Crafting the Non-Fiction Book Proposal

Want to write for Self-Counsel? We love hearing your great ideas. While passion and enthusiasm will carry you a long way, before we contract you to do a book for us, there are certain things we want to see.

Your goal should be to let us know you have the vision and the tools to carry your idea to fruition. Also, no matter who the players are, in the 21st century, creating a book is a partnership. Make sure you let us know you’re someone who will be a good partner.

Next, show us what you’ve got: write! A good non-fiction book proposal should include the following things:

Give the child a name

The title on your proposal won’t necessarily follow your work into book form, but it’s a great starting point. Try to choose a title that describes the book as much as possible.

An elevator pitch

Tell us what your book is about in a single sentence. This is always difficult! But not only will it help us understand what your book is about, you’ll find that the process helps you define your book’s purpose and market very tightly as you begin work on your project.

A mission statement

This might be what you’d expect to see on the back of this book if you were buying it. Or it might be longer: perhaps an introductory chapter. Tell us as succinctly and eloquently as possible exactly what your book is about and why the reader needs it. This is your chance to strut your stuff, too. If you want us to get a sense of the way you write, this is the place for it.

Your TOC

Draft a table of contents for your book. Don’t worry: we won’t hold you to it verbatim. What we’re looking for at this stage is your clear understanding of your topic and expertise to cover it in an engaging, lucid and thorough way.

A sample chapter

This is your very best tool for showing us you can write clearly, organize your thoughts cohesively and that you have a very good handle on your material.

The market

Do your homework. Who is going to buy this book? Why do they need it? What other books in this category are out there? In what way is yours different or better? Why is this book needed? (And if it isn’t needed, why do we want to publish it?) The more specific you can be the better.

Something about you

Let us know your background and what about it equips you to write this particular book. At this point, also let us know if you have a special platform that will support sales of the book: are you a blogger? Do you lecture or teach on the topic? Just anything that demonstrates how suitable you are to both write and then help us market this book.

Pack it up and send it

Once you’ve got all the pieces down, put them together and send them to us. Send us your submission electronically to or via snail to:

Self-Counsel Press

Att: Acquisitions Editor

1481 Charlotte Road,

North Vancouver, BC V7J 1H1

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