Monday, June 23, 2014

Novel Proposal Writing Tips from Chip MacGregor Part 2
If you had an opportunity to read my last post, we talked about Novel Proposal Writing basics - part 1.

Using Chip MacGregor's helpful tips, we covered the purpose of the proposal, hook, overview, and synopsis. Today we're going to discuss the latter section of the proposal that not only lets the proposal readers know about your story, but about YOU. :-)

1.  Genre - where does your book fit. Historical Romance? Contemporary or Southern Romance? Speculative Fiction? Young Adult Historical?

2. Audience: who might be interested in reading your book. For example, Demographics (your people group) and Psychographics (what makes it interesting).
Here are a few examples from one of mine.

If a reader wants to laugh at the plights of loveable characters and enjoy a wonderful clash of cultures, A Twist of Faith is a book for them. The Mitchell’s Crossroads series confirms Pepper’s tagline- Blue Ridge romance peppered with grace and humor. Its light-hearted feel with deep spiritual elements blends romantic tension, humor, and redemption in a tight braid of a heartwarming story. Expanding upon the unique and quirky Appalachian setting, this series showcases clashing cultures and gives a southern accent to classic tales.

Characteristics of the audience:

  • female fiction readers from their 20’s to their 40’s (I’ve even had readers in their 50s and 60s enjoy this)
  • buyers of fiction by Jenny B. Jones, Tamara Leigh, Janice Hanna Thompson, Laura Jensen Walker, Sandie Bricker, Denise Hunter, and Rachel Hauck.
  • readers of historical romance, particularly medieval periods due to the historical subplot
  • readers who enjoy humor and quirky characters
  • people who enjoy romantic comedy/dramas like Kate & Leopold, Pride & Prejudice, Emma, No Reservations, Leap Year, While You Were Sleeping, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. 
  • readers who want to read about how God gives second chances and the healing power of forgiveness
3. Manuscript: how long is your work and is it complete? If you are unpublished, you must have a complete manuscript to be considered
4. Comparables: How is your book like what is already out there? It can be similar in voice, tone, theme, or style. You need to list 3-5 examples and describe how each one is similar.
Here are some examples:
Once Upon a Prince and Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck, published by Zondervan (2013, 2014, respectively) -  ATOF is similar to Rachel’s books because of the sweet, endearing romance and culture clashes.
Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade, published by Bethany House (2014) The romantic tension and deep spiritual thread of Becky Wade’s newest release is similar to A Twist of Faith’s storyline.
Made to Last by Melissa Tagg, published by Bethany House (2013) The locale of Asheville with its delicious small-town appeal is similar to my novel.
Weddings by Bella series by Janice Hanna Thompson published by Revell (2010)
This series takes the plight of a young woman’s infant wedding planning business and follows her romantic relationship – while including her quirky and loveable Italian family. The large and ‘intrusive’ family in Janice Thompson’s book is similar to the one in Here to Stay.
Love Starts with Elle by Rachel Hauck, published by Thomas Nelson (2008)
A small town girl struggles with feelings of insecurity from a previous relationship but finds an unexpected romance in Rachel Hauck’s sweet story – and this is similar to my heroine’s insecurities and unexpected romance.
5. Bio: who are you and why are you qualified to write this book? It's usually about a 1/2 of page and "if you're attractive include a picture" Chip says. Edie Melson had a great post on bio writing a few months ago, here.
6. Marketing Info: All your 'platform' stuff goes here. FB, Twitter followers, social media, blog, organizations...etc. It should be between a 1/2 page to a full page.
Here's an example:
The Author’s Tribes:
Facebook Friends: 1174
Twitter Followers: 937
Website and Blog:
Words Seasoned With Salt has been a great blog to promote writing, host reviews, and inspire. I have an average of 200 visits per day. Many published authors have been guests on my blog – such as Julie Lessman, Mary Connealy, Rachel Hauck, Ruth Logan Herne, Siri Mitchell, and Janice Thompson.
I am the creator (and regular contributor) to The Writers Alley – a group writing blog hosted by 10 aspiring authors. It was created three years ago and have over 600 subscribers. The average hits is 1000 per day.
I am a regular contributor to Christian Fiction Online Magazine and have guest blogged on the popular writing blog, Seekerville. I have been published in ACFW’s Afictionado.
Though most of my presentations are about my profession in Speech-Language Pathology (and mostly related to Autism Spectrum Disorders), I have spoken at women’s conferences on various topics from God’s redemption throughout generations to God’s unique plan for our lives. I have also spoken for writers groups.
I have been a member of the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for over four years, a Revell reviewer for three, and have developed a ‘following’ from my guest blog posts and these articles.
My first nonfiction article, Start Talking 101, was published in Momsense magazine in January 2010.
I am active on social media sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
7. Your writing. This is where the editor or agent will probably look first before viewing anything else. You'll include 40-50 pages of your manuscript.
Okay - what do you write best about this part of the proposal? Where do you struggle? Let's chat!



Jeanne Takenaka said...

Wow, Pepper, I love your explanation and your examples. Being a visual person, this really helps. :) I can't wait to read one of your books!

Ashley Clark said...

LOL- "And if you're attractive, post a picture." Oh, Chip.

This is so helpful! In that audio workshop I listened to by Robin Jones Gunn (I know, I know-- I keep talking about that non-stop!) she mentions target audiences, and while I always include that in my proposal, I've never really given much thought to giving a FACE to my audience. I think it's oh-so-helpful to actually imagine who you are writing to. Makes the writing easier and the dreams bigger.

Thanks for these posts, Pep! They are VERY helpful for me! Proposals are one of the things I most struggle writing.

Ashley Clark said...

Jeanne, I've had the privilege of reading Pepper's work, and let me just say, you are going to LOVE it!!!

I'm sure I speak for all of us at the Alley when I say we can't wait to see YOUR name in print too! :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Dang Pep, your bio rocks!!!! Great stuff!

Susanne Dietze said...

Very helpful post. Thank you! Proposals can be so tricky and I appreciate the visuals. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm a visual learner too - LOVE examples. So glad this was helpful


Anonymous said...

I love you!! Thanks for the encouragement. Proposals are tough. I always have trouble trying to 'sell myself' in it. Feels weird


Anonymous said...

THanks, Ames

Love you!! WE really need to chat soon


Anonymous said...

So glad this was helpful!