Take your readers on a heroine's journey

YOUR BOOK PROPOSAL

Develop and polish a 50-80+ page proposal to send to agents and publishers.

The book proposal is an art form unto itself. It asks you to not to tell your story, but to sell it in a succinct way. It's likely this will require a different skill-set from the one you're used to, and it's the primary reason why professional guidance can help.

I'll guide you through the purpose of each section of a book proposal, and help you write yours in detail and to a professional standard, with feedback, accountability, and the emotional support you need to carry you through any difficulties or doubt.

* Note: This service works best for those who have completed my previous program, Your Story Spine.

Have you been trying to write your book proposal?

Have you found the process difficult, dispiriting or confusing?

Do you feel you don't really know what you're doing... at the very moment it matters most, because the future of your book hangs in the balance?

While Your Story Spine is a tool for outlining your book for your internal reference, Your Book Proposal is designed for external purposes - as a sales tool. 

A book proposal can be difficult to put together if you don't understand how the industry works, or what exactly is being sought. This is a sales document rather than a creative exercise, and it might require a writing mindset that's different to the one you're used to. 

If you're struggling with your proposal - or even the idea of one - this program will keep you on trackYou will prepare every section necessary for a polished and professional book proposal that you feel proud to pitch, with guidance at every step along the way. 

Why you need a book proposal

A book proposal is the 50-80+ page package of information you send to a literary agent or publisher that outlines the vision for your book, makes an argument for why it should exist, and outlines how it might take effect - much like a business plan.

You need a proposal if you want to take your book through a traditional publishing route. It's a necessary part of non-fiction publishing. Generally, you aren't required to have written a whole non-fiction manuscript before pitching to publishers or agents: you prepare an in-depth proposal instead.

Why? Because a proposal is faster to read than a full manuscript, while giving an impression of the whole book; and agents or publishers often want to help shape the contents and structure of your book before it's fully written.

The quality of your proposal determines whether your non-fiction book is signed up. If your proposal fails to meet industry requirements, it will be quickly discarded.

Your proposal can be harder to write than the book itself

Writing a book proposal is a big undertaking. It's rigorous and challenging.

You must demonstrate that you are professional enough in your attitude to do the legwork required to write a good proposal, and that you're capable of delivering a high-quality manuscript via sample chapters.

The proposal shows that you're knowledgeable about your topic by providing the whole shape of the book, your plan for its execution, and its place in the world.

It does not make vague promises. It's not a sketch. You need to be able to summarise your book in a way that's beautifully written and convincing, with a detailed summary of each chapter and a polished sample of the writing style and quality.

Your proposal has to communicate your book's value

In the proposal you have to deeply understand - and demonstrate - what you're putting into the marketplace. That is, the cultural context you're speaking to. Why your viewpoint matters. How your book differs from those already on the shelves, especially if well-known authors are writing on the same subject. How you will put energy into the marketing of your project. 

By communicating your book's value in the proposal, you will instill faith in agents and publishers that they should invest time and resources into it (and you). Publishing is, after all, a business, and any financial risk needs to be mitigated.

Your proposal might end up getting more attention from an agent or publisher than your finished manuscript does - it's that important!

How this program will guide you

  • You'll learn how to present your proposal in the way publishers and agents want to see it: carefully honed and comprehensively detailed in all the right places.
  • You'll come to understand the role and purpose of your book in a far deeper way: how it will contribute value, in specific terms, to the cultural conversation on this subject. 
  • You'll identify your ideal readers, as well as the ways you intend to pro-actively connect with them. This will help you find the right readership for the duration of your book's life, and strengthen your case about why this book should exist.
  • You will learn to think about your project in terms of both creative vision and business pragmatics.
  • You'lldraw up a list of marketing actions you intend to take. These will be well thought through, specific and deliverable; and we'll brainstorm together to make these as creative and interesting as possible. 
  • By pinning down the elements of your book with careful detail, any holes in your argument will be flushed out. If you aren't ready to pitch your book yet, this will become evident - and that's a good thing. You can re-assess, and/or give your project more time if needed, before it's too late.
  • You'll see your book from angles you hadn't considered before. These valuable new perspectives will deepen your argument, and enhance the uniqueness of your project in the marketplace.
  • All this will help agents and publishers to envisage your book in the marketplace - and this gives them the confidence they need to invest in you. 

Your proposal must follow a set of industry standards

Although requirements vary between publishers and agents, there are components that are universally sought. 

If you aren't accustomed to them, these industry requirements can feel overly corporate, 'salesy' or marketing oriented. You might feel you're being asked to compromise your voice or intellectual/artistic integrity. 

These feelings can be alleviated if you learn to see this as a vital way of sharing the information that's close to your heart. Focusing on 'marketing as education' can re-frame your doubts

This program ensures that you put the 8 most essential and relevant parts of your proposal in place. You're then beautifully prepared for any agent or publisher scenario that follows, having prepared all the sections you need as well we dispelled any fears or hesitation along the way.

Proposal sections we'll work on:

  • Overview
  • Author bio & photo
  • Manuscript specifications
  • Audience analysis
  • Comparable titles
  • Chapter summary
  • Marketing plan
  • Polished chapters x 2

Writing a proposal is intensive and demanding

Having one-to-one support tailored to your needs will pull you through the sections that are difficult to do. 

Momentum and enthusiasm are hard to keep up on your own, particularly if you get stuck. 

Many writers falter when the idea for a book comes face to face with the realities of the marketplace. Did you know that 97% of people who start writing a book don't finish...?

By the end of this program:
  • You'll have a crystal-clear, detailed vision of your book, having solved any major problems with messaging, structure or intended readership ahead of the writing of the full manuscript.
  • Your belief in the value of your project will be at an all-time high, because of the hard work and research that goes into this process.
  • You'll be in a strong position to send out query letters to literary agents and/or publishers, knowing that you have an accomplished proposal at the ready if interest is shown.
  • You'll have enhanced your book's chances of success in the real world by analysing its place within the bookselling eco-system.
  • You'll have a marketing plan in place for your book (necessary these days, even if going through a traditional publishing route.) Note: the marketing plan for your book may well turn out to boost, even up-level, your entire educational platform.
  • You'll be able to stand behind your ideas in a way that's grounded, compelling, nuanced, intelligent, and backed up.
  • You'll have finely honed the wording required to describe, pitch and sell your book - and this can be used in multiple other contexts too, such as on your website, in articles, podcasts or in media interviews.
  • You'll be well prepared, and won't self-sabotage with an amateurish, ill thought-out, hasty or incomplete proposal. After all, you only get one shot at submitting to each agent or publisher.
This program does not promise that:
  • Your book will be signed up by a literary agent or publisher on the strength of your proposal. Nobody can promise that. There are too many variables at play, such as unexpected global events, industry trends, other books coming out on a similar theme, luck, timing, etc
  • You will go on to publish a best-seller. Again, that's impossible for anyone to predict.
  • By writing this proposal, you are guaranteed to make money. That is not the case. However, by going through this process it's possible you will not only polish your book proposal but also your business, because these pieces are interlinked. It's likely your messaging and communications will be better focused and honed, and your confidence in your voice will increase.

Catriona’s book coaching is forthright, yet gentle; astute, yet friendly; delivered remotely, yet intimate. She is flexible, kind, clever, generous and the most incredible listener and close reader.

JANE HARDJONO 

The practicalities

1

SCHEDULE:

When you sign up, we'll schedule your submission deadlines and 60-minute coaching calls. (If you have a menstrual cycle and want to schedule your work around it, we can do that.)


If a lot of your thinking is already behind you, you might complete your proposal in as little as 3 months, but that would have to be immersive and intensive. 4-6 months is more realistic, depending on how fast you work.


You can advance at the pace that works best for you. 

2

SUBMISSION DEADLINES:

At each submission deadline, you'll send your working document to me and I'll return it with editorial feedback using Microsoft Word. (I provide my feedback using 'track changes'. You must have a working knowledge of this.)


I also offer email support between calls (Mon-Fri), to guide you with any issues that arise along the way. 

3

COACHING CALLS:

We'll discuss your progress and my feedback notes on each 60-minute coaching call, addressing any questions you may have, brainstorming where needed, and planning your next steps.


YOUR BOOK PROPOSAL
Monthly Payment Options

Choose the pace that works best for you.

OPTION 1

$

750 USD/mth

  • 8 PART PDF GUIDE
  • 4 x SUBMISSION DEADLINES
  • 4 x  EDITORIAL FEEDBACK 
  • 2 X COACHING CALLS
  • EMAIL SUPPORT (M-F)   
  • 3 month minimum 
OPTION 2

$

450 USD/mth

  • 8 PART PDF GUIDE
  • 2 x SUBMISSION DEADLINES
  • 2 x EDITORIAL FEEDBACK
  • 1 X COACHING CALL
  • EMAIL SUPPORT (M-F)
  • 3 month minimum

How This Works

  • Editorial notes include a detailed, big-picture feedback letter on each round, plus in-line comments inside your submitted document. 
  • My notes are rigorous and detailed on each round. I put time, energy and deep thinking into all my editorial feedback.
  • Coaching calls are for 60 mins each, and are dedicated to the issues you are finding most pressing.
  • Email support is for urgent questions that arise between our calls, and for an extra boost of emotional support when needed.
  • When you finish the work on Your Story Spine, you can move seamlessly into my next offering if desired: Your Book Proposal.
  • 30 days notice is required when you wish to conclude this service, any time after your initial 3 month commitment.
  • Payment: I will send you a monthly invoice. Payment is via Paypal in USD, with a credit or debit card, Paypal or Paypal credit.

Would you like to apply? 

If yes, please click the button below. It will take you through to a contact form to fill out.

FAQ

WHAT COMMUNICATION TOOLS DO YOU USE?

For edits and written feedback, we'll use Microsoft Word's 'track changes' function, so it's important you are familiar with this.

For coaching calls, we will use Google Meet, which requires no subscription at your end. Video recordings and/or written transcripts can be made available if desired.

DO YOU PROVIDE A WRITTEN AGREEMENT?

Yes. When we agree to work together, I will provide you with my terms of service and a book coaching agreement, so that you can review these and ask any further questions before signing.

I'll also provide an invoice for your tax records.

CAN I BE ASSURED OF CONFIDENTIALITY?

All communication and materials are treated as confidential, unless your permission to share with others is explicitly granted. This is stated in my terms of service.

WHAT IF I DON'T FINISH WITHIN 6 MONTHS?

We will strive to have you on track from the moment you sign up, so that the 6-month container allows you enough time. I will check in with you regularly about your pace and progress.

If this timeline doesn't work for you and your goals, we can discuss an alternative.

If you don't finish your polished proposal within the designated number of editorial rounds and coaching calls, and you would like to continue, we can move onto a monthly retainer (at a per-month rate.)

DO YOU OFFER REFUNDS?

My services are non-refundable, because book coaching involves deep commitment from both sides. I plan my schedule around our deadlines in advance, turning away new clients accordingly.

If you aren't sure whether this is the right step for you to take - financially or otherwise - I request that you spend some time reading this website, and particularly this page

Once you are more familiar with me and my approach, it should become clear whether or not you wish to make the investment.

It's also really important that you're sure you have the time to give to our work together.

WHAT IF I MISS A SCHEDULED CALL?

You must re-schedule your call at least 24 hours in advance, unless a true emergency comes up. I will be holding this time-slot for you and am counting on your reliability and commitment. Late cancellations won't be rescheduled or refunded.

If I need to cancel our call with less than 24 hours notice, I will notify you as soon as possible, and will add an extra 30 mins onto our rescheduled call at no charge.

How to take your readers on a heroine's journey

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