Thursday Writing Prompt No. 79

I’ve been invited to submit a book proposal for a history textbook. It doesn’t mean that I’m going to get the contract, but it’s pretty exciting to get the offer and a big ego boost, too. I have a proposal form to follow that includes things such as an overview of the book and why I’m writing it, who the audience is and why the book would be useful to them, and some information about myself. Even though this is for a nonfiction book, it occurred to me that the same process can be applied to fiction writing.

Why not ask the same questions about a novel? Or even a short story? It doesn’t have to take the fun out of writing fiction, but if you’re working on a book or story that you want to publish, then you should have some idea of your audience. This will be really useful if you go looking for an agent, or even if you decide to self publish. How will you know where to market your work if you don’t know what market you’re aiming for?

So this week’s Thursday Writing Prompt is to write a proposal for your story or novel. The usual advice for seeking agents is to write a short letter and follow it up with more information if the agent shows interest. But the proposal could easily be adapted to a letter format once you’ve gotten the basics down on paper. Here’s your challenge: write a proposal letter that includes an overview of your novel or story, the word length, the intended audience, and a short biography.

If you have a work in progress, use this writing prompt to focus yourself on what needs to be done. If you haven’t started a novel or story, or want to start a new one, use this proposal as a guide for developing a project. Since the proposal letter should probably be a one-page letter, keep your word count to roughly 250 words. This is long enough to give an agent some idea of the project but short enough that the agent can read it in a reasonable amount of time. No one wants to read a letter that resembles an epic saga for a short story.