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

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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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: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,226,457 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book may be part of the Idiot's Guide series, but you don't have to be a rookie writer to understand what a gift it is. It can be very difficult to break into publishing or to attract the interest of a great agent, so if one of the most respected agent teams in the business offers straight-to-the-point advice for just the price of a book, that's a huge win for any writer.

This book provides insight into the nuts and bolts concepts so important to creating and shopping your work, but its most valuable features may be the "Agent's Advice" nuggets sprinkled throughout the pages. They alone make the book a must-have tool for any writer, new or established. It's like having open communication with the agent. Questions are answered before you can even think to ask them. To a writer, that's pretty valuable.
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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.

Peace
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have just completed a memoir which is currently in the editorial stage. Being a first-time writer and unaware of appropriate methods to submit my manuscript to literary agents or publishers, the information and examples of query letters and book proposals have prepared me for what is required to grab their attention. In fact, I have completely changed my tactic and written a new query letter using one of their samples as a guide.

I would highly recommend this book to any new writer who is unfamiliar with the world of publishing.
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Unless you have just fallen off a turnip truck (and are starting your letter with "Dear Sir or Madam"), don't bother with this book. This is the basic of the basic and maybe it's intended this way, but I didn't find any useful information in it. And it focuses heavily on non-fiction proposals which are different than fiction queries. Also, having read several books on queries by different agents, I've discovered that every agent has their own idea on the perfect query letter. You'll be better off reading the individual agent websites and tailoring your letter to that than reading a book claiming to know how to write THE query letter. Good luck to all!
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