How to propose

Did you know RAD Writing accepts book proposals?

It’s true. If your book isn’t finished yet, or even if you just have an idea for a book but haven’t really gotten deep into it, we’ll accept a proposal from you as a submission. We’ll read through the information you’ve given us and decide if we want to contract you to complete it.

But there’s a lot more that goes into writing a book proposal than you might’ve thought. Here, I’ve compiled a short list of what I, as RAD Writing’s senior editor, am looking for when it comes to proposals, using some examples from Rani Divine's proposal (because yes, the Druid Novels started as a proposal).


1.      Tell us about your book

I don’t want just a summary. I’m looking for a rich synopsis as a sample of how well you’re able to condense your work. If you can shorten your entire book into less than five hundred words and still have me utterly intrigued, you’re a step ahead of many writers. I want to know that you’re able to be concise when you need to be – because readers don’t want a giant spiel from you when they’re looking at your book.


2.      Information about the narrative

Tell us what POV your book is in, a little bit about the flow, and anything you think might be useful for us to know. Let us know what questions about the characters will be answered throughout the story, and tell us anything that might make things confusing for any readers. For example, in this section of a book proposal, Rani Divine included information about the Dewin, the Vartes, and the state of humanity, for her Druid Novels. Giving us this much detail about your work will give us a better idea of how connected you are to your book and how well you know the story yourself.


3.      Character biographies

If you haven’t gotten very far into the work yet, don’t worry. This doesn’t have to be all-inclusive. But we do want to know who your primary and secondary characters are, as best you can deliver. We’re looking to see how well you like your characters, if these are characters we think readers will get easily attached to, or if they might be more annoying than anything else. And don’t worry, every book needs both character types. Be sure to note whether each character is primary or secondary, and let us know a little bit of what they look like as well as what they do and what role they play.


4.      Marketing analysis

What books or films in popular culture today is your book similar to? Who is your target market? What genre does it best fit into? What should readers hope to gain by reading your book? What will you do to market the book if it’s chosen for publication? How long will it take you to finish writing it? Tell us anything that you think we should know in this area. Trust me, the more the merrier. If we really see that you know what you’re doing when it comes to marketing, you’re head and shoulders above your competition.


5.      Chapter summaries

Also known as an outline, if you haven’t gotten far in yet. We want to know exactly what happens in your book and what’s going to become of everyone and everything, to the best of your ability. We understand that you haven’t finished it yet, but if you’re sending us a proposal then you must have an idea of how it’s going to end, right? So tell us. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to mention how many words you estimate your final manuscript to be. If you haven’t given us a number and we sign you, we’ll have to give you a word count to stick to.


6.      Author biography

This should include any pertinent information about you, the author. Tell us a little bit of your background, what you do for a living, whether you have any family (or pets) and even what you like doing in your free time. This helps us get to know you and determine if you’d fit in well as a part of the RAD Writing team, plus helps us decide what venues would be good for book signings and where is best to market you. Be sure to include an image of yourself in this section, as well as your website or Facebook page. If you have a following online, you’re more likely to catch the eye of a publisher.


7.      Sample text

Show us what you can do! Give us up to fifty pages of your work so far, so we can get a feel for your writing style, how the story is coming along, and whether or not it’s something we think we’ll be able to market. Without sample text, we really don’t know anything at all about your writing, do we?


I sincerely hope to see more proposals in the coming days! If you need any help deciding what sample text to use or what information would be useful to include in your proposal, contact us! We'd be more than happy to help.


Senior Editor