Although I do know a fellow mystery writer who managed to sell a new cozy series based only on a two page concept, I have heard of others who supply a synopsis plus the first few chapters as their form of proposal. An editor I spoke to in the romance genre said it was typical for a published author to do this rather than having to provide a completed manuscript (the reasoning being that they have proven their ability to complete a book already) but my own agent seemed to suggest that when venturing outside one's genre a writer might have to finish the book first before it could be 'sold' to a publisher.
So fellow killzoners, what has your experience been?
- Since your first publication (which almost always is sold on the basis of a completed manuscript) have you typically submitted proposals or completed works for future projects?
- If you use proposals, are these only to your own publisher or to other publishers too?
- What format do these proposals take? A short synopsis plus chapters, or a more detailed chapter outline, or something else?
- A friend of mine has a great proposal template that includes subtitles such as 'backdrop', 'hook', 'set up' and 'character snapshots' - do you use similar elements or just a short summary?
- If you were advising a newly published author in this regard, what would you tell them to bear in mind regarding proposals?
- How many books did you have published before you could typically get away with using a proposal rather than writing the entire thing?
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