Writing a Book Proposal | Avoid this easy mistake

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Everyone wants their book to find a huge audience. So it’s tempting to address the book to everyone in the whole wide world.

But a book proposal written to everybody will appeal to nobody.

If you’re writing a book proposal, think of three key people you REALLY want to read your book.

Let them be people who have slightly different interests.

I strongly recommend that you don’t settle on someone generic: “a person who does this” or “a person with that”. Think of an actual human being who fits the type. Someone with a name.


Someone who might, just conceivably, read the book one day. (But that’s not the point of this exercise.)

Now, write a book proposal that speaks directly to each of those three people.

Here and there, you may write a passage that will interest one of them more than the others – so make sure the others know you haven’t forgotten them.

If you feel like it, you could even name them while you write the first draft: “Liz, I know you’ve always wanted to know how to do X, or Y…”

Or, “Enrique, this is what happened after Z.”

Then when you revise your proposal, simply remove the names.


You may worry that by writing for this very narrow audience you will lose everyone else. But you won’t.

The book 84 Charing Cross Road was about letters exchanged between a book lover in the US and a UK bookseller. And yet it became a global smash, leading to a stage play and a film.

People read that book – as they will read yours – because people are nosey. They’ll like to “overhear” or pry into what you have to say on a topic they’re curious about.

If you want to discuss about a book proposal with me – sign up below and I’ll send you a bit more information.