How to write a book proposal
Once again, every category (mine is non-fiction craft), agent, publisher, editor is different and is seeking different things in their proposal. If you’re working with an agent, it’s probably best to flush out your proposal with them as they will know how to best pitch it.
Topic of your book
My agent sent me a few examples of other book proposals she found to be exemplary so I modeled mine after that. I didn’t have a SUPER flushed out idea for what Craft the Rainbow was going to turn into. In fact, it took me quite awhile to figure out what my book topic should be. I went over a number of ideas before landing on Craft the Rainbow, but ultimately, it seemed like it was a good time and I knew there was a lot of interest because the hash tag was so well engaged.
My agent agreed with the topic and thought the editors would be most interested in it as well so it was a go!
My Book Proposal from Craft the Rainbow
For this post, I retrieved my original book proposal and yikes! Nothing makes you more humble than your past, eh? I mean, I guess I had a blurry photo on the front page??? So embarrassing!
I’m going to copy/paste directly from my proposal and add in some edits so you can see how it changed into what it is today.
Here’s the cover page:
And then I added in some photos to support the theme, which came from the #CrafttheRainbow hashtag.
Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Projects for Every Shade of the Rainbow.
Edited: This title changed to Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects from The House That Lars Built.
Bio of the author: I wrote in my bio and bragged up a storm! But this is where you need to do it!
About the Book:
Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Projects for Every Shade of the Rainbow, is a craft book based on a popular project I created in September of 2014 on Instagram: #CraftTheRainbow. The project culminated in over 13,000 (and counting) [edited: now over 150k] entries of a colorful rainbow of materials and craft projects from readers all over the world.
The book will feature 40 craft projects, each made from a different type of tool or material, (“ie: dried flowers, crepe paper, crochet hooks, cardstock, yarn, butcher paper, knitting needles, balloons). Collectively, they will present a full-spectrum rainbow.
- Each project/color in the book will be introduced by a solid color of the rainbow with various general craft materials in the featured color for that project, (ie: orange craft materials on an orange background), so that when readers flip through they will literally see a full-spectrum rainbow
- Following the color introduction page, each specific craft will be introduced with a page fea- turing the relevant tools/materials for that craft in the appropriate color.
- While inspired by the blog, all the projects will be new content
- The projects are meant for a novice crafter who likes to try a bit of everything
- Each project will be accompanied by a step by step tutorial
- An appendix will provide templates, resources, and definitions
- In sum: 40 colors, 40 rainbows made from tools or materials, 40 new content crafts
The cover will feature an array of colorful crafting supplies comprising a complete rainbow spectrum. Each project will be announced by 1) the solid background craft page on the recto 2) the tool/materials on the verso 3) The final project on the following recto 4) step by step tutorial on the verso and repeated throughout the book.
The book will be eye-catchingly bright and colorful and will attract the attention of both non-crafters and crafters through the wonder of compelling content, clever design, and neat/ crisp aesthetics.
My notes: This stayed very true to how it turned out!
Press and Collaborations
My notes: This is where brag again! Include every time you’ve been in the news or a publication along with who you have worked with. It shows legitimacy!
My notes: These days, a lot of publishers like to sign up people with large social media platforms because they are *usually* guaranteed an audience. So this section is where you include your stats on all your platforms.
About The House That Lars Built:
My notes: Here’s a section about my company, its history and relevancy.
Plans for growth:
My notes: This section is for including what your business plan is for the future. It’s nice to know that you’re in it for the long haul!
Marketing and Sales:
The secret is that not all book publishers will spend too much money on marketing (it’s so weird!) and rely on their authors to spearhead. If marketing is not your thing, make sure to find a publisher who guarantees you some marketing money! Otherwise, it’s up to you to make sure that there’s a plan, that they are going to support you in this plan, and that you start early!
My notes: List all books that are either similar or in the genre.
Table of Contents:
With a focus on 40 craft projects and 40 colors, the table of contents is simple: 40 colors, 40 rainbows, 40 craft projects. Craft materials arranged in colors would be represented with the following 40 colors:
1. blush pink 2. coral pink 3. hot pink 4. fuschia 5. deep red 6. fire truck red 7. red orange
8. burnt orange 9. orange 10. peach 11. cantaloupe 12. mustard 13. lemon 14. bright yellow 15. yellow green 16. lime green 17. bright green 18. kelly green 19. grass green 20. peacock green 21. emerald green 22. olive green 23. green blue 24. teal 25. mint 26. denim 27. periwinkle 28. cornflower blue 29. bright blue 30. navy 31. plum 32. purple 33. orchid 34. lavendar 35. white 36. grey 37. black 38. gold 39. silver 40. All the colors combined
My notes: Originally I was going to have every project be a different color of the rainbow. The final format was that there were 9 chapters divided my color and three projects per chapter except the rainbow chapter which had like 16 of them. The first project was a monochromatic palette and the other two featured additional colors.
My notes: I gave some ideas of projects that I was considering back before I was only going to stick with paper.
- crochet hooks | simple quilt
- yarns | scarf
- embroidery threads | embroidered collar
- crepe paper | paper flowers in rainbow glass vases (this one actually made it in!)
- origami paper | origami mobile
- buttons | button garland
- stamps | organization system used on tabs
- cardstock | hanging planters
- tisse paper | rainbow presents
- vellum | paper plants
- fabric | friendship bracelet rug
- ink | rainbow pillowcase
- dye | rainbow ombre tablecloth
- acrylic paint | painted people on wood finials
- watercolor | rainbow watercolor floormat
16. party supplies | a rainbow party
17. chalk | rainbow art on a chalkboard wall 18. pressed flowers | Scandinavian design art-
- butcher paper | oversized flowers for outdoor event
- plastic flatware | dinnerwar display
- cellophane | candy light walkway
- seamless photography paper | oversized gar-
land for a staircase
- honey comb | party sticks with honeycombs
- confetti | confetti candy bombs
- twine | wrap gifts with colorful twine
- ribbon | line a dress with ribbons
- clay | rainbow bowl
- artificial flowers | partially plaster dipped
- fresh flowers |
- stickers | rainbow wrapping paper
- paint chips | business card holder
- recycled t shirts | rainbow rag rug
- threads | make up case with rainbow stitching
19. balloons | rainbow balloon arch
20. scissors | rainbow snowflake backdrop
21. sequins | colorful sequins on a blouse or bag 22. glitter | rainbow shoes
- paper straws | rainbow chandelier
- spray paint | rainbow envelope liner
- washi tape | paper boxes with washi outlines
I received some feedback from my agent about things to change, and then changed the title and a few things to focus more on paper, like I mentioned, but mostly it stayed pretty true.
Using the Book Proposal
As you might have seen from the book itself, the more I worked on Craft the Rainbow, the more it came to form its own identity so while this was a foundation for the book, I didn’t have to stick to it at all costs. My editor was super flexible and I talked with her the whole time to make sure she was on board with it.
Based on the proposal, it gave a pretty direct idea of how the book would be and I think it’s pretty true. But you can let me know your thoughts 😉
Let me know if you have any questions! Happy to answer!