You have a book idea. I have a passion for book proposals.
Work with the book proposal expert.
We'll aim for
Work with me and we’ll create a book proposal that draws the attention of the Big 5 book publishers—Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and Macmillan. With a little luck, we’ll get multiple offers.
Why aim for multiple offers?
Because to aim for any less is selling yourself short.
You’ve got a message to tell, and I’ve got the talent to package that message and get it in front of the people who matter: book publishers who crave new material for an insatiable market.
More than a decade ago, I learned a secret to writing book proposals that sell.
Early on, my job as an assistant editor for HarperCollins was to look through the slush pile of book proposals and find a diamond in the rough.
I reviewed hundreds of book proposals. Sadly, I rarely read more than a page before deciding the proposal wasn’t good enough to pass along to my boss.
That process taught me the secret to writing a book proposal that sells. A formula, really, in that your proposal must draw on six elements: concept, testing, competitive analysis, platform, path, and plan.
Leave out just one element and your proposal won’t make it past the first reader in a literary agency or publishing house. Leave out two, and that reader won’t get past the first page.
The Book Proposal Expert
I’m Sally Collings, a book proposal specialist.
I’d venture to say I know more about writing book proposals than most writers in the nation.
I started as an assistant editor in Sydney, later landing an editor gig in London, followed by a stint as a digital publisher. After a few years, I moved across town to work for a book production company. There, my role was to write book proposals—lots of them. The idea was to pre-sell a book concept to a publisher. Once sold, we’d produce the book. After writing more proposals than I can count, I'd become a master of the art.
Today, I live near San Francisco where I run my own one-woman firm, writing book proposals.
Who I Work With.
Leaders and changemakers.
I work with business owners, founders, adventurers, athletes, and others: authors with a compelling message, who are searching out one of the top book proposal writers in the nation.
I’m most drawn to business memoirs and personal leadership titles. These books are about innovation, persistence, character, and connection, revealing the many forms “success” can take.
The Big 5 publishers
In the last few years, I’ve written a dozen or more successful book proposals—Bulletproof, Identity Theft, Sophie's Journey, Parenting with Soul, and others. They have been acquired by world-leading publishers such as HarperCollins, as well as quality independent publishers such as Andrews McMeel and Post Hill Press.
Our goal, you and I, is to get multiple offers from several book publishers.
I know what you’re thinking. If the proposal is good enough to get a single agent or book publisher interested, well, that’s good enough.
Why? Because exceptional publishers demand exceptional proposals. They seek remarkable ideas told in new ways, showcasing an exceptional voice and an original structure, filled with triumphs, failures, revelations, and insights, from authors at the top of their game who have a magnetic appeal for readers.
My point: average won’t cut it.
average won't cut it.
Whether you are seeking a deal with one of the Big 5 or setting your sights on quality self-publishing, your book proposal must outshine the competition.
Getting the attention of an agent is hard. Finding a publisher willing to fork over tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars as an advance is even harder.
Nevertheless, that’s what you and I are shooting for.
"YOU ARE AMAZING. MANY THANKS FOR MAKING ME SOUND GREAT."
---Eva Fogelman, Pulitzer Nominee
Your book will live or die
on the strength of your
In the last ten years, my clients and I have won a bunch of awards: Walkley Award for Killing Fairfax; Kibble Literary Award nomination for Parenting With Soul; ABIA Biography of the Year shortlist for Never Say Die; and bestsellers Sophie’s Journey; Fat Dad, Fat Kid; Bulletproof; and The Long Road to Overnight Success.
And for all that success, here’s what I’ve learned.
No matter how great your story, your name recognition, or your social media platform, your book will live or die on the strength of your book proposal.
Lucky for you, I’ve created a proposal writing process guaranteed to grab the attention of the top publishers in the country.
So what’s my process? Here it is.
Let me share the six fundamental elements at the heart of every successful book proposal.
Develop your concept.
Your book concept will align with who you are, and what you’re inspired to accomplish.
What is your message, argument, or proposition?
What will your book do for its readers—what benefits, what problems solved, what changes in thinking or behavior?
You know you’ve clinched this when you can describe the unique offering of your book in one or two clear, explanatory sentences.
Test your concept.
Before you venture into the high-energy, high-risk arena of writing a book, test out your concept with the people who will become the audience for your book. Publish a feature-length article, conduct workshops, create a blog or podcast based on your message.
The benefits are many. You get to build your fan base; find out which parts of your book really appeal, and which need honing; and build a “proof of concept” for agents and editors.
Know your competition.
Read everything in your subject area that you can lay your hands on.
What other books do your readers have on their shelves? How do those books achieve their aims—through case studies, a sustained narrative, executable advice?
Read like an editor, assessing the competition like a pro.
Build your platform.
Once you have distilled your message, tested it, and assessed what else is on offer, it’s time to double down on connecting with your readers. You can do it in real life, online, and through media old and new.
This is about boosting your standing as an author. You want to reach a point where complete strangers (not best friends or blood relatives!) ask, “Are you writing a book? When can I buy it?”
Choose your publishing path.
Many authors hanker after a book deal with one of the Big Five publishing houses (HarperCollins, Penguin Random House etc.). But it’s not the only solution, or even the best one for every author.
You know you’ve got this covered when you can explain clearly which publishing path is right for you, how you will go about achieving it, and why it’s the best choice for you and your book.
Write a book proposal.
Here’s where we put it all together. A book proposal combines your commercial case—your concept, your audience, your competition, and your profile as an author—with your creative case—a chapter outline and sample chapters from your book. It is the persuasive document you will submit to agents and editors.
If self-publishing is your path of choice, you still need a book proposal as a blueprint for your publishing process (and success!).
How We Work Together.
Together, you and I will
create a book proposal that is unputdownable.
First, we'll talk on the phone—or if you're in the Bay Area, we can meet at my favorite local cafe (or yours!). We’ll work through my process—concept, competition, platform, and so on. We’ll talk about talents you bring to the table that set you apart from every other author in your market. We'll review the raw material you have: lectures, blog posts, articles.
Our plan, you and I, is to craft a proposal that gets a publisher’s attention within the first page, first paragraph, even the first sentence.
After a series of phone calls, email exchanges, and maybe a few text messages, I’ll gather up all that information and work my magic.
Next, I’ll have subject matter experts review the proposal, then send it off to line editors and proofreaders. In a matter of weeks, I’ll send you a polished proposal.
I’ll transform this jumble of notes on concept, genre, organizing principles, and so on into a sixty-page book proposal so good it’s unputdownable.
For the next 12 weeks, you get the full attention of a book proposal specialist. All for a simple flat rate of $20,000.
Choose me to write your book proposal and here’s what you get.
One-on-one collaboration with a book proposal specialist.
As many conversations as it takes to create a rare and exceptional proposal. Not to mention unlimited email and text communications.
Access to some of the finest line editors and proofreaders in the industry, professionals I have personally vetted and culled from the thousands hawking their wares on the internet.
Weekly updates on our progress.
And I’ll connect you with a handful of agent and editor contacts I have gathered over the years working with some of the best book publishers in the industry.
All this for a simple flat fee of $20,000.
Perhaps best of all, I’ll put it all together and deliver a dazzling book proposal in exactly 12 weeks.
Call me now and let’s get started.
The Book Proposal Expert
P.S. You won't find another writer with my passion for
Earlier in this invitation, I shared an inkling of my career in Sydney and London and San Francisco, years in which I read hundreds of book proposals and selected only the best to place on an editor’s desk.
What I didn’t tell you was that with each proposal I read, I had an intense desire to fix things.
If only I could offer a change here, a fuller explanation there, a tweak in the writer’s voice, something as simple as rewording an author bio, emphasizing experience and talents so unique they might inspire an editor to make an offer to publish.
At the time, I did no such thing.
Today, however, I get to do just that. I get to use all my experience and passion and channel it into your story and your book proposal.
Work with me, and together we’ll get your story in front of the right editor.
I TRULY VALUE YOUR TIME, CREATIVITY, AND EXPERTISE, SALLY. I COULDN'T AFFORD NOT
TO WORK WITH YOU.
---Mickey Rowe, Actor, Director, Autism Advocate
The Book Proposal Expert
1750 Meridian Ave #6141
San Jose CA 95150
I live and work not far from San Francisco. In fact, I consider myself a Bay Area local. If you're in the area, give me a shout and let's meet for coffee.
If you don't have time for a face to face, just pick up the phone and let's have a chat, or fill out the contact form below. Really, what do you have to lose?