do not assume that it’s all about you. No, it’s all about them at this point!

First and foremost, try to do a very in-depth research on your publisher and answer these 3 important questions:

1. What is this publisher looking for?

2. Why would they want to engage with you, as opposed to someone else?

3. Is there an opportunity to develop a long-term relationship?

Trust me – this is exactly what they think when they are reading your proposal!

Now about the proposal itself.

You may disagree with me, but I truly believe that at this particular stage of the game (we are talking your successful manuscript submission here, folks!) the book proposal is more important than the manuscript itself!

Before you start cursing me and calling me names, think for a moment here.

If it was the other way around – why haven’t you landed on your own Publishing deal until now? Huh? A very humbling thought…

Please allow me to continue then.

The “Unfair Advantage” of having your Book Proposal done is this:

1. You can use your book proposal as a platform for your marketing campaigns

(now that you’ve already pitched your ideas in it, marketing becomes a simple “cut and paste” effort)

2. You can use your book proposal for your PR campaigns

(every time you approach the media, or when they approach you, use your book proposal to communicate your main idea to them – hey, what do you think I used in my video script? Check my videos below – most of the content came from my book proposal, of course!)

3. You can even use your book proposal as a way to formulate your ideas for your future books and other products and explain your whole strategy there, too! (Don’t worry – people won’t steal your ideas from you – they simply can’t because no one is capable of jumping into your head and becoming you! 🙂 )

This is what I did in mine – I explained to my Publisher why I wanted to put all of my topics in 3 books – and what was the Big Idea behind starting to write the trilogy in the first place! By the time they finished reading my book proposal they had practically NO questions for me, as I’ve already answered them all in my proposal.

Book Proposal = Resume

In other words – the proposal to the Publisher is the same as the resume to your prospective clients. They don’t know if they want to meet with you yet, but you need to give them all the reasons why they should.

So, if you are a young author, or if you have been struggling for awhile, please let me know if you want any help from me and I will be happy to throw some ideas at you, if you want me to.

You can contact me directly or send an email to:


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