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January, 2008

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Before You Write A Book Proposal
Fitting your round book into the square hole of getting it published
By  Priscilla Y. Huff

Take a deep breath and research your market before you take the leap to publish.
ublishers receive thousands of queries and book proposals each year, so here are some tips to help you increase your chances of having your book query or proposal considered:

1. First, look in bookstores and public libraries for publishers of books on the topics you wish to write about and make a listing of those that best “fit” your subject matter or genre. Search, too, in annual market guides like the Writer's Market or the Children’s Writers & Illustrators Market annual — also available at bookstores or the reference section of your public library.

2. Make a list of these publishers and then research the kinds of books they publish — go online to see if they post their current book list; or write for a current book catalog (they may ask for money for postage).  Many publishers also post their authors’ submissions guidelines on their sites.

3. Look and read some of the books they publish to analyze the format, length, graphics and illustrations used, and other pertinent details.

4.“Test-market” your subject. Talk to people who know the genre for which you are writing. For example, if you wish to write children’s books, speak with the children’s librarian of your local public library and teachers for some ideas what children are currently reading or asking for. Ask children their opinions and spend as much time as possible with the age of children for whom you are writing so you will understand what interests them, makes them laugh, their fears and their other concerns. Attend writing conferences and speak to publisher representatives and/or editors.

5. Then if you think your book would "fit" a publisher’s line of books, go online or send a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a copy of their author's submissions guidelines.

6. Next, find the name of a current acquisitions editor to whom you can address your query. Usually you can just telephone the publisher’s main switchboard number and ask the name of the current editor that handles that specific genre or category of books. Check also in your public library’s reference section for a current copy of the Literary Marketplace for publishers’ staff names.

7. Query that editor (let her know if your are contacting any other publishers) with a one-page letter and ask if she is interested in seeing a proposal. Make sure you include a short bio of your experience and your publishing credits (books, e-books, published articles or other samples of your writing that are applicable). And, perhaps the most important of all, include details about how your book will be different from others like it.

8. If they want a proposal, the editors usually like an outline, a few sample chapters, and ideas (very important!) about how you would market your book.

That's about it. It’s a very tough publishing world. Just do not give up!! You will eventually find a publisher for your work if you keep trying and perfecting your writing style.IN Icon

Priscilla Y. Huff is a freelance business writer/author of articles, books, and information on small and home-based businesses, specializing in women’s entrepreneurship topics. For 17 years, she has operated her home-based business, Little House Writing & Publishing, offering all manner of services for small businesses.  She is the author of the best-selling book, 101 Best Home-Based Businesses for Women, 3rd ed., (a Literary Guild book club selection) and seven other business and professional books.Huff welcomes business-related questions and feedback at and

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Bald Ego
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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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