In the last article, we discussed the importance of a publishing proposal. Now you know that you should be sending a proposal before sending your full manuscript. So what should a publishing proposal contain? Today we will see the prerequisites of a publishing proposal. The following should be sent in different files instead of a single document, unless the publishers demands so.

  1. Synopsis

The synopsis is the brief account of the story or poems or the matter discussed, if the book is a non-fiction. You should take ample care that the synopsis should not be too long that the one who assess it would be world-weary before completing it. The synopsis should ideally contain a word count of 400-600. If the publisher specifically asks for a detailed synopsis, you can go for it. Make sure not to reveal the climax unless the publisher asks for the same.


  1. First two – three chapters.

You should be sending the first three chapters if the publisher prefers but if nothing is mentioned specifically, you can send the best-written chapter but not random ones. If you are starting with the fifth chapter, it should be in an order 5, 6, 7. It is ideal if you send the first three chapters. If the book is a collection of poetry or short stories, you should add any three of the same.

  1. Author Bio

Author bio is a tool to tell the publisher what you really are. You need not send the details of the school you studied or organization you worked. Publishers would be interested in your contribution to the literary world, if any, which would help in marketing the book. If you have a blog, or if you have published any of your works, you should add the details of the same. Author bio should speak highly about the capability and credibility of the author, which would excite the reader.

  1. Covering Letter

You should not miss out this part even if the publisher did not particularly ask. A covering letter should be drafted impeccably so that the person who analyses the proposal should be forced to go through the whole documents. If your covering letter itself contains grammatical errors and typos, publishers might not be interested in the book.

  1. Concept Note

Many publishers would not ask for the same but it is ideal add a concept note, which briefly describes why, when and how the book happened in brief words. You should state the main message behind the book, if any.


  1. Target Audience and marketing strategies.

This part helps in self-publishing in particular. Nevertheless, these days, traditional publishers also ask for the target audience and marketing strategies. As we all know, many of the bestselling authors did intensive marketing on their own, to promote the book. Hence, the publishers would be pulled towards your book if you have a well-worked marketing policy.

  1. Chapter Outline

A good chapter outline helps the publishers to have an overall idea about what to expect from the full manuscript. The chapter names should be named so that you should able to generate interest.

  1. Competitive Analysis

A competitive analysis of a book of the same make will help in telling the publisher as to how your book can do better than a book of similar make but if the competitive analysis is not done carefully, it might backfire and demote your book.


While the first three points are the prerequisites of preparing a proposal, the rest of the points help you in making your proposal stand out but you should do thorough homework for the same.

A bad proposal will kill the chances of publishing your book even if your book is perfectly written

In case you missed, read the below articles:

6 Things To Do While Approaching A Publisher

7 Things To Do Before Approaching A Publisher For Your Book

Why not start writing a book,

Check How To Write A Convincing Thriller

Also do check Books We Are Reading In January 2016


Rakhi Jayashankar

Rakhi Jayashankar

Author at MerryBrains
Rakhi was born in a small town in Kerala. Born and brought up as a quintessential small town girl, she had always been ambitious and goal-oriented. After her masters in Biotechnology and Business Administration, she joined as an HR recruiter in a consulting firm. Her eight year old love life blossomed into marriage in 2010 and she joined her husband's family business. Blessed with two children, she is a full time mother and a writer. Her passion for literature made her the author of the poetry collection Un-assuaged- The blossoms of my imaginations.

She started writing her blog Outset- Rakhi Jayashankar's Blog The blog which started off as a collection of articles, switched into a reviewing blog, owing to the unending requests from new authors. Thus she ended up as a reviewer of books on behalf of both authors and publishers.

With a surge of new ideas and articles slithering through the mind, Rakhi tries to entertain and educate the mass of followers.
Rakhi Jayashankar