Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Writing a Book Proposal Step Two - Annotated Outline
An annotated outline is an outline in which you write the first two to five paragraphs of each chapter and then outline the rest of the chapter. It gives the editors a good sense of your writing, of how you will follow up on what the table of contents promises. You don’t have to write all of the chapter, you do have to write enough to show your stuff. What is really important about the annotated outline is that it’s the first place where you truly begin to see problems if they’re going to occur. It answers questions like: Do you have enough material for a book (which isn’t so much of a problem with the digitals)? Can you write? Are your chapters balanced – are you interested in everything you’re talking about or did you add chapters because you thought you ought to and they don’t fit or you have only a page worth of information and it shouldn’t be a chapter. Suzy Prudden and I have sold books from conversations, from an outline on a yellow pad and from this kind of proposal. Believe me when I tell you that writing from an annotated outline is easier to sell and easier to write from. It leaves no room for miscommunication with an editor about what the content of the book is to be about. It’s incredibly important.