|I struggled to create this week’s newsletter. I started by writing about the Día de los Muertos celebration I attended last weekend, but that seems better suited to next week’s post.|
Then I thought about exploring the time change, or last night’s lunar eclipse, which is supposed to be bananas in a good sort of way, or the fact that today’s election day. But those things don’t have anything to do with the favor I’m about to ask.
So I’ve decided to be direct.
As many of you know, I’ve been working on a memoir about the heavy metal tour I traveled with in the wake of my brother’s suicide. Set to a grunge and heavy metal soundtrack, the book explores what happens when you believe you’re the antidote to your family’s sorrow. It’s also about how your internal stories can either harm or heal you. After a period of substantial revision, the book is finally ready for the querying process.
The typical query package includes a query letter and a certain number of sample pages. Every agent has their own submission guidelines. Some limit the pages you can send to ten or twenty-five. Others require a synopsis. A few want your book proposal.
If you’re not familiar with the term, a book proposal is a document that serves as a business case for you and your book. While you don’t need one to query most agents if you’re writing memoir or fiction, drafting a proposal for your memoir can help you understand where your book fits within the publishing landscape and how you might market it. This can strengthen your query letter and the way you see and talk about your book.
Because a book proposal is a business case, you want to include as much data as you can. This includes hard data like social media followers, website visitors, click and open rates on newsletters, and readership statistics for outlets you’ve published in. You can also include anecdotal data, like quotes from readers to strengthen your case.
Jane Friedman regularly talks about the power of the newsletter and how it can help you build authentic relationships with readers. This newsletter is a beloved part of my author platform. It’s a place where we get to walk the writing (and living) journey together. I’ve been privileged to hear from many of you about how you’re doing and what you’re working on or struggling with.
My hope is that this relationship is one of the benefits you receive in addition to learning about the craft of writing and your own resilience.
So, here’s my request:
If you love my newsletter, could you send me a one- to two-sentence blurb about why you love it and why you keep reading it? If you’re a survivor of suicide loss, have experienced another form of complex grief, or you’ve simply experienced periods of struggle, is there anything about my story or the work I do that has inspired or helped you? If you’re excited about my book, you can say something about that too.
Your sentence or two doesn’t have to be brilliant. Just write from the heart. I’ll use what you send as a part of my book proposal.
While you’re writing to me, let me know if there’s something you’d like me to improve upon or add to my 2023 posts. Feel free to include questions you’d like me to answer.
If you have a newsletter that’s also a beloved part of your author platform, don’t be afraid to follow my lead. Ask your subscribers for input. Save their answers. Use them as anecdotal data for your book proposal.
I want to end by sharing my heartfelt gratitude for your time and your willingness to stick with me and my story.
I also want to encourage you to vote if you haven’t already done so. Your participation in our democracy is essential to its success.
Next week, we’ll explore the chapter from Sonya Huber’s Voice First on how our voices live in the body. I can’t wait to dive into it!
Until then, thank you for walking this journey with me. May our time together inspire you to keep writing on.
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