On April 2, 2013, in Paris, Texas, I went out into cyberspace to locate someone's winning proposal and came back with nothing. Well, almost. I did find an Angela Hoy's compilation entitled Book Proposals That Worked! Real Book Proposals That Landed $10K -$100K Publishing Contracts.
I respect and admire Angela Hoy, but I passed on the download. Do I recommend Proposals That Worked? Yes. I do. You will not find material like Angela's compilation anywhere else. Authors and publishers do not post their synopsis' on the Internet , so her book is invaluable.
Amazon offers the print edition and you might consider visiting them.
My portfolio contains 22 titles (none of the self-published - not one) and some of her material does not fit my current genre. I plan to continue searching.
(I missed out on the Lena Dunham's proposal at Gawker. Her attorneys succeeded in getting the New York gossip blog to remove the content from their site.)
I decided to share a submission I wrote. Indirectly, I received a publishing deal as a result of what you may download. I need to explain a little more before you click on the link below. It's important you read this.
I delivered the document - Proposal for a Linux book for the "Missing Manual Series", did not win a contract. I submitted the proposal through the normal channels. The people in the submission department did not know me. Funny, I was one of the publisher's authors.
The same year, O'Reilly released Exploring the JDS Linux Desktop, and the staff liked me. I thought, well, let's do another one. Nothing happened, so I called the editor.
The company had no interest in the text I proposed. I did receive an email asking me to write something else. I accepted the request and Linux System Administration came into existence and became an international bestseller. You can find it in English, Croatian, Turkish, Chinese, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Russian and others. Try Amazon if you're interested.
Here's how I wrote the proposal:
Hi, I would cover the general topics associated with Linux and Unix administration.
The reply: OK. Let's get started. Please send me an outline.
That email exchange approximates every deal I've made since 1985. The first one, How to Read, Analyze and Select Private Real Estate Offerings, published by Longman, is still available. Right now, you can buy a new copy for $198.06 on Amazon.
Back in 1985, we sent queries. I put five in the mail and each publisher responded. Longman got the deal.
Selling my first book taught me important things about the industry. When a publisher has a need, they will ask an Acquisition Editor to find a property. The AE looks for someone with subject matter experience and requests an outline and a resume.
I started writing short stories in junior high school and continued until I entered college. If I kept the rejection slips back then, I could paper a wall. In 1970, I met an independent film producer and told him I was writing a novel. He read a few pages, asked me to write a screenplay. I worked without a written agreement and he paid me like he said he would. We agreed my name wouldn't go on the cover, but I received a nice advance and a bonus when I finished.
In April, I'm meeting with two literary agents to make a pitch. I don't know them and they might view me as a once dimensional technician. I doubt an email secures a contract in this instance. Wish me luck.
You can download here.