Despite being an essential skill for a budding author, there is no real one-size-fits-all guide to crafting a proposal to pitch your work to a publisher or agent. Even just the thought of it is intimidating, putting yourself on the line to make a good impression that could help set the foundations of your career. There is no foolproof technique to landing every successful pitch, but we can help weather the storm.
Our team have years of experience in crafting pitches, tailor-made to individual publishers and agents based on research, anecdotal experience and good old-fashioned intuition. How long should the pitch be? Have I included too little detail, or too much? How do I write a logline? What titles should I reference? We will find the perfect balance of synopsis and panache, resulting in a professional, punchy and practical proposal that publishers and agents will want to read.
Top agents receive 50 submissions a day. Want to get to the top of the pile? Want to be taken seriously as a new author? We will pitch your project and you as a new writer and introduce you to our friends in the publishing scene as an author we support, acting as your editor or ghostwriter. We will represent you formally. With the right amount of development and flexibility in a proposal we can work to secure you an advance and get the ball rolling with a publishing contract whilst writing the rest of your book for you.
1. You share your idea. This might be a life story, piece of fiction or history book. You may have some supporting materials or even a first draft of a text. These foundational materials make up the archive of available resources we use to start creating your project.
2. Once we’ve launched and are underway, we’ll start to assess your work or discuss your idea. This will happen via workshops and inside Word documents as notes and comments. Gradually, we begin to get a handle with you on what your project is and with a clear understanding of your publishing goals, we’ll know where we are leading it. Once we know the ‘what’ and the ‘where’ we can start building the proposal document.
3. It starts to take form, self-arrange and there is no secret to this apart from consistency. Like any craft, it is about doing it, taking a step back, looking at it, and then going back in. Subject to your project’s needs, we’ll unpack the key details in it for you. That is, the right type of author bio that will suit your project, a winning tagline, even the right font and line spacing are important.
4. Typically, the proposal is a milestone that we pass through as we press on with the writing of the manuscript. The MS normally feeds back into the proposal (the writing of the book highlights matters that are latent in the proposal so one begins to feed and support the other). But you might not be commissioning us to write the full text, in which case we can start using the proposal to start submissions.
5. At some point either prior to the completion of the book in full or after (subject to our commission) we will start submissions. With us, this combines a traditional approach with the right cover letter to contacting our friends in publishing. The goal will be to get the right document into the hands of the right person at the right time to generate interest and to attempt to secure an advance.
6. Subject to the deal we help you strike, we will be involved or not. To a large degree, you have just paid us to help you produce an item that secures you some money. This advance can then be used to help pay us to help you write the rest of the book. The truth however is this – securing an advance for a new author who is not published, not represented and has no social media following is very rare, which is why the majority of our clients commission us to produce the full manuscript and en route to create this proposal document which is always being refined as we create the book. Writing can be quite explorative and non-linear so it is expected that we’ll be swinging between manuscript, proposal and workshops all the way into submissions.
What happens after we strike you a deal? What is a typical deal? Which publishing house will be right for you? Will we be there for you during production and launch? What are the continued author services? The first thing is to get the idea down, to walk before running and commit to the project with us. This means turning up for workshops, interviews, and providing feedback on the work we put down. The rest of it is all adventure but rest assured we will support you forward into the publishing scene, keeping the connection and hopefully helping you start your next book.