How NOT to Pitch Your Book Proposal

In 30 years of book publishing I have heard it all. In the spring of 1987, I received a book proposal from a man who was predicting that the Rapture would happen before November (the 40-year anniversary of the founding of Israel).

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/RyanJLane, Image #5487211

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/RyanJLane

He said, “Since I will be gone once this happens, I wish to assign all my royalties to my brother-in-law who is not a Christian.” I kid you not.

I replied, “Being Christians ourselves and being convinced by your proposal, we don’t believe we will be around to publish your book!” I never heard from him again.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only crazy stuff I’ve heard. In fact, I probably get at least one proposal a month that makes me shake my head in disbelief.

Therefore, let me save your proposal from a one-way trip to the trash can. If you are trying to get a publisher (or an agent) to take your proposal seriously, there are at least ten things you should never say:

  1. God told me to write this book.
  2. God told me to contact you.
  3. My book is destined to be a bestseller.
  4. My book is perfect for Oprah.
  5. My book is very similar to (insert the name of the latest mega-bestseller).
  6. There is nothing like my book in the marketplace.
  7. This is a multi-million dollar opportunity. I hope you are smart enough to see it.
  8. I will only share my book idea with you after you sign a confidentiality agreement.
  9. I don’t care about the money; I just want to help people.
  10. You probably won’t publish my book, because most of what you publish is fluff.

If you want to write a good query letter, start by reading The Writers Digest Guide To Query Letters. Then just apply a little common sense.

Question: If you are an agent or an editor, what is the craziest pitch you have ever heard?
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  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com/ ptmccain

    Amen! It astounds me when people pitch a manuscript with these lines. And why is it everyone is convinced they can write books for children? I also "enjoy" the mss pitches disguised with "wondering if you could give me advice on how to be a published author" messages. That's irksome and manipulative. Then there is also the, "I'm talking to other publishers about this book." That one is sure to get a response from me: "When you have concluded your negotiations with other publishers, feel free to be in touch again." I also like it when people read our publishing company's FAQ on our policy on unsolicited mss, reference it in their message, but try to send an unsolicited manuscript anyway.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yea, I get that a lot. Some writers just don't do their homework.

  • http://www.cyberbrethren.com/ ptmccain

    Amen! It astounds me when people pitch a manuscript with these lines. And why is it everyone is convinced they can write books for children? I also "enjoy" the mss pitches disguised with "wondering if you could give me advice on how to be a published author" messages. That's irksome and manipulative. Then there is also the, "I'm talking to other publishers about this book." That one is sure to get a response from me: "When you have concluded your negotiations with other publishers, feel free to be in touch again." I also like it when people read our publishing company's FAQ on our policy on unsolicited mss, reference it in their message, but try to send an unsolicited manuscript anyway.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Yea, I get that a lot. Some writers just don't do their homework.

  • http://www.SimpleEncouragement.com/ Thomas Waterhouse

    God told me to contact you and say that this is a funny article! If you're working on weekends, at least be entertained! Many blessings.

  • http://www.SimpleEncouragement.com/ Thomas Waterhouse

    God told me to contact you and say that this is a funny article! If you're working on weekends, at least be entertained! Many blessings.

  • http://www.chattykelly.blogspot.com/ Kelly Combs

    It's amazing to me that someone would insult you ("You publish fluff") and then expect that you'd publish them…unless of course they were writing fluff. LOL! The first one was the best. Loved it!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      You'd be surprised how often I get this. In fact, I save these, just so I can use them at writer's conferences.

      • Gina

        Hey! Even fluff is a substance.

        As an aspiring author I appreciate your post. I'll try to follow the rules.

  • http://www.chattykelly.blogspot.com/ Kelly Combs

    It's amazing to me that someone would insult you ("You publish fluff") and then expect that you'd publish them…unless of course they were writing fluff. LOL! The first one was the best. Loved it!

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      You'd be surprised how often I get this. In fact, I save these, just so I can use them at writer's conferences.

      • Gina

        Hey! Even fluff is a substance.

        As an aspiring author I appreciate your post. I'll try to follow the rules.

  • http://DustAndLight.com/ Aaron R.

    I have a question re: point number 8 (confidentiality), and point 6 (an idea not been done).

    I am a Bible college student, and planning on pursuing an MA/MDiv in seminary when I finish. My career plan is to be a professor rather than pastor, so I am planning on getting a PhD after that.

    I have an idea for a book, but I don't presently have a huge "platform." From what I've read, you have to have three components to get published: (1) be a good writer, (2) have a good idea, and (3) have a good platform. I read that if you have at least two, you could get published.

    My professors have always highly affirmed and encouraged me in my (1) writing skills, so I'm not worried about that. I have a pretty neat (2) idea in a niche area that I know hasn't been done yet. I know that in 10 years when I finish school and get a teaching job, I will have a more credible (3) platform, but I obviously am not there yet.

    I have considered writing a proposal to submit, but I have been worried that I may get turned down, and then I might see my exact book idea suddenly pop on the shelves a year later from that publisher.

    If an author may be perceived to not have a strong enough platform, is there any risk of that idea being "reappropriated" to another author that has a bigger platform? My worry has been that I will get my idea out there, and someone else would be recruited to do it, since I haven't finished all my degrees yet.

    I know I probably sound like one of those weird "rapture" people who thinks they have a novel idea, but I'm an actual theology student (Calvin College, philosophy department), and planning on applying to some heavyweight seminaries.

    Any tips? Thanks very much =D.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, I do not know of a case where a reputable publisher ripped off an author's idea. I'm not saying it hasn't happened; I'm just saying I have never seen it. I don't think it is a cause for a concern.

      Conversely, publishers will not sign confidentially agreements. We have a policy against it. Imagine if an author says he has a really great idea. I sign an agreement. Then he shows me a general proposal on leadership that is not all that original. Then suddenly, I am blocked out of publishing leadership books or risk a lawsuit with the author.

    • http://www.simchurch.org/ Douglas Estes

      Aaron – I don't have advice as much as an opinion. After going to college and seminary, I did my PhD in Europe and my latest book was published by Zondervan (SimChurch: Being the Church in the Virtual World). As an author, I too am always a little bit leery sending a great idea out there into the greater unknown of the publishing world. But it's the way the industry works, so if it is a great idea, and unique and yours, and you can write, it will see the light of day somewhere. More to the point – my tip is to focus on getting the 'platform' first. Alot of students/general people ask me how they can write a book. As encouraging as I can be, I usually tell them they probably can't because they don't have any type of platform nor are in the right place in life (or they just want a book to say they have one). Like most worthwhile things in life, it's a marathon, so run the race with the goal in mind. Send out a great proposal to a publisher who would be a good fit, but focus on getting the degree and establishing yourself as a scholar (or whatever your goal may be).

  • http://DustAndLight.com Aaron R.

    I have a question re: point number 8 (confidentiality), and point 6 (an idea not been done).

    I am a Bible college student, and planning on pursuing an MA/MDiv in seminary when I finish. My career plan is to be a professor rather than pastor, so I am planning on getting a PhD after that.

    I have an idea for a book, but I don't presently have a huge "platform." From what I've read, you have to have three components to get published: (1) be a good writer, (2) have a good idea, and (3) have a good platform. I read that if you have at least two, you could get published.

    My professors have always highly affirmed and encouraged me in my (1) writing skills, so I'm not worried about that. I have a pretty neat (2) idea in a niche area that I know hasn't been done yet. I know that in 10 years when I finish school and get a teaching job, I will have a more credible (3) platform, but I obviously am not there yet.

    I have considered writing a proposal to submit, but I have been worried that I may get turned down, and then I might see my exact book idea suddenly pop on the shelves a year later from that publisher.

    If an author may be perceived to not have a strong enough platform, is there any risk of that idea being "reappropriated" to another author that has a bigger platform? My worry has been that I will get my idea out there, and someone else would be recruited to do it, since I haven't finished all my degrees yet.

    I know I probably sound like one of those weird "rapture" people who thinks they have a novel idea, but I'm an actual theology student (Calvin College, philosophy department), and planning on applying to some heavyweight seminaries.

    Any tips? Thanks very much =D.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Honestly, I do not know of a case where a reputable publisher ripped off an author's idea. I'm not saying it hasn't happened; I'm just saying I have never seen it. I don't think it is a cause for a concern.

      Conversely, publishers will not sign confidentially agreements. We have a policy against it. Imagine if an author says he has a really great idea. I sign an agreement. Then he shows me a general proposal on leadership that is not all that original. Then suddenly, I am blocked out of publishing leadership books or risk a lawsuit with the author.

    • http://www.simchurch.org/ Douglas Estes

      Aaron – I don't have advice as much as an opinion. After going to college and seminary, I did my PhD in Europe and my latest book was published by Zondervan (SimChurch: Being the Church in the Virtual World). As an author, I too am always a little bit leery sending a great idea out there into the greater unknown of the publishing world. But it's the way the industry works, so if it is a great idea, and unique and yours, and you can write, it will see the light of day somewhere. More to the point – my tip is to focus on getting the 'platform' first. Alot of students/general people ask me how they can write a book. As encouraging as I can be, I usually tell them they probably can't because they don't have any type of platform nor are in the right place in life (or they just want a book to say they have one). Like most worthwhile things in life, it's a marathon, so run the race with the goal in mind. Send out a great proposal to a publisher who would be a good fit, but focus on getting the degree and establishing yourself as a scholar (or whatever your goal may be).

  • Betty Gordon

    How funny, the Rapture one. I have questions about two. I've seen questions on publishers' forms–how is your book unique? Whose book is yours similar to? Could you elaborate on why those are not good comments to make?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      There is a fine line between identifying a book's uniqueness and claiming that there is nothing like it in the market. Usually, the latter comes from someone who hasn't bothered to research his topic. It immediately makes me want to prove the author wrong.

  • Betty Gordon

    How funny, the Rapture one. I have questions about two. I've seen questions on publishers' forms–how is your book unique? Whose book is yours similar to? Could you elaborate on why those are not good comments to make?

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      There is a fine line between identifying a book's uniqueness and claiming that there is nothing like it in the market. Usually, the latter comes from someone who hasn't bothered to research his topic. It immediately makes me want to prove the author wrong.

  • http://www.markstegall.com/ mark

    what about rule #11. "But I follow you on twitter!"

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Believe it or not, I DO get that one a lot, too.

  • http://www.markstegall.com/ mark

    what about rule #11. "But I follow you on twitter!"

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Believe it or not, I DO get that one a lot, too.

  • http://www.dracotorre.com/blog/ David G Shrock

    I've heard of several like these mentioned by other publishers, but insulting the publisher nearly surprises me. I sometimes wonder if the authors of these queries are even serious about their book.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      It makes me think that (a) either they are so clueless that I would never publish them under any circumstances or (b) they are emotionally unbalanced. Sadly, I get this more than you would think.

  • http://www.dracotorre.com/blog/ David G Shrock

    I've heard of several like these mentioned by other publishers, but insulting the publisher nearly surprises me. I sometimes wonder if the authors of these queries are even serious about their book.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      It makes me think that (a) either they are so clueless that I would never publish them under any circumstances or (b) they are emotionally unbalanced. Sadly, I get this more than you would think.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    How about "I hope you'll enjoy reading my book?"

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    How about "I hope you'll enjoy reading my book?"

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

    God told me to write this in contact to you to tell you that although this article is really just fluff, you could turn it into a bestseller. It's even likely to be picked by Oprah for her book club.

    This really is a Mulit-million dollar opportunity for you.

    I would compare this article to 'The Shack' or even 'The hole in our Gospel' by Rich Stearns, although there's really nothing like it in the marketplace.

    I know you don't need the money but I really think you should turn this into a book just to help people.

    I'd be more than willing to expand on the idea for you but I'm worried that others would steal my awesome idea so I'll email you a confidentiality agreement that I'd like you to sign.

    Looking forward to your quick response, if you're smart enough to see what a perfect idea this is.

    Peter

    (ps, God didn't actually tell me to write this. I just wanted to clear that up before I get smitten by a lightning bolt or something)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Okay, now THAT is funny!

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

        Thanks!

  • http://blog.hafchurch.org/peter Peter_P

    God told me to write this in contact to you to tell you that although this article is really just fluff, you could turn it into a bestseller. It's even likely to be picked by Oprah for her book club.

    This really is a Mulit-million dollar opportunity for you.

    I would compare this article to 'The Shack' or even 'The hole in our Gospel' by Rich Stearns, although there's really nothing like it in the marketplace.

    I know you don't need the money but I really think you should turn this into a book just to help people.

    I'd be more than willing to expand on the idea for you but I'm worried that others would steal my awesome idea so I'll email you a confidentiality agreement that I'd like you to sign.

    Looking forward to your quick response, if you're smart enough to see what a perfect idea this is.

    Peter

    (ps, God didn't actually tell me to write this. I just wanted to clear that up before I get smitten by a lightning bolt or something)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Okay, now THAT is funny!

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

        Thanks!

  • http://www.darkparables.blogspot.com/ Carole McDonnell

    Good article but re#6…not sure why that is so humorous. I understand that many beginning writers are newbies and aren't really up on everything in the marketplace. But there are books that are pretty unique and yet very good. Rare, of course. There was nothing like my book, Wind Follower in the market. It got turned down by Christian publishers because they felt that although the book was religious it was too much for their readership. I went to a traditional secular publisher and the book was published and placed in bookstores all over the country. It got a lot of good reviews. So, it looks as if uniqueness is hard to sell in the Christian publishing world.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      As I explained in another comment reply, there is a difference between uniqueness and claiming there is nothing like it in the marketplace. With more than 500,000 NEW books published per year in the U.S., it is highly unlikely that anyone has a truly original idea.

  • http://www.darkparables.blogspot.com/ Carole McDonnell

    Good article but re#6…not sure why that is so humorous. I understand that many beginning writers are newbies and aren't really up on everything in the marketplace. But there are books that are pretty unique and yet very good. Rare, of course. There was nothing like my book, Wind Follower in the market. It got turned down by Christian publishers because they felt that although the book was religious it was too much for their readership. I went to a traditional secular publisher and the book was published and placed in bookstores all over the country. It got a lot of good reviews. So, it looks as if uniqueness is hard to sell in the Christian publishing world.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      As I explained in another comment reply, there is a difference between uniqueness and claiming there is nothing like it in the marketplace. With more than 500,000 NEW books published per year in the U.S., it is highly unlikely that anyone has a truly original idea.

  • http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/ Joni B. Hannigan

    After a good hearty laugh, I realized that we get very similar reasons for submissions from some of our readers and would-be writers. Honestly, there are times I have said to myself, "but by the grace of God, there go I," in using Holy Spirit discernment and leadership to gently steer people in directions more suited to their passion — while not crushing their spirit (hopefully). To be a writer of any genre takes guts and perseverance, intuition and training, lest we forget. I am grateful for leadership, patience and mentoring of individuals who looked for opportunities rather than trash cans when I stumbled their way with my God-given passion.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I agree. I always try to be kind in my rejections. We have certainly rejected books that went on to be a bestseller. In the end, publishers are making judgment calls. It's part science but mostly art.

  • http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/ Joni B. Hannigan

    After a good hearty laugh, I realized that we get very similar reasons for submissions from some of our readers and would-be writers. Honestly, there are times I have said to myself, "but by the grace of God, there go I," in using Holy Spirit discernment and leadership to gently steer people in directions more suited to their passion — while not crushing their spirit (hopefully). To be a writer of any genre takes guts and perseverance, intuition and training, lest we forget. I am grateful for leadership, patience and mentoring of individuals who looked for opportunities rather than trash cans when I stumbled their way with my God-given passion.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I agree. I always try to be kind in my rejections. We have certainly rejected books that went on to be a bestseller. In the end, publishers are making judgment calls. It's part science but mostly art.

  • http://www.foreverrichard.com/ Sue Dent

    Perhaps CBA affiliated publishers such as Thomas Nelson could work harder to let authors know what it is they do want. The guidelines I've seen aren't clear at all. Both CBA and ECPA were created by a group of Christian booksellers for publishers to pay to join. These publishers in turn would provide targeted fiction to this very specific Christian audience. Maybe if Thomas Nelson and all the other CBA and ECPA affiliated publishers would say they only take work that appeals to this very specific Christian market the MS's they receive would be less . . . out there. Of course, there's no guarantee but it sure would've save me a LOT of time. So CBA and ECPA affiliated publishers don't want MS's like The Shack because these don't appeal to their core market audience. I'm sure William Young wouldn't have submitted to Thomas Nelson had he known this in the beginning or every other affiliated publisher he submitted to. I do think being clearer would help though. :)

    • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      You might be right.

    • Jason Chatraw

      Sue, many publishers are clear. But that doesn't stop people from try to submit books to us. They think you should expand your mission because their book will be THAT good. :)

  • http://www.foreverrichard.com/ Sue Dent

    Perhaps CBA affiliated publishers such as Thomas Nelson could work harder to let authors know what it is they do want. The guidelines I've seen aren't clear at all. Both CBA and ECPA were created by a group of Christian booksellers for publishers to pay to join. These publishers in turn would provide targeted fiction to this very specific Christian audience. Maybe if Thomas Nelson and all the other CBA and ECPA affiliated publishers would say they only take work that appeals to this very specific Christian market the MS's they receive would be less . . . out there. Of course, there's no guarantee but it sure would've save me a LOT of time. So CBA and ECPA affiliated publishers don't want MS's like The Shack because these don't appeal to their core market audience. I'm sure William Young wouldn't have submitted to Thomas Nelson had he known this in the beginning or every other affiliated publisher he submitted to. I do think being clearer would help though. :)

    • http://www.intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      You might be right.

    • Jason Chatraw

      Sue, many publishers are clear. But that doesn't stop people from try to submit books to us. They think you should expand your mission because their book will be THAT good. :)

  • http://www.ronedmondson.com/ Ron Edmondson

    That was an awesome response to the first story! Love it!

  • http://www.ronedmondson.com/ Ron Edmondson

    That was an awesome response to the first story! Love it!

  • Jeanette Biesecker

    Honestly, with the advent of the internet and social networking, anybody can build a platform to market their book as long as they're willing to work hard at it. The traditions of book marketing are all changing. Word of mouth has always been the most powerful means of selling a good book, and that's become much easier to generate with the power of the internet.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree with this. In fact, I think traditional platforms are overrated. I am more interested in an authors effort to build a social media platform. I have written about this a few times on this blog. (You can search for "platform" to find them.)

  • Jeanette Biesecker

    Honestly, with the advent of the internet and social networking, anybody can build a platform to market their book as long as they're willing to work hard at it. The traditions of book marketing are all changing. Word of mouth has always been the most powerful means of selling a good book, and that's become much easier to generate with the power of the internet.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I totally agree with this. In fact, I think traditional platforms are overrated. I am more interested in an authors effort to build a social media platform. I have written about this a few times on this blog. (You can search for "platform" to find them.)

  • Jeanette Biesecker

    Aaron–On your concerns about submitting a proposal and having your ideas stolen–If you really believe in your idea, don't wait for an accepted proposal to write your book. Your goal is to express your idea in written form to share; the end goal is not to be able to say you've been signed by a publisher. If the work is good and you're persistent, the book will get published and your ideas will get out there. Once you write the book, it's copyright protected as yours. Keep a dated, witnessed/signed print out of it if that makes you feel better. Most Christian publishers are in the business because they too want to see good writers with good ideas published. The Christian publishers that would steal your ideas are few and far between–avoid new start up publishers and stay with the established reputable publishers and you shouldn't have to worry.

  • Jeanette Biesecker

    Aaron–On your concerns about submitting a proposal and having your ideas stolen–If you really believe in your idea, don't wait for an accepted proposal to write your book. Your goal is to express your idea in written form to share; the end goal is not to be able to say you've been signed by a publisher. If the work is good and you're persistent, the book will get published and your ideas will get out there. Once you write the book, it's copyright protected as yours. Keep a dated, witnessed/signed print out of it if that makes you feel better. Most Christian publishers are in the business because they too want to see good writers with good ideas published. The Christian publishers that would steal your ideas are few and far between–avoid new start up publishers and stay with the established reputable publishers and you shouldn't have to worry.

  • http://DustAndLight.com/ Aaron R.

    Thanks for the tips, Jeanette.

    I have a related question on the same project. My idea is a non-fiction book in the "theology/biblical studies" field. However, I haven't finished any of my formal degrees in this area yet (even though obviously my career path demands that I will have several in the very near future).

    So, how hesitant would a publisher be to publish a non-fiction book by someone that doesn't yet hold a degrees in their field? (I'm 2 years from my finishing my BA.) The only bonus I have in my favor is that my book idea is more of a "synthesis" work, so a person would not have to be an established professional scholar to do the type of book I have in mind.

    As a hypothetical example, think of a book that collected, compared, and contrasted historical views on "the doctrine of God." It's more of a synthesis work of past and present scholarship.

    My idea would be something similar to this, but much, much different.

    If I don't have my degrees yet, would a publisher touch a non-fiction book, if I don't look like an "authority" yet in my field? Or should I wait 10 years to complete my MA and PhD? What if it were this type of "synthesis" book, which would not necessitate degrees in the field to do it?

    Thanks again, I really appreciate it. I'll probably get to work on it now anyway. I was just curious how good my chances were to submit it now, rather than in a decade! (LoL)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I don't think you have to have your degrees, but it will definitely be something you have to overcome. I would encourage you to get your B.A. at the very least before you pursue this.

    • http://flowerdust.net/ anne jackson

      sometimes having a degree doesn't equate expertise. there are a ton of incredibly brilliant people who don't have degrees, and there are incredibly ignorant people who do. (the opposite is also true) :)

      write your heart out now. if continuing your education helps you grow and become more knowledgeable, pursue that as well.

      • http://DustAndLight.com/ Aaron R.

        Thanks Anne! I think I'll spend the next 18 months on it, and maybe start submitting it while in my final semester of my BA.

  • http://DustAndLight.com Aaron R.

    Thanks for the tips, Jeanette.

    I have a related question on the same project. My idea is a non-fiction book in the "theology/biblical studies" field. However, I haven't finished any of my formal degrees in this area yet (even though obviously my career path demands that I will have several in the very near future).

    So, how hesitant would a publisher be to publish a non-fiction book by someone that doesn't yet hold a degrees in their field? (I'm 2 years from my finishing my BA.) The only bonus I have in my favor is that my book idea is more of a "synthesis" work, so a person would not have to be an established professional scholar to do the type of book I have in mind.

    As a hypothetical example, think of a book that collected, compared, and contrasted historical views on "the doctrine of God." It's more of a synthesis work of past and present scholarship.

    My idea would be something similar to this, but much, much different.

    If I don't have my degrees yet, would a publisher touch a non-fiction book, if I don't look like an "authority" yet in my field? Or should I wait 10 years to complete my MA and PhD? What if it were this type of "synthesis" book, which would not necessitate degrees in the field to do it?

    Thanks again, I really appreciate it. I'll probably get to work on it now anyway. I was just curious how good my chances were to submit it now, rather than in a decade! (LoL)

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I don't think you have to have your degrees, but it will definitely be something you have to overcome. I would encourage you to get your B.A. at the very least before you pursue this.

    • http://flowerdust.net anne jackson

      sometimes having a degree doesn't equate expertise. there are a ton of incredibly brilliant people who don't have degrees, and there are incredibly ignorant people who do. (the opposite is also true) :)

      write your heart out now. if continuing your education helps you grow and become more knowledgeable, pursue that as well.

      • http://DustAndLight.com/ Aaron R.

        Thanks Anne! I think I'll spend the next 18 months on it, and maybe start submitting it while in my final semester of my BA.

  • http://human3rror.com human3rror

    Mike,

    I'd love to see a post from you about how bloggers are turning into "authors"… and perhaps how one would go about "pitching" themself as a successful blogger…?

    Does that make sense? I may be off on this.. perhaps the same things apply as you've listed them out.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      John, this is a good idea. I will give it some consideration. Thanks!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/human3rror human3rror

    Mike,

    I'd love to see a post from you about how bloggers are turning into "authors"… and perhaps how one would go about "pitching" themself as a successful blogger…?

    Does that make sense? I may be off on this.. perhaps the same things apply as you've listed them out.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      John, this is a good idea. I will give it some consideration. Thanks!

  • http://DustAndLight.com/ Aaron R.

    Thanks very much Mike!

  • http://DustAndLight.com/ Aaron R.

    Thanks very much Mike!

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

    I'm actually working on a book proposal now, so this was very timely.

    So, if that's not how to pitch a book proposal, then how about this:

    God told me not to write this book but I'm sure I know better than him so I took the plunge. After much prayer, he told me that things would not go well if I contacted you about it, which I saw as an open invitation to send it your way.

    I'm sure you're intelligent enough to see that it's never going to be a best-seller. In fact, the chances of you even breaking even are slim to none but I can guarantee that five copies will be sold because I've already given my family the money to buy them with.

    People tell me that the holy grail of writing is to get on some show called Orpha, or something like that. We both know that's not going to happen but I know someone who's related to a guy whose girlfriend used to work at our local PBS so I could probably get on there to promote the book.

    People who have read it (i.e. my mom) tell me that it's very similar to a book that this dude at our church self-published on his own printer at home. He's already sold two copies (and it's only been four years).

    To be honest, I don't care about contracts. If you'd like to just send me $100,000 I would be happy to let you have the book and do anything you want with it. My wife printed it out and uses it as a door-stopper right now. It has literally dozens of uses.

    When I looked in Barnes and Noble, there were only 250 books that said the same thing as mine but one of them didn't look as good this little gem so I'm sure my book could squeeze in there on the top shelf, just out of reach. Or maybe behind all the others.

    I know that the books you publish are all really great, but if you wouldn't mind making an exception just this once, I think this could be the start of a beautiful relationship.

    Yours, ever so faithlessly,

    Peter

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

      To be honest, when I wrote this 'proposal' I was expecting an influx of responses from editors and agents asking me to send them my manuscript.

      I'm a little confused as to why this has not happened……

      Maybe I just need to wait until Monday morning.

  • http://blog.hafchurch.org/peter Peter_P

    I'm actually working on a book proposal now, so this was very timely.

    So, if that's not how to pitch a book proposal, then how about this:

    God told me not to write this book but I'm sure I know better than him so I took the plunge. After much prayer, he told me that things would not go well if I contacted you about it, which I saw as an open invitation to send it your way.

    I'm sure you're intelligent enough to see that it's never going to be a best-seller. In fact, the chances of you even breaking even are slim to none but I can guarantee that five copies will be sold because I've already given my family the money to buy them with.

    People tell me that the holy grail of writing is to get on some show called Orpha, or something like that. We both know that's not going to happen but I know someone who's related to a guy whose girlfriend used to work at our local PBS so I could probably get on there to promote the book.

    People who have read it (i.e. my mom) tell me that it's very similar to a book that this dude at our church self-published on his own printer at home. He's already sold two copies (and it's only been four years).

    To be honest, I don't care about contracts. If you'd like to just send me $100,000 I would be happy to let you have the book and do anything you want with it. My wife printed it out and uses it as a door-stopper right now. It has literally dozens of uses.

    When I looked in Barnes and Noble, there were only 250 books that said the same thing as mine but one of them didn't look as good this little gem so I'm sure my book could squeeze in there on the top shelf, just out of reach. Or maybe behind all the others.

    I know that the books you publish are all really great, but if you wouldn't mind making an exception just this once, I think this could be the start of a beautiful relationship.

    Yours, ever so faithlessly,

    Peter

    • http://blog.hafchurch.org/peter Peter_P

      To be honest, when I wrote this 'proposal' I was expecting an influx of responses from editors and agents asking me to send them my manuscript.

      I'm a little confused as to why this has not happened……

      Maybe I just need to wait until Monday morning.

  • http://www.dougwallace.net/ Doug Wallace

    This is great. Why do aspiring authors not understand that there is more to being a published author than great writing skills and a good idea? I’ll pass along the sage advice given to me by my mother, "always do the hardest task first and you'll never be disappointed."

  • http://www.dougwallace.net/ Doug Wallace

    This is great. Why do aspiring authors not understand that there is more to being a published author than great writing skills and a good idea? I’ll pass along the sage advice given to me by my mother, "always do the hardest task first and you'll never be disappointed."

  • http://www.courageoussingleparenting.blogspot.com/ Scoti Domeij

    When I was the editor for Harvest House Publishers, I received a manuscript from an author who wanted us to publish it. The title? "Memoirs of an Amnesiac." The entire book was blank.

    I bought a book from by a well-known female speaker with a title something like this "What Men Know About Women." The contents are blank.

  • http://www.courageoussingleparenting.blogspot.com/ Scoti Domeij

    When I was the editor for Harvest House Publishers, I received a manuscript from an author who wanted us to publish it. The title? "Memoirs of an Amnesiac." The entire book was blank.

    I bought a book from by a well-known female speaker with a title something like this "What Men Know About Women." The contents are blank.

  • http://donaldJamesParker.com/ Donald James Parker

    I think I understand point 1 (and 2 also) all too clearly. So even if God tells you to write a book – you shouldn't tell the prospective publishers? I'm afraid I have that dilemma because God did tell me to write a book. Until that happened, I might have subscribed to your theory – but to tell you the truth I didn't even read often and I didn't write or follow publishing at all until I got a literal wake-up call. Now I have my own publishing company, and I am looking for people whom God has told to write a book – not the flaky kind who have grandiose delusions – but those who God has actually spoken to and anointed to bring a word of God's meat to a planet that only wants His milk. So in reality, this advice only applies to publishers who are secular or who are more interested in the fiscal worksheets than promoting the kingdom of God (which would be about all of them). I know that publishers must make money to stay in business, but it would be nice if they could be attuned to the spirit of God so when a work ordained of His hands comes along, it would be published no matter the return on investment forecast.
    Donald James Parker
    Author of Reforming the Potter's Clay

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      I completely disagree. As a publisher, I don't know if God told you or He didn't tell you. I know it is easy to claim this, and it makes it almost impossible to verify. If He did tell you to write it, the work will speak for itself. In my experience, more often than not, the people who claim this are simply taking God's name in vain and using it to try and manipulate me and compensate for shoddy work.

      I also believe that if He told you, He will confirm it by telling me. Neither one of us has to burden the other with claiming that He told us. We can simply pray about it and let him confirm to the other the right direction. Frankly, this takes more faith and gives God the opportunity to confirm His will to us. (e.g., "Lord, if you are speaking to me and want this book to be published, then please confirm it through the publisher You have chosen.")

      So, no, I don't agree that this advice only applies to secular publishers or to those who are some how "more interested in the fiscal worksheets than promoting the Kingdom of God." I don't think these are opposed to one another. As a steward of God's resources who will one day personally give an account to Him, I believe I have the responsibility to publish the books He is directing me to publish AND will make a fair return on the investment. This is simply Stewardship 101 (see Matthew 25).

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/Peter_P Peter_P

        Great response Mike.

        I thought that Donald had some great points there but I see that there are two sides to every story.

      • Dayle

        I'm with you on this one, Michael. There are people who've killed their own children, claiming "God" told them to.

        As you so well put it, many of the nut cases who wish to be published are simply using God's name in vain by saying He told them to write a book.

        My opinion is if God tells you to write a book, either a) keep that information between you and God, or b) publish it yourself.

    • Jason Chatraw

      I've read plenty of manuscripts from people making this claim and I seriously doubt the validity of that statement. You just have to imagine that every day because of the mere fact of being in the publishing industry, everyone you meet has a book you should publish. As a rule, people making that claim are doing so because they think that should be a strong enough basis for publishing the material rather than the actual content. It's sad but true.

  • http://donaldJamesParker.com Donald James Parker

    I think I understand point 1 (and 2 also) all too clearly. So even if God tells you to write a book – you shouldn't tell the prospective publishers? I'm afraid I have that dilemma because God did tell me to write a book. Until that happened, I might have subscribed to your theory – but to tell you the truth I didn't even read often and I didn't write or follow publishing at all until I got a literal wake-up call. Now I have my own publishing company, and I am looking for people whom God has told to write a book – not the flaky kind who have grandiose delusions – but those who God has actually spoken to and anointed to bring a word of God's meat to a planet that only wants His milk. So in reality, this advice only applies to publishers who are secular or who are more interested in the fiscal worksheets than promoting the kingdom of God (which would be about all of them). I know that publishers must make money to stay in business, but it would be nice if they could be attuned to the spirit of God so when a work ordained of His hands comes along, it would be published no matter the return on investment forecast.
    Donald James Parker
    Author of Reforming the Potter's Clay

    • Michael Hyatt

      I completely disagree. As a publisher, I don't know if God told you or He didn't tell you. I know it is easy to claim this, and it makes it almost impossible to verify. If He did tell you to write it, the work will speak for itself. In my experience, more often than not, the people who claim this are simply taking God's name in vain and using it to try and manipulate me and compensate for shoddy work.

      I also believe that if He told you, He will confirm it by telling me. Neither one of us has to burden the other with claiming that He told us. We can simply pray about it and let him confirm to the other the right direction. Frankly, this takes more faith and gives God the opportunity to confirm His will to us. (e.g., "Lord, if you are speaking to me and want this book to be published, then please confirm it through the publisher You have chosen.")

      So, no, I don't agree that this advice only applies to secular publishers or to those who are some how "more interested in the fiscal worksheets than promoting the Kingdom of God." I don't think these are opposed to one another. As a steward of God's resources who will one day personally give an account to Him, I believe I have the responsibility to publish the books He is directing me to publish AND will make a fair return on the investment. This is simply Stewardship 101 (see Matthew 25).

      • http://blog.hafchurch.org/peter Peter_P

        Great response Mike.

        I thought that Donald had some great points there but I see that there are two sides to every story.

      • Dayle

        I'm with you on this one, Michael. There are people who've killed their own children, claiming "God" told them to.

        As you so well put it, many of the nut cases who wish to be published are simply using God's name in vain by saying He told them to write a book.

        My opinion is if God tells you to write a book, either a) keep that information between you and God, or b) publish it yourself.

    • Jason Chatraw

      I've read plenty of manuscripts from people making this claim and I seriously doubt the validity of that statement. You just have to imagine that every day because of the mere fact of being in the publishing industry, everyone you meet has a book you should publish. As a rule, people making that claim are doing so because they think that should be a strong enough basis for publishing the material rather than the actual content. It's sad but true.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/patriciazell patriciazell

    I think sometimes we try to write and publish books too quickly. Back in the mid 1990's, I decided I wanted to write a book about my understandings of the Bible. Since that time, I have written a proposal about every two years or so. The last time I wrote it (Summer 2007), I actually complained to God that there was nothing new in the proposal–it was simply regurgitated material. Thankfully, the proposal was again rejected. Since that time, something has happened within me that has changed everything. For the first time, what I am writing is not the same-old same-old; I am so grateful that it is fresh to me.

    My attitude has also changed–I don't know if God has "told" me to write the book or not. I have asked Him to give me the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to write about His absolute love for all of us. I also am giving my whole effort to finding a publisher, and if I don't succeed, it won't be because I didn't try my best. That way, no matter how it turns out, I have peace with myself and with God. And, I know God will work everything out for my good. In that, I rejoice.

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com patriciazell

    I think sometimes we try to write and publish books too quickly. Back in the mid 1990's, I decided I wanted to write a book about my understandings of the Bible. Since that time, I have written a proposal about every two years or so. The last time I wrote it (Summer 2007), I actually complained to God that there was nothing new in the proposal–it was simply regurgitated material. Thankfully, the proposal was again rejected. Since that time, something has happened within me that has changed everything. For the first time, what I am writing is not the same-old same-old; I am so grateful that it is fresh to me.

    My attitude has also changed–I don't know if God has "told" me to write the book or not. I have asked Him to give me the knowledge, understanding, and wisdom to write about His absolute love for all of us. I also am giving my whole effort to finding a publisher, and if I don't succeed, it won't be because I didn't try my best. That way, no matter how it turns out, I have peace with myself and with God. And, I know God will work everything out for my good. In that, I rejoice.

  • http://www.turtle-dove.com/ Debra

    God often directs us to use our "talents," and giving God credit shouldn't mean an instant rejection. As someone who is both published and rejected, I know first hand how difficult it is to get a busy editor's attention. Query letters are often harder to write than the book! The nature of this article seems to poke fun at what should be a a little "Grace" for new authors learning the ropes.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Giving God credit and claiming that He is the author are two different things. My intention was not to poke fun at new authors, but to save those with talent from being instantly rejected.

      Perhaps violating #1 shouldn't result in an instant rejection, but 99% of the time it does.

  • http://www.turtle-dove.com/ Debra

    God often directs us to use our "talents," and giving God credit shouldn't mean an instant rejection. As someone who is both published and rejected, I know first hand how difficult it is to get a busy editor's attention. Query letters are often harder to write than the book! The nature of this article seems to poke fun at what should be a a little "Grace" for new authors learning the ropes.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Giving God credit and claiming that He is the author are two different things. My intention was not to poke fun at new authors, but to save those with talent from being instantly rejected.

      Perhaps violating #1 shouldn't result in an instant rejection, but 99% of the time it does.

  • http://www.burtcreations.com/ Steve Burt

    The book you recommended, Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters, is not only hilarious, but also contains Good and Bad examples that are quite instructive.

  • http://www.burtcreations.com/ Steve Burt

    The book you recommended, Writer's Digest Guide to Query Letters, is not only hilarious, but also contains Good and Bad examples that are quite instructive.

  • Angela

    So can you tell me how one goes about finding a possible suit for someone to collaborate with on a project. I am an author but less known than all the big named ones, and would like to find someone to work on a project with–but no clue where to start.

  • Angela

    So can you tell me how one goes about finding a possible suit for someone to collaborate with on a project. I am an author but less known than all the big named ones, and would like to find someone to work on a project with–but no clue where to start.

  • http://DustAndLight.com/ Aaron R.

    Thanks for the tips, guys!

  • http://DustAndLight.com/ Aaron R.

    Thanks for the tips, guys!

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  • Slim Jim

    Wow!

  • Slim Jim

    Wow!

  • http://www.godmessedmeup.blogspot.com/ Pam Hogeweide

    writers telling publishers that "God told me to write this book" is kind of like spiritual intimidation. "I'm telling you God told me to write it so if you turn it down you are turning down the Almighty." And it sounds immature and unprofessional.

    If God has inspired the work, then it will be evident without an announcement.

    God told me to tell you this.

    And he also told me to tell you to forward this to 10 people so you will receive a great blessing by tomorrow morning.

    (this was so hilarious and insightful. Thanks for the discussion!)

  • http://www.godmessedmeup.blogspot.com Pam Hogeweide

    writers telling publishers that "God told me to write this book" is kind of like spiritual intimidation. "I'm telling you God told me to write it so if you turn it down you are turning down the Almighty." And it sounds immature and unprofessional.

    If God has inspired the work, then it will be evident without an announcement.

    God told me to tell you this.

    And he also told me to tell you to forward this to 10 people so you will receive a great blessing by tomorrow morning.

    (this was so hilarious and insightful. Thanks for the discussion!)

  • http://www.turtle-dove.com/ Debra

    As Christian writers we should know how give God credit without it sounding unprofessional or intimidating.

  • http://www.turtle-dove.com/ Debra

    As Christian writers we should know how give God credit without it sounding unprofessional or intimidating.

  • http://sacredandtheprofane.com/ Calee

    I would be interested in seeing a post on how to handle memoirs. Do publishers want proposals or finished works–I've seen different "experts" say both.

    Thanks

  • http://sacredandtheprofane.com Calee

    I would be interested in seeing a post on how to handle memoirs. Do publishers want proposals or finished works–I've seen different "experts" say both.

    Thanks

  • http://www.AtlasTakesAim.com/ Masonian

    Oh my! I think I snorted milk out my nose! Funny, yet a bit eye-opening.
    Writers (myself included) often labor in isolation over our "earth-moving, life-changing, sure-to-be-the-most-important-book-since-the-bible" and at the end of the day we think "Surely everyone will see how incredibly life altering this book is," and so send it off with a bit of a raving proposal to the first agent/publisher we come acros–without first gaining the perspective on our work (and the literary business) that is required in this age of wikipedia.
    Simply put, authors (published or green-behind-the-ears) have no excuses when it comes to general query letter ettiquette, proposal guidelines and formatting. YET we (writers) often spend all our energy, mind-power, mana, whatever, on writing the dang thing! (Or, at least some do. "I have the greatest idea ever, but don't ask for sample chapters… in fact, do you know someone else who can write it for me?")
    (to be continued)

  • http://www.AtlasTakesAim.com Masonian

    Oh my! I think I snorted milk out my nose! Funny, yet a bit eye-opening.
    Writers (myself included) often labor in isolation over our "earth-moving, life-changing, sure-to-be-the-most-important-book-since-the-bible" and at the end of the day we think "Surely everyone will see how incredibly life altering this book is," and so send it off with a bit of a raving proposal to the first agent/publisher we come acros–without first gaining the perspective on our work (and the literary business) that is required in this age of wikipedia.
    Simply put, authors (published or green-behind-the-ears) have no excuses when it comes to general query letter ettiquette, proposal guidelines and formatting. YET we (writers) often spend all our energy, mind-power, mana, whatever, on writing the dang thing! (Or, at least some do. "I have the greatest idea ever, but don't ask for sample chapters… in fact, do you know someone else who can write it for me?")
    (to be continued)

  • http://www.AtlasTakesAim.com/ Masonian

    But simply writing it does little to see it get published.
    Like I said, us writers have no excuse. The information is out there. The guidelines and the "what-not-to-do's" are all waiting to be unearthed. Sure, there are always exceptions… but that in no way reverses the fact that 99.9% of time when someone claims "God told me to write this" He was probably telling the person to write it simply to keep him/her occupied and out of trouble. (Or, God told them to write it, but out of kindness hasn't yet told them "You know, I have standards to uphold. How bout you take up gardening instead?")
    So, authors: learn up. The publishing industry exsisted before you, it will exist after you. They have their own methods, expectations and etiquette. If you intend to dance you gotta learn the steps… at least enough to fake it without stepping on your partner's toes. (Thanks Dancing With the Stars)
    This concludes my broadcast.

  • http://www.AtlasTakesAim.com Masonian

    But simply writing it does little to see it get published.
    Like I said, us writers have no excuse. The information is out there. The guidelines and the "what-not-to-do's" are all waiting to be unearthed. Sure, there are always exceptions… but that in no way reverses the fact that 99.9% of time when someone claims "God told me to write this" He was probably telling the person to write it simply to keep him/her occupied and out of trouble. (Or, God told them to write it, but out of kindness hasn't yet told them "You know, I have standards to uphold. How bout you take up gardening instead?")
    So, authors: learn up. The publishing industry exsisted before you, it will exist after you. They have their own methods, expectations and etiquette. If you intend to dance you gotta learn the steps… at least enough to fake it without stepping on your partner's toes. (Thanks Dancing With the Stars)
    This concludes my broadcast.

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  • http://bit.ly/zSWc Jay Brock

    But Michael, God told me that my book on the end times is DIFFERENT!

  • http://bit.ly/zSWc Jay Brock

    But Michael, God told me that my book on the end times is DIFFERENT!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=639540731 Rachel Lee Carter

    If you are trying to get a publisher (or an agent) to take your proposal seriously, there are at least ten things you should never say:

    1.God told me to write this book.
    2.God told me to contact you.
    3.My book is destined to be a bestseller.
    4.My book is perfect for Oprah.
    5.My book is very similar to [insert the name of the latest mega-bestseller].
    6.There is nothing like my book in the marketplace.
    7.This is a multi-million dollar opportunity. I hope you are smart enough to see it.
    8.I will only share my book idea with you after you sign a confidentiality agreement.
    9.I don’t care about the money; I just want to help people.
    10.You probably won’t publish my book, because most of what you publish is fluff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=639540731 Rachel Lee Carter

    If you are trying to get a publisher (or an agent) to take your proposal seriously, there are at least ten things you should never say:

    1.God told me to write this book.
    2.God told me to contact you.
    3.My book is destined to be a bestseller.
    4.My book is perfect for Oprah.
    5.My book is very similar to [insert the name of the latest mega-bestseller].
    6.There is nothing like my book in the marketplace.
    7.This is a multi-million dollar opportunity. I hope you are smart enough to see it.
    8.I will only share my book idea with you after you sign a confidentiality agreement.
    9.I don’t care about the money; I just want to help people.
    10.You probably won’t publish my book, because most of what you publish is fluff.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1186010214 Darcy Wozney Downing

    So relieved to have found this forum. I am just beginning and discouragement remains at a distance. Thank you for the insight.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1186010214 Darcy Wozney Downing

    So relieved to have found this forum. I am just beginning and discouragement remains at a distance. Thank you for the insight.

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  • Kayla

    Do people just not have common sense? I don't know much about publishing but some of the crazy stories I read from agents are almost unbelievable. What was that quote…never underestimate the power of human stupidity?

  • Barry Landis

    Good stuff Mike. I once got a letter from a prospective artist that said, "if you do not sign me, I will leave town!".

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Did you offer to buy him a ticket. ;-)

  • http://www.sarahorn.com/ Sara Horn

    Great post. I once heard someone say there is no such thing as an original idea and I believe that. There will always be someone out there who has also had the same idea, maybe with a slightly different take, a slightly different angle. I think it falls to the author to show the publisher why their perspective on an idea will work – who is the audience and does your idea meet a need? When I put together a proposal for a new book idea, I avoid assuming it's never been done before, at least in some form or fashion. It's up to me to do my homework and show the publisher what other books have been done and how my book will be different. This has two purposes: it shows the publisher that the topic is timely and there is an audience for it, and it helps show the unique points my book will offer – not a unique idea but a unique perspective.

  • Kayla

    Do people just not have common sense? I don't know much about publishing but some of the crazy stories I read from agents are almost unbelievable. What was that quote…never underestimate the power of human stupidity?

  • http://www.sarahorn.com Sara Horn

    Great post. I once heard someone say there is no such thing as an original idea and I believe that. There will always be someone out there who has also had the same idea, maybe with a slightly different take, a slightly different angle. I think it falls to the author to show the publisher why their perspective on an idea will work – who is the audience and does your idea meet a need? When I put together a proposal for a new book idea, I avoid assuming it’s never been done before, at least in some form or fashion. It’s up to me to do my homework and show the publisher what other books have been done and how my book will be different. This has two purposes: it shows the publisher that the topic is timely and there is an audience for it, and it helps show the unique points my book will offer – not a unique idea but a unique perspective.

    • EbonyS

      And we love your unique perspective, Sara! Honestly, I really don't think your books are that similar to what has been offered before, at least that I've found. The 'military wives of faith' niche is still so young yet, because of the need, it is booming. When the publishing world looks back on the history of this genre, they will see your trail-blazing work at the forefront. But that's just my own 2 cents :)

  • Barry Landis

    Good stuff Mike. I once got a letter from a prospective artist that said, "if you do not sign me, I will leave town!".

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/michaelhyatt Michael Hyatt

      Did you offer to buy him a ticket. ;-)

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    Oprah told me to write this book. It is very similar to The Da Vinci Code except without the confusing riddles, the murders, and the religious references. The best part is that for a limited time, I'll take half the advance I would normally take. All I want is $50,000 upfront, then I'll let you read a sample chapter. Deal?

  • http://bradleyaharmon.com Brad Harmon

    There really isn't a comeback for “Being Christians ourselves and being convinced by your proposal, we don’t believe we will be around to publish your book!” is there? It does seem odd that being a Christian publisher you would include the first two items on your list.

    I assume this is meant to distinguish the crackpots from the sincere people who believe God has led them to write a book or to contact you. I can imagine that you receive quite a few proposals from people that expect you to act unquestionably when told they were sent by God.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I encourage people to let their work speak for itself. If it's from God, the proof will be in the pudding. But to claim God told you to write a book doesn't make a poor manuscript read any better.

  • http://www.generationalfathering.com Gary Taylor

    “…to claim God told you to write a book doesn’t make a poor manuscript read any better.”

    Just had to do a Tweet reply about the memo that the angelic PO misdirected. It was I for whom the memo insisted you publish. Then the phone call: Get off Twitter and write the thing first! He’ll follow up later with a correctly addressed memo. I am, after all, on assignment from On High.

  • meganjoyburdzy

    Thank you for your help in pointing out resources that can be used to better a writer's chance of doing well (assuming they do actually write well).

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