A Proposal For The Rest of Us

ProposalRejection_004-wAny first time authors out there have a proposal that led to publication  they’d be wiling to share? I’m proposing the creation of a How To Write A Proposal book for the rest of us.

What do I mean?
I’m working on a proposal for a non-fiction book right now so I’m reading a book on How To Write A Book Proposal. Very good book, good tips and information, but I find myself discouraged by the sample proposals provided. This is not the first How To book (or blog) to make me feel this way.

Sample proposals tend to fall into two categories: the Do and Don’t. Category Don’t reads something like this:

I have written the best book in the history of the world. It will be a bets sellar, so jump on teh bandwagon now! I’m looking for a huge advance and my uncle works for UPS, so don’t worry about shipping. If I don’t hear from you in a few weeks, don’t worry; I’ll find you!

It’s so bad that I feel really good about my chances: I know how to use Spell Check and that I should hint at stalking the editor. Then I move on to Category Do which reads something like this:

Author speaks in 50 major cities around the country every year and has thirty years of experience in the field related to her book. She has 490,000 followers on her blog and her first two books received rave reviews and had to be reprinted because demand was so high. 

How am I supposed to compete with that? I can’t. Not yet. (Keep the hope alive, right folks!)

So I think someone should make a How To book of samples for The Rest of Us: those of us who have not yet been published, who cannot travel the country at this stage of our lives, whose platform is small but growing, and who fall somewhere between the Do and Don’t samples.  What should a proposal look like for someone like ME?

Any tips from those of you who have gone before?