How to Draft a Book Proposal to Publish your Book

After writing a book, the next step is to publish it. At that moment, a long and hard journey to find the perfect publishing house begins and, as part of that journey, it’s necessary to draft a great book proposal.

First and foremost, we need to contact a publishing house that can market our work and, to do that, we need to carry out exhaustive research of the publishing houses available in the book market. These companies have distinct interests and goals and seek to attract particular audiences.

Now that you’re done writing, it’s time to ask yourself what characteristics your book has and, according to that, to write down a list of those publishing houses most suitable for it.

Once you have that list, it’s time to contact them. But wait! Don’t just send your manuscript. Generally, publishing houses receive so many books that it’s impossible for them to read every manuscript that comes their way without knowing what the book is about beforehand.

What Should the Structure of a Book Proposal Be Like?

Here’s when sending a good book proposal makes the difference to get your book published. A book proposal is a document that summarizes all the key elements of your work. In this way, publishers can make out what the book is about and, if they are interested, they will go on to read the complete book.

Now, let’s talk about the format of a book proposal:

  • Book Title
  • Author information: It should include the name, phone number, email address, and other relevant information.
  • Book overview: It’s the book’s essence. In around 3 pages, you should explain the most important elements of your book to the publishing house.
  • Table of contents: In this section, you should write down the names of each one of the chapters. You can also include a brief description of each of them.
  • Author résumé: Be sure to mention other literary works you’ve written and any other jobs or academic background you consider relevant. You can also add the link to a website or digital portfolio.
  • Writing sample: This is a fragment of a chapter so that the editor can see what your style is. It shouldn’t be longer than 15 pages!
  • Sales and marketing plan: To convince the publishing house that your book is profitable, it’s important to establish how interested the audience is on these topics and how you plan on distributing and promoting your book.
  • References: It is helpful to include other people’s commentary or reports on your book.

More Advice to Draft a Book Proposal

Don’t overestimate the power of a book proposal! Once you’re done writing your book, you should concentrate your efforts on selling it in the best way that you can, and this document can be the doorway to its publication.

Even if this is your debut as an author, the best thing is not to seem like a rookie. Sometimes, unpublished manuscripts get to the publishing houses with countless spelling mistakes and this can be enough to discard them. Any mistake could make them discard yours, too! That’s why you should make as many revisions and proofreadings as possible. Besides, a good idea is to send all the material in one Microsoft Word or PDF document. The text should be readable and the document should be as clean as possible, without any kind of ornament. To emphasize certain parts of the text, you can use bolds and italics where appropriate.


Now that you’ve learned to make a great book proposal, it’s up to you to draft it and send it. Publishers will get in touch with you if they’re interested in your proposal. In that case, they will ask you to send the whole manuscript to fully evaluate your work.

It may be a while before the first publishing house replies to you, but it’s essential to be persistent. If you have quality content between your hands and your interest in publishing is genuine, the moment for your book will come sooner than later!

If you still have doubts about how to prepare an effective proposal, you can get in touch with Palabra. We write on demand, edit, correct, and design book interiors and covers. Besides, we can help you with the publishing process by drafting your book proposal, researching the best publishing houses for your book, and contacting them about it.

Translated by: @paulanaominakagawa

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