• Sally Collings

More sell, less tell.


Nine times out of ten, I see authors making one catastrophic error in their book proposals.

After your cover page and list of contents, the first section of your book proposal is the book overview.

This is your “essence de livre,” if you like to mangle the French language.

It’s where you capture the heart of your book and why a literary agent or commissioning editor should grab the chance to jump on this particular train.

Your book overview may be a thousand words, or it might be twice that long. (Rarely more.) However many words it takes, its sole purpose is to draw an agent or an editor in, and sell them on the concept—and on you as an author they really, really want to engage with.

Most times, I see authors using their book overview as an opportunity to describe their book: telling the story if it’s a memoir, outlining the ideas if it’s narrative non-fiction.

So what’s wrong with that?

They’re focusing on the “what,” not the “why.”

How to fix it?

Understand that the purpose of your book overview is to persuade and entice.

More sell, less tell.

If you’re wrestling with your book proposal, let’s talk about how I can help. Check out my website to find out more, and get in touch today.