Here is the ultimate guide for how (and how not) to approach agents and prospective publishers about your work. It may even save you from wasted effort and unnecessary rejections. You only get one shot with each one, after all.

I can imagine the proposal for this book now: ‘Estimated writers societies and groups x estimated membership…assume 15% purchase…guaranteed market of…’

Sound too technical for you? Well this book is full of harsh realities. Publishing is a business and businesses need smart ideas that sell. This guide will provide a reality check for any writer. Who do I expect to buy this book (specifically)? What gives me the edge over the competition? Why me? Why now?

Confronting stuff when you may have simply followed your heart. But if you want to diminish your chances of rejection and be accepted as credible and serious by your target agent or publisher, you need to get real. Who knows? The advice in this book may give you ideas on reframing or rewriting your material to improve its marketability before you even get to the proposal stage.

Ignoring the daggy illustrations, the material is very easy to read and entirely sensible, but its key strengths are its constant references and links to the real world. The work is full of quotes from publishers and agents (all named) on every element of the proposal. If you had any doubt of this being a theoretical piece of advice, the industry feedback will dispel that thought. The highlight of this book is contained at the end where all the advice coalesces in four real examples of proposals – two non fiction and two fiction – and yes, they all got published.

But as this review is aimed at fellow writers, all I really need to say is BUY IT.