the improv approach to publishing a book, chapter 2

[Our story continues from this post]

Ok, so before you go fishing for a book contract, you need to bait the hook.

First, we gathered up some of Nicole’s best projects…the ones we thought we be simple to explain, would photograph well, and were really original.

We snapped photographs ourselves, or we prevailed upon some very good friends to model and shoot.

With some lovely (though not necessarily book-quality) images in the can, it was time to get some words together. I found oceans of online info about writing nonfiction book proposals, most of them not all that helpful. This article by Peter Rubie is excellent, though, because it provides a page-by-page breakdown of what goes into a good proposal (Thanks, Peter, wherever you are!). Using it as a rough guide, we assembled the written pieces — including our bios, our thoughts about why are book is different from others on the market, and a proposed outline.

Because our book would (we hope) be a very visual experience, I really wanted to make our proposal into a pretty package. I designed some simple, colorful layouts to show off our project photos:

Creating the proposal took about a month from start to finish. In early September 2009, we bundled it all together in an 18-page pdf with a title page (publishers seem to prefer submissions via email these days). Because we were pitching only 25 jersey-knit projects (the scope would later grow… and GROW… to encompass 101 projects using many different fabrics), we gave it the snappy title, “Jersey Girl.” Perfect, because Nicole and I both have family in Jersey, and she still spends a lot of time there…

[next: the publishing house that got away]

(p.s. Do you have questions about assembling a proposal like this? Fire away…)

This entry was posted by Debra.

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