What I Offer
I signed up hundreds of proposals as an acquiring editor, and I have reviewed thousands more. I know the qualities in a proposal that get a publisher’s attention, and I also know what you shouldn’t do. For years, I listened as publishing salespeople described how they sell books to their accounts, and I know what aspects of a book they find appealing. This is important because most editors today need the support of their marketing and sales departments to sign up a book. It is essential that your proposal meet those needs. With my help, your proposal will do that.
I have also seen almost every book proposal format anyone has ever thought of, and I will help you figure out which one best shows off the book you want to write.
Many book ideas need development, and I will help you craft yours into a thought-provoking argument or a finely crafted narrative. I have worked with many authors to develop their book ideas in ways that make them more successful editorially as well as more marketable for today’s book world.
In addition I will help you have the right tone for sales copy that convinces a publisher they must take on your book. Like a contractor laying down a foundation for a house, we will build a structure for your book that lets book editors visualize it immediately and that convinces them you are the one to write it. I will also walk you through the creation of a marketing section that describes your ability to promote the book, establishes your platform, and also includes an all-important comparison title section.
Early in my career, I assisted one of the legends of publishing, Alice Mayhew, and working for her taught me to be an expert line-editor. I go deep into your prose to understand its logic. While always maintaining your voice and style, I will bring clarity, strength and cohesion to your writing.
I emphasize relationships between sentences and paragraphs, and I place a strong emphasis on narrative flow. With nonfiction authors who are telling stories, I often advise them, “Your book needs to read like a compelling novel. But you just can’t make up anything!” This applies especially to anyone telling their own story.
I believe in outlines and also in knowing when to depart from them and go in another direction. (That’s called making a new outline!) Having analyzed hundreds of books, I understand their inner workings. I help authors structure their books and restructure them when the original plans stops working, all the while defining plotlines and central arguments. Even books of analysis can be enlivened by anecdote and narrative.
I love the art of designing a book’s interior and learned a great deal from the designers I befriended over the years. I can assess a book’s length and know how to translate manuscript length to finished book pages. I have worked with many authors to cut manuscripts that were too long, and I have been complimented for my ability to make strategic cuts and for my suggestions that led them to make cuts that carry little pain (or at least not long-lasting pain).
Fiction and Shorter Work
I have also worked with New York Times bestselling thriller writers such as Joseph Finder, Andrew Gross, Tim Dorsey and Dale Brown. And if you aren’t writing a book and need help with something shorter, I am here for you. I have worked with essayists and short-form journalists. An unrecognized skill – or is it a talent? – of an editor is the ability to write sales copy for the books we publish. I can help you create promotion copy that is sharp and snappy and sells your product.