Sunday, 12 August 2012

Writing the Sample Chapters

This, of course, is a very important part of any book proposal as it shows your writing style to the publisher. Basically these sample chapters show that you can actually write and that you have a grasp of your subject matter.

Typically you would include two or three chapters from the middle of the book. The introduction is never included as this is both deemed too introductory and it is usually only written when the remainder of the book is done. Depending on your book's subject the first chapter might not be suitable either as this may be introductory as well (but it depends on the subject matter).

If your final chapter is conclusory in nature then including this is also a good idea. But, again, this will depend on the subject matter of your book.

For my first book proposal, I did not include complete chapters (as to do so would have meant writing the whole book before the proposal). Rather, I made selections from the contents of the first, second and third chapters that showed the contents, how the text would be laid out and revealed my style. For this book, which gave an ancient text and its translation using the standard sample chapter system was not suitable.

But whatever you do, make certain that you include sufficient text for your aims and your writing style to be evident. Just make certain that what you write is vibrant and that your personality comes through, as this is one of the distinguishing features of any book.

Congratulations, you have just written your first book proposal. If you went through this guide then you will have found out that it's not as onerous as many make it out to be. And keeping it structured actually helps you in the writing.

Print the text out, write your cover letter and send it off to your prospective publisher of agent and wait.

In the next (and final) section we will take a look at how to approach a literary agent.

Good luck to you in your publishing efforts!

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