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  • J. J. Hanna

How to Write a Book Proposal

Updated: Jan 14

Hello everyone!

I want to give you a quick guide to writing book proposals.


I used to struggle with this, not sure how long to discuss each section or even what the sections should be. So, I wanted to help change that for you all as you go about trying to sell your books to traditional publishers or agents.

Understanding this post:

I will do my best to format this as you would want it formatted on a word document. However, some things don't translate as well.

  • A line divider signals a page break.

  • All of the numbers are replaced with the # symbol, so you can essentially copy and paste and plug the correct information in.

  • I occasionally leave notes to you or explanations in brackets.

  • Throughout the proposal, you should have a header starting on page two that includes the Title, your name, and your agent's name as well as page numbers.

Good luck!


[Centered, starting halfway down the page]



A [Genre] Novel of X0,000 words.


Your Name

[In the bottom right corner]

Agent Name

Agent email

Agent address

Agent phone number

Other contact info for the agent



One Sheet #

Author Biography #

Platform #

Publishing Credits #

Marketing and Promotion #

Comparable Books #

Target Market #

Synopsis #

Series Potential #

Sample Chapters #

[Just make this page look pretty and be informative]


[Title] is a [genre] novel proposed at X00000 words.


One sentence elevator pitch to grab readers attention, could also be a tagline.


Two to three paragraphs summing up your book in an engaging way.


One to two paragraphs about yourself.

[You can also include a photo of yourself here.]



Three to four paragraphs about yourself.


Past Speaking Credits:

A list of times you’ve spoken in front of audiences, including the date, location, and topic.

Online Media Presence: # total solo platform (everything combined)

Twitter: #

Instagram: #

Tumblr: #

Facebook: #

YouTube: #

Goodreads: #

Pinterest: #

Blog: #

Round these numbers to the nearest 10 or 100, depending on what it’s closest to.

Shared Platform:

Reach you gain from groups you’re part of or from people you’re connected to.

Publishing credits:

Any relevant publications you’ve had to prove your skills as a writer. (If you have publications, but they’re not relevant, include them anyway. If you have an online portfolio, link it here as well.)


A bulleted list of what you’re willing to do to help promote your book once it’s published.


5 books published within the last 5 years that have similarities to your own.

Title by Author

Publisher, date


Compare and Contrast paragraph

Title by Author

Publisher, date


Compare and Contrast paragraph

Title by Author

Publisher, date


Compare and Contrast paragraph

Title by Author

Publisher, date


Compare and Contrast paragraph

Title by Author

Publisher, date


Compare and Contrast paragraph


Primary Audience:

Secondary Audience:

Tertiary Audience:



1-3 pages, single spaced. Each time a new character is introduced, their name is CAPITALIZED. But only the first time. After that, you write it normally.


[Only include this if you hope to sell this as a series.]

Sentence summary of book one.

Book Two:

Paragraph summary of book two.

Book Three:

Paragraph summary of book three.



12 pt Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, double spaced.


That's it! You've done it! Congratulations! If you need any help with the comparable titles section, I tend to use either Amazon or Goodreads or both to find similar books and get a feel for their plots.

I hope this helps!

What else would you like me to help explain? Let me know on social media or in the comments below.


J. J. Hanna graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Professional Writing. She's currently working with literary agent Cyle Young, learning to be a literary agent, and working as a freelance writer and editor. To hire her for editing, writing, speaking, or consulting, see the services tab. In her free time, she can be found cuddling with a cat, reading the latest suspense novel, or filming YouTube videos about the publishing industry.

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