Guidelines for Preparing Your AMACOM Book ProposalThink of your proposal as the business plan for your book. Ultimately it provides the publisher with answers to these four basic questions.
1) What is the book about? 2) For whom is it written? 3) Why is it needed?
4) In what ways can the author’s background and platform help toward promoting the book?
Proposals vary in length but usually contain between 10 and 20 pages plus the length of your sample chapter. Your proposal should contain each of the following elements or sections.
Working Title/Subtitle. Please provide a tentative title (and, if helpful, a subtitle) that communicates the essence of your book.
Overview. What is your book about, and what problem will it solve for your audience? Are there circumstances that make your book especially timely? Any special features that make your book unique?
Target Audience(s). Which groups of people are most likely to buy your book? If there are secondary audiences, please mention those as well. Please be as specific as possible in identifying your intended readership by demographic category, job title, function, etc. If you believe your book will appeal to a more general audience, please explain why. If you expect it to have special appeal for any special-interest groups or associations, please let us know that as well.
Contents. Please provide a Table of Contents with a detailed synopsis of each chapter.
Competitive Books. Which five books (still in print) most closely cover the same subject as yours? (If your proposed book doesn’t seem to have any direct competitors, please list the five books you would consider most closely related for your intended audience.) For each book listed, please include the title; author(s); length; price; format (hardcover or paperback); trim size (6” x 9”?
7” x 10”? etc.); publisher; ISBNs; and year of publication. (You can find this information easily on online seller sites.) And please explain the specific ways in which your book is different from and better than these competing or related books.
Author Credentials. Please provide an author bio that lists any positions held; degrees earned; previous books published; magazines, journals, newspapers and online publications where you've been published, quoted, or cited (re online publications, please provide recent links, if possible); TV, radio, podcast, and webcast experience on the topic of your book; and any other information that demonstrates your authority to write this book.
Author Platform. Your platform consists of forthcoming activities that will demonstrate to booksellers your visibility, authority, and audience reach. Please specify any regular media appearances and website traffic; number of newsletter subscribers; list of most recent (past six months) and all forthcoming speaking engagements (including venue and attendance); and the details of your social media reach.
Book Specifications. (1) About how many words do you expect the manuscript to contain? (2) If your book requires illustrations, tables, graphs, etc.: (a) about how many all together? and (b) about how many of those would require a full page; how many only half? Please consider these specs carefully, because when you sign a book contract the approximate book length specified will likely be based on these estimates.
Delivery. How many months do you anticipate it will take for you to provide a complete, final manuscript?
Sample Chapter(s). Please provide a minimum of one chapter that represents the writing style and level of presentation of the book. If chapters are designed to be only a few pages long, please provide several.
Contacting an Editor. If you have any questions about preparing your proposal, please don’t hesitate to contact the editor to whom you'll be sending it. You can find contact information for AMACOM editors at