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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Book Proposals & Query Letters Paperback – February 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Series: The Complete Idiot's Guide
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Alpha; Original edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1615640452
  • ISBN-13: 978-1615640454
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,119,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By W. Terry Whalin on March 6, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've been in publishing more than 20 years in many different roles (author, magazine editor, co-author, acquisitions editor, literary agent and publisher). If I'm going to read a how-to book about the creation of book proposals and query letters, I want to make sure I'm learning from someone who has the authority and experience on this topic.

Marilyn Allen and Coleen O'Shea are publishing experts and this book is written with honesty and authority. It resonates with the undercurrent, "we know what we're talking about here." The pages of this book are packed with wisdom and sound counsel--whether you have just decided to write a book or whether you are writing your 31st book. Every author can learn something from reading -and re-reading this book. It deserves your careful study--then most importantly--taking action on their advice and applying it to your submissions.

Here's the problem: some publishing experts estimate there are six million proposals and manuscripts in circulation at agents and publishers. You only have seconds to make a good first impression. The authors emphasize this important need in their fourth chapter about The E-Mail Query Letter: "Some publishing professionals estimate that only 1 percent of all queries ever result in representation. Put another way: for every 100 queries an agent reads, only one author has a shot at becoming a client. Yes, that means the odds are against you--but they aren't impossible. As the adage goes, `You gotta be in it to win it.' Increase your chances of getting into that coveted 1 percent by following a few simple ground rules before you even keystroke the word `Dear.'" (Page 43-44)

The authors begin with queries but make a clear preference to writing your proposal before you write your query letter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Hodge on May 7, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Being a published, professional writer involves more than writing a book. Many aspiring writers do all the hard work of putting together what may be a terrific book but then never get it published, often because they haven't taken the extra steps necessary to get the attention of a publisher or a literary agent.

Marilyn Allen and Coleen O'Shea have written a concise and incredibly helpful guide for anyone who hopes to get his or her book published. They guide you through each step of the process of writing book proposals and query letters, giving you lots of examples of both what to do and what not to do. Being literary agents with a long history in publishing, the authors have lifetimes of experience and wisdom to pass on to you.

As with most books in the "Complete Idiot's" series, there is a treasure trove on information and helpful advice in these pages on every aspect of writing a proposal or query letter. You will learn how to research your proposal and make it as powerful as possible, to craft a query letter designed to get the full attention of an agent or editor. You'll also learn about how best to market both your book idea and yourself as its author, to create a platform that will help boost your chances of landing a book contract, whether your work be fiction or non-fiction.

Best yet, the authors' advice is both practical and encouraging. Clearly both Allen and O'Shea have a deep love of the publishing business and want to help others have the chance to share their literary talents with the world. If you're serious about getting your writing published, you should definitely take all the advice they offer in this book to heart.

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Format: Paperback
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you need this book. So many people think writing non-fiction is just about having a great idea, or they finish their fiction masterpiece and then have no idea what to do with it. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Book Proposals and Query Letters takes you through the process of getting published one step at a time. Why would you guess at how to approach an agent or publisher with your killer idea? Isn't it worth a bit of effort to make sure your fiction book is actually ready to be sent out, that there is a viable market for your non-fiction book idea, and learn how to get your project noticed by the right people?

Marilyn Allen and Coleen O'Shea know what they're talking about. Afterall, they're on the receiving end of a lot of query letters and book proposals. They are literary agents (representing fiction and non-fiction authors), and both have extensive publishing backgrounds as well. They know what will set an author or book idea apart from the "slush pile" and they're showing you how to do it.

It's not just about having a good idea or a well-written book, you have to learn how to present it to agents and publishers who will only give it a glance. You also need to know how to present yourself as the author and how to convince the publisher that your book will sell thousands of copies. Think you can do that on your own?

The publishing industry is tough. Take every opportunity to make your projects stand out every step of the way. This book will help you do that. I highly recommend it as a worthwhile investment for any aspiring author (and I've been published four times).
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