Monday, November 8, 2010

Book Proposals: Going the Extra Mile for Our Clients

By Martin Smith

Of all the writing services we provide, it strikes me that book proposals offer writers one of the best opportunities to serve our clients over and beyond the call of duty. Let me explain.

I recently completed a book proposal for the president of a management consulting firm whose specialty is applying behavioral applications in the workplace. One such approach focused on improving interactions and collaborations in group settings, specifically meetings that take place in business, academia, non-profit organizations, governmental bodies, and community organizations.

One of the venues the consultant had applied his methods to was a homeowners’ association meeting. If you’ve ever been to one of these meetings then you understand how chaotic and frustrating the experience can be. What gets done is often a function of who yells the loudest. The association president, a position rotated annually, often does not have the requisite organizational skills to conduct a meeting. Mass confusion reigns and it often gets in the way of rendering a decision in the interests of the homeowners.

In researching published books, I found dozens whose subject is improving group interaction and collaboration in a business setting. Literally dozens. I realized that the consultant’s chances of getting yet another one published were slim to none.

However, I could not find a single book that provided a definitive method to help association homeowners work through the task of producing tangible results without alienating participants. Based on that I persuaded the consultant to focus on subjects such as the homeowners’ association and other similar community meetings where ordinary citizens need to come together and resolve problems for the common good. He agreed to focus on that and drop the other applications. I wrote the book proposal and contacted two editors of large New York City publishing companies I’ve worked with before to test my assumption. They both thought the idea had merit and agreed to read the book proposal. Today the consultant is shopping the book around using an email query I wrote for him along with a targeted list of literary agents and publishers. One or both of the contacts I made for him may come through. But even if neither does, his chances of attracting other editors are now greatly improved because his proposed book is aimed at an unaddressed niche in the market.

Book proposals present abundant opportunities to help our clients. Writers in the Sky wants to provide each of our clients with the same invaluable service. Email Martin today at scribesmith2008 at gmail dot com.


Martin Smith is a retired small-company president who writes on business, management, and senior and health issues. The author of sixteen nonfiction books and six published novels, two of which were optioned for film, Martin has written articles for periodicals such as Quality Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Maximum Fitness, and INC. While working as a ghostwriter for Wordworks, a book packaging firm, he wrote three business/management books. He also worked as a career advisor for senior-level managers, preparing resumes, portfolios, and press kits for executives seeking to change jobs.

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