So I think most who frequent my blog are familiar with the concept and process of a query. But for first-time visitors or non-writers, a recap: You write a letter briefly expressing the premise of your (usually) fiction book, and ask the agent you're contacting if he/she would A) like to look at your manuscript and B) consider representing you. Sounds simple, right? It's so not simple. You have to encorporate all the most crucial aspects of your story, catch their attention with a hook, stand out from all the hundreds of queries besides yours, time it so they don't read yours after eating a rotten tuna fish sandwich, and do it all in the most professional way. YIKES.
Proposals are an entirely different process and output. They're done with non-fiction books, and a proposal is an all-out presentation for the agent. A proposal includes these steps, in this order: title page, overview, the market, the competition, about the author, publicity, annotated table of contents, and sample material. Plus three or four optional inclusions, if you like. You have to know your non-fic idea backwards and forwards; you have to research whether there's a market for it, if your book fits in but also how it's different and special, and how publicity and marketing would work once it's published. Whew. And then you submit it to your chosen agent, just as you would the query.
And it's crazy, but writing my proposal was so much easier than that query I've been sending out. I'm still happy with my query, don't get me wrong, but that was such a nasty booger to get "right." The proposal, conversely, was much more cut and dry, black and white. I'd have been totally lost if it weren't for that AW thread I referenced in my last post, so I give those involved with it super-kudos.
Still, the ease of my proposal just reiterated the feeling that this is what I'm supposed to be doing. Every section seemed, at first, overwhelming. But I said, "I can do this. I'm a writer and I can handle it." And, by golly, I did! Every part flowed out of me, with a great deal of Guidance, I know. And I am so thankful for that. I feel so sure in what I'm doing with this.
And so I'm going to submit my non-fic proposal sometime today. I'll be looking it over for the last (millionth) time, and will send it off with good wishes and prayer. Think of me!
I got a rejection from my novel query yesterday (Sunday) morning at, believe it or not, 5:21 a.m. (Talk about keeping up with your slush pile!) It was very nice, and expressed that though my premise didn't excite them as much as they'd have liked, my writing showed promise. And, in a nutshell, to keep at it. So YAY! for another nice, positive rejection. That makes:
13 rejections, 16 out
1 proposal out, as of sometime today