Monday, November 7, 2011

How to Write a Cover Letter for a Book Proposal

By Lanee' Blunt

A book proposal is the way to get your foot in the door in publishing.  Most book proposals include a synopsis of the book and the first three chapters. The cover letter should identify you, the reason you are sending the proposal, and your submissions that are included with the proposal.  The cover letter is the first impression that you will make. The cover letter should be no more than three paragraphs in length. The cover letter briefly announces that the proposal is attached.
Moderately easy

Things you’ll need
Word processing program
Good quality paper

Know your audience.  This will help with the tone of the cover letter if you know who you speaking too. Think of your letter as speaking directly to the editor and imagine that you are writing to that person. Let your letter be brief and to the point because your audience is a busy editor and should not have to read several pages to determine the nature of the material you are sending.

Address the cover letter to the correct editor. Make sure that the editor’s name, and publishing house is correct. Keep your letterhead simple and use a formal salutation. Start the first paragraph with a single spaced line after the salutation. The first paragraph tells the editor the purpose of the letter. State what you have sent you don’t need a lead; just identify enclosures and their purpose. Open the first sentence by coming right to the point. “I’m enclosing my book proposal for your consideration.” Next say something in the same paragraph about the purpose or reason the proposal is presented. Make sure that you double space between the first paragraph and the second one.

Start your second paragraph with biographical information. This paragraph chronicles your experience, and writes it toward your genre.  Outline your background that’s relevant to the book. Identify if you’ve done work relevant or similar and written in a clear and concise language. Write three or four sentences for each paragraph.

Write closing sentences for the final paragraph. An example of a closing: “Thank you for your attention. I look forward to hearing from you.”

Keep the cover letter brief no more than one to one and a half pages. Try to stay within the three paragraph limit because cover letters are brief and only identify you and the book proposal presented.
Attach the book proposal after the cover letter


Writing a Convincing Business Plan”; Arthur DeThomas PHD, Stephanie A Derammelaere; 2008

“How to Write Attention Grabbing Query and Cover Letters”; John Wood; 2000
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