Proposal Development for Fiction, Non-Fiction and memoir


Writers of memoir and non-fiction books will need a book proposal if they intend to submit their work to literary agencies. A proposal includes a summary/overview of the work, a detailed table of contents, an audience analysis, a competitive title analysis, a marketing plan, and an author bio. Your proposal needs to knock the socks off everyone who reads it. Writing one requires you to start thinking like an entrepreneur with a product -- a transition that makes some writers uncomfortable. Fear not! I'll help you through every stage of it.

"Thank you for all your help. You really are both my personal champion and hard-truth teller. I appreciate both immeasurably." -- Sam Polk, author of  Gatsby Interrupted, coming from Scribner in 2015.



Who is this package for?

  • Writers of memoir and non-fiction books who are ready to start pitching to agent—which is to say that they are seeking a traditional publishing deal and have either a finished, polished manuscript OR (for certain types of books) two sample, polished chapters.
  • Note that fiction writers do not need to create a pitch package, although it can be enormously helpful. 

What services does it include?

  • Guidance through every element of the proposal. I'll talk you through each element, and respond to your drafts with detailed, line by line feedback, and instructions for how to improve it until it's perfect. I'll guide you to craft a slate of competitive titles  that help highlight your book's strengths, and will research title ideas as needed. I'll guide you to identify marketing opportunities for getting your book out into the world, and will research specific ideas, as needed. What this means is that I will help you brainstorm the best way for you to connect with readers—a key element agents and publishers are looking for in proposals.
  • Sample proposals that worked.  You will have access to actual proposals that my clients have used to successfully land agents and sell books.


RESULTS. Recent client successes include books sold to Atria (Simon & Schuster), Hazeldon, Ten Speed Press, Norton, the University of Florida Press; a Silver Award winner in the Independent Publishing Awards; and representation secured by top New York literary agents.  Click HERE to see the latest success stories, and to read client testimonials.

What are the benefits?

  • One-one-one attention from someone who understands how a book gets sold, how a book becomes a product, and how an author makes him or herself attractive to a publisher. When you hire me to help you with your proposal, I am out in the world thinking about your book as much as you are -- thinking about how it might sell, where it might sell and who might want to buy it.
  • Excellent examples for inspiration and guidance. 
  • A professional proposal that is ready to pitch, and the confidence to pitch it.

Includes query letter development

  • A query letter. A good query letter is critically important—and very difficult to write. You need a hook, a very brief but catchy description of your book, a reason why the agent you're pitching should pay attention, and a bio that says something about why you're the best person to write the book you wrote. I'll work with you for as many drafts as it takes to get it right, and for personalized iterations to up to 20 agents
  • A list of 20 suitable agents.  I'll provide you with a list of 20 agents that I have hand selected for your particular  project. You will do some of your own research to add names to the mix, and I will research the names you provide. Together we'll built a list of agents who represent the kind of work you write, who are taking submissions, and who you feel some kind of affinity for.
  • Guidance on who to pitch when, and how.  I will help you decide how many queries to send, in what order, and whether or not to offer an exclusive look to any one agent.


NOTE: I normally book three or four months out for one-on-one coaching. Please email me to get on my waiting list. I would also suggest signing up for my Friday newsletter to get to know me and my philosophies in advance of our working together.