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I greatly enjoy evaluating book proposals for clients. I have learned that most writers underestimate what they will/can do to promote their book once it is published.Writers need to keep in mind that publishers know they can publish a lot of books well, but the unknown factor in a book’s success is how much the author will do to make the book successful. It’s extremely important to show everything you will do to promote and publicize your book in your book proposal. If you’re unfamiliar with my book proposal evaluations, click on


Two clients, co-authors and sisters, Pam Pearce and Beth Manning, wrote a book proposal for When the Water Breaks, the Bubble Bursts, a “real life” look at pregnancy and parenting. Since their proposal was weak in the “Author Promotion” section, I advised them to do the following:


I suggest that you read and incorporate ideas from the following two books: 1001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer and Guerilla Marketing for Writers by Michael Larsen. Also, most agents will want to see that you currently have an active speaking schedule. I suggest that you set up some of your workshops and seminars and not wait until the publication of the book; this will help establish you as experts.


I highly recommend that you publish articles on your topic as soon as possible, so you can include them as part of your proposal. Consider submitting an article to the “My Turn” column in Newsweek. Write articles for parenting magazines and newsletters. Published clips from a major magazine will greatly enhance the strength of your proposal.


Both of you should think about how to develop a “platform” (visibility through workshops, seminars, articles, TV, and radio, so that people will view you as “experts”). By developing your platform, you will have a pre-existing audience of people ready to buy your book. A solid platform is the reason why it’s relatively easy for celebrities to get published. If you don’t have the platform at the time you start circulating your proposal, make sure the marketing and publicity section of your proposal is especially strong.


Also, I encouraged them to get booked on “AM Northwest” (a major Portland television talk show) and on local radio programs. Pam and Beth are such dynamos! They reported that in less than two weeks after receiving their book proposal evaluation, indeed, they would be appearing on “AM Northwest” along with best-selling author Heidi Murkoff (What to Expect When You’re Expecting series). This was excellent! It also gave them a perfect opportunity to ask Ms. Murkoff if she would be willing to look at their book for a possible endorsement.


Additionally, Pam and Beth reported they now have included the following activities in their book proposal:



The above is a small portion of the activities that will be listed in their revised book proposal. Agents and publishers will be very impressed!


Pam Pearce and Beth Manning made the following comment about my book proposal evaluation service:


“June Cotner gave us many great ideas about what we would need to include in our book proposal. Her insight and expertise gave us a sense that selling our book will be possible. The evaluation was exactly what we needed. June’s help was invaluable!”


I’d like to share the experiences of another client, Molly Srode. Her book, Creating a Spiritual Retirement, was published in 2003. As with Pam and Beth, I gave Molly many ideas about what she would need to include in her book proposal. The following is a partial list of the “Author Promotion” activities from Molly Srode’s book proposal:



I knew agents and editors would be thrilled to see how much Molly was willing to do to promote her book, even though she didn’t have a pre-existing “platform” in place. Indeed, they were delighted, and Molly mentioned that one agent said it was the best book proposal she had ever seen.


Molly Srode made the following comment about Book Proposal Services:

“I don’t think I would be published today if it were not for the help I received . . . June taught me about every phase of the book proposal, and then coached me as I worked on my own proposal . . . When my query letter was sent out, I had at least eight requests from publishers to see the proposal . . . It was the best money I could have spent in my writing career.”

At the time I worked with Molly, I had not yet developed my comprehensive book proposal evaluation. Now, I feel that with this service, clients will know exactly what is needed in their book proposals and most likely would need no further involvement on my part. My goal has always been to offer the greatest service for the least investment on the client’s part.


© 2010 June Cotner, publishing consultant and author of the bestselling Graces and Dog Blessings and 24 other books. PO Box 2765, Poulsbo, WA 98370


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