How to Write a Book Proposal…Advice Requested!
I’m putting together a book proposal and would love advice/feedback/comments from those of you who have been through this before. What is the most helpful thing someone told you when you started working on one? What did you learn from the process? What do you think is the most important aspect of the proposal?
Any comments and feedback welcomed!
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About Kathryn Crowther
Katy received her PhD in English with a certificate in Women's Studies from Emory University. Her work focuses on the relationship between 19th-century print culture and technology and the Victorian novel. She also writes about contemporary Neo-Victorian novels and Steampunk literature and culture. In both her teaching and her research she is very invested in the use of digital tools and in the broader applications of technology in the humanities.
I’d say the best piece of advice from the recent proposal-focused prof. dev. meetings is remember the first person to read your proposal most likely isn’t an academic professional, so avoid using a lot of academic jargon. I know that for my first draft of my book proposal, I used material from old abstracts and dissertation statements to write my chapter summaries, and the result was … just not good. You don’t have to dumb things down, but trying to appeal to a broader readership is definitely a good idea.
This is a matter of content and structure. One thing a couple of us noticed when we read our paragraphs aloud was a tendency to write up to the main idea of a chapter summary, instead of starting with the main idea.