Subscribe to Lisa’s Blog

Weekly writing & publishing news, tips, and events — straight to your inbox!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Book That Made My Career…and the Perfect Gift for an Aspiring Author

Here I am with Mike Larsen at Book Expo America in 2012, thanking him in person for his profound impact on my career.

The Greatest Resource of My Career

Of any book I’ve read, How to Write a Book Proposal has had the greatest impact in helping me create my career as a book writing and book proposal coach. The book gave me the information I needed to make my clients successful and, in turn, experience my own success.

If you’ve been reading this blog for some time, I’m sure you’ve seen me write about–or heard me recommend–Michael Larsen‘s bestseller How to Write a Book Proposal. It’s the book that literary agent Rita Rosenkranz recommended to me way back when I was working on my first book proposal with my co-author, Peaco Todd. And the book that helped us land a book deal.

Since then, I’ve recommended How to Write a Book Proposal to all my clients who want to land a traditional publisher and a book deal. I’ve seen the book through four of its five editions and it keeps getting better.

What’s New in the 5th Edition of How to Write a Book Proposal?

how to write a book proposal
One Sale this month! In fact it’s only $8 through Monday at Writer’s Digest Shop!

This year’s edition is particularly exciting because my colleague, literary agent Jody Rein, joined Mike in revising the book significantly to address massive changes in the publishing landscape, including the many opportunities now available to authors to develop a tribe and reach readers.

Mike and Jody have completely restructured the book to provide a streamlined, logical, step-by-step approach.

They have also added new subject-specific proposal instructions for thirteen different types of books, from memoir to business books to cookbooks. In the past couple of years, two of my clients wrote books on diets with recipes–a new genre for me! Fortunately a colleague from Harvard Medical School’s CME publishing course gave me valuable advice on the idiosyncracies of this type of book and both proposals led to publishing deals. But how can newbies find such info? Look no further than How to Write a Book Proposal: 5th Edition .

As a professional in the field, I found new information and ideas which I plan to implement in guiding clients and editing their proposals.

Jody Rein and Lisa Tener
Here I am with Jody Rein at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference in 2014 (where we met).

Other exciting additions to How to Write a Book Proposal include:

  • Customized instructions in every chapter for prose-driven books and platform-driven books
  • New material based on interviews with scores of current publishing professionals
  • Examples from more than 30 big-ticket proposals, most of which are only in this edition
  • Advice for:
    •      Writing and selling proposals in the digital age (things aren’t the same!)
    •      Selling your self-published book with a proposal
    •      Turning your proposal into a business plan for your self-published book
    •      Adding eye-catching “pizzazz” to your proposal
  • Top Ten Proposal Killers
  • Voice in proposals
  • New proposal structures for narrative nonfiction and memoir
  • How to set up your office for success
  • A new proposal-writing order to enhance your productivity

Special Savings!

Wow. Are you as excited as I am? There’s more to be excited about. I just discovered the book is on sale for $8 with free shipping at Writer’s Digest. I just ordered 11 copies for gifts! If you read this after the price goes up, you can still get a 30% discount December 13-14 with this code: SEASON30 and 20% off until the end of the year with this code:  BOOKP20 .

Get Your Copy on Sale at Writer’s Digest Today!

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Kirk Nottingham says

    Dear Lisa,
    I have been offered representation by an agent at a well known agency. He got back to me very quickly and said he loved the book. However, when I spoke to him in person, he told me all about his company, but didn’t say what HE could do for my book. He didn’t say why he was passionate about it, even though he said in the email he loved it. He didn’t mention the book title, the book characters or indeed anything about my book specifically. He just told me about himself and about the agency– and all that information was already on his website. Even when I pushed him to talk more specifically, he didn’t mention anything about my book. He also said that he would start submissions right away and that no revisions were needed.
    Are all these things red flags? Or am I over-thinking? Or should I suck it up because he’s part of a big agency?

    Thank you!

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Kirk,
      That seems a red flag to me. A relationship with an agent is important. You want to have excellent communication. If you asked questions that he didn’t answer, it sounds to me like communication will be a challenge throughout the relationship. There are so many great agents out there, I would keep looking for someone who you feel will answer your questions and address your concerns throughout the process. If he’s this poor a listener now, when he’s hoping to woo you as a client, what will it be like once you’ve signed a contract?
      Congratulations, though, on such a positive response. Perhaps you will soon get other positive reponses and a stronger match. This post may also be helpful in interviewing agents: And here is another post about literary agent red flags. The post refers to a website (Preditors and Editors) which is in hiatus as they are seeking a new caretaker. However, the rest of the post should still be helpful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Indie published Joy of Writing Journal.

Get Lisa's Award-Winning Book

The Joy of Writing Journal:

Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day

Winner of the Silver Nautilus Book Award & IPPY Award

Subscribe to Lisa’s Blog

Weekly writing & publishing news, tips, and events — straight to your inbox!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Screen Shot 2020-09-07 at 10.05.50 PM
Share This