It could be the key to mar­ket­ing your busi­ness and advanc­ing your career.

4 min read

Opin­ions expressed by Entre­pre­neur con­trib­u­tors are their own.

You know that pub­lish­ing a book could expo­nen­tial­ly grow your busi­ness. It can bring you more sales, more fame and launch you into a new indus­try as a speak­er or con­sul­tant. In essence, it can give you the brand name need­ed to make your dreams come true.

That said, you prob­a­bly also know that self-pub­lish­ing should be your very last option, because it is fraught with prob­lems and con games and costs mon­ey out of your pock­et. But how do you get a legit­i­mate pub­lish­er inter­est­ed in your non­fic­tion book? (Note: this is not about pub­lish­ing your nov­el. I know noth­ing about that!) You’re going to need two things: an excel­lent pro­pos­al and a strong mar­ket­ing plan.

Read This: Ulti­mate Guide to Plat­form Build­ing | Ama­zon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | IndieBound

A non­fic­tion book pro­pos­al is to the pub­lish­ing indus­try what a busi­ness plan is to ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists, and for the same rea­son: You’re try­ing to get a com­plete stranger to invest their mon­ey in your dream. Along with two sam­ple chap­ters, it should cov­er these five basic parts:

1. The Overview

Where you out­line your cre­den­tials, your abil­i­ty to sell this book and a lit­tle about its con­tent.

2. Your Bio

Who you are why you are the right per­son to write this book.

3. Competitive Analysis

Proof that sim­i­lar books exist and are sell­ing well, but that yours is still vital­ly impor­tant to pub­lish.

4. Chapter Summaries

A loose out­line of what you intend to include and the order in which you might present it.

5. Marketing Plan

How you will ally with your pub­lish­er to sell a gazil­lion books in record time.

Relat­ed: Why Every Entre­pre­neur Should Write a Book

That last bit, the mar­ket­ing plan, is what trips up most would-be authors who think their idea is so bril­liant that it will mag­i­cal­ly rise to the sur­face. But there are mil­lions of books in print, with a mil­lion-plus more self-pub­lished every year. (Although it’s true a lot of those dread­ful self-pub­lished books are about people’s painful child­hoods or the sto­ry of their cat chan­nel­ing the secrets of the uni­verse.) Get­ting in a posi­tion where your book actu­al­ly ful­fills your busi­ness goals is called “build­ing a plat­form,” as out­lined in my most recent book with Entre­pre­neur Media, The Ulti­mate Guide to Plat­form Build­ing. While I think you should imme­di­ate­ly buy your­self a copy and read it six times until you can recite it (and, please, alsoo give one to every­one you know), I’ll share some select tips right here.

1. Your mar­ket­ing plan, or plat­form, should be aligned with your spe­cif­ic goal, be it sell­ing more stuff, grow­ing a speak­ing career, etc.

2. You should do the things you’re nat­u­ral­ly good at, which is like­ly not every­thing. Focus on your strengths.

3. You will ben­e­fit most by being log­i­cal in your mar­ket­ing efforts. Spread­ing your­self too thin finan­cial­ly or time-wise will cause you to burn out and ulti­mate­ly defeat the pur­pose of being a pub­lished author.

4. A legit­i­mate pub­lish­er will help you to super­size your marketing/platform build­ing, but they will not cre­ate it for you. They can help you make it grow, but you need to have things in process already.

5. A book is the sin­gle great­est imag­in­able tool, but like all tools, you have to use it to cre­ate a result.

Your jour­ney to a con­tract with dis­tin­guished pub­lish­ers like Pen­guin Ran­dom House, Haper­Collins, McGraw Hill, Entre­pre­neur or Simon & Schus­ter depends on tak­ing the right steps in the right order. The sys­tem works if you work it, and dis­ap­points if you don’t. Write a pro­pos­al, get an agent, exe­cute your  mar­ket­ing plan and watch the results flow in fast.

Wendy Keller is a lit­er­ary agent with 18 New York Times best sell­ers to her agency’s cred­it. She has closed more than 1,700 deals for authors and speak­ers world­wide and trained more than 25,000 authors on how to craft a book pro­pos­al that can sell to a pub­lish­er via To pitch your non­fic­tion book to Keller Media, vis­it  



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