This week’s chat topic is writing series proposals! #RWchat co-host Robin Lovett talks here about the skills needed for writing proposals, and why they’re necessary for authors to learn.
Before writing the book, starting with the blurb and synopsis is my new favorite way to do things.
Now that I know how, that is.
Most of us, when we write our first book (or two) haven’t yet learned how to write a blurb or synopsis. But once you’ve learned how, once you’ve figured out how to concisely communicate your book’s contents in condensed format, it makes writing the book inevitably easier.
Start with the blurb, which is 2-3 paragraphs that give tantalizing glimpses of your characters, their individual flaws and conflicts, including the overall external plot of the book and why the reader should keep reading.
Next comes the synopsis—a three page or more description of your story. You can have your CPs read through it to help you identify plot holes and character inconsistencies before you’ve written the entire book. It can save you from massive rewrites. The synopsis is a three page or more description of the journey of your characters and your plot. It identifies the progression of tensions and goals of your story on the way to that HEA.
Knowing how to write blurbs and synopses is a must-have skill for pursuing traditional publishing. You’ll need them for querying, but you’ll also need them if you ever decide to do a book proposal. They can be for published or unpublished authors.
Open calls for proposals for unagented writers come all the time. Carina Press has a couple going on right now.
It also applies once you have an agent and a few books published. Because when you’ve established a trust with your agent and editors that you’re capable of writing a great book, you’re eligible to get book contracts on proposal. It’s an open secret that many contracts are signed on proposal. Most established authors never write their books before they’re contracted.
The proposal consists of: a book blurb/description, a synopsis of three or more pages, and the first three chapters or 30-50 pages. Exact lengths depend on the publisher, and can sometimes be more or less. If there’s an option, a series proposal is ideal. Getting contracts for multiple books keeps you publishing for longer and gets more books out for sale. In that case, there will be multiple blurbs: a series blurb and blurbs for books two, three, or even four, depending on the breadth of your series.
Even if you aren’t submitting a proposal, if you’re planning a series for self-publishing, it’s a good idea to have a series plan. Then you don’t get to book three and realize you should’ve done things differently in book one to make book three the best it can be.
But as far as submitting proposals to publishers, it’s a great way to find out if your idea is of interest to the editors before spending months writing the book. Writing proposals is a skill. At first they can take a month or more, but once you get the hang of it, you can learn to get one out in two weeks or less, which makes for a much higher rate of getting contracts, book sales and beyond.
No matter what stage of your career you’re at, work on writing those blurbs and synopses. The skills are invaluable, and you will use them again.
Robin Lovett writes romance to avoid the more unsavory things in life, like day jobs, housework, and personal demons. When not reading with her cat, she’s busy writing sexy books which may or may not involve anti-heroes, aliens or both. Her dark romance series is published through SMP Swerve, and her upcoming sci-fi erotic romance series will be released through Entangled Publishing in 2018. She’s represented by Rachel Brooks at BookEnds Literary agency. You can always find her on Twitter or Facebook @LovettRomance. www.RobinLovett.com