10 Things NOT to Say in Your Book Proposal

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At Booklocker.com, we receive several book manuscripts each week from authors wanting to get their books into print. While we’re not a traditional publisher, we are concerned about offering a high-quality inventory. Therefore, we publish less than 5% of incoming submissions. After another agonizing week of seeing the same mistakes by authors made time and again, I thought we’d try to help those of you who are sending your manuscripts to publishers, traditional and other. Perhaps we can help you avoid one of these common mistakes (and give you a smile at the same time!).

10. My book is going to be a best seller! (Everybody says that.)

9. My book is going to be a blockbuster movie someday! (Most fiction authors say that.)

8. My brother’s cousin’s neighbor’s hairdresser knows Oprah and he says I’m a shoe-in on the show. (Oprah’s name is dropped so much that it doesn’t have any influence on the publisher’s decision.)

7. My book is fully edited and contains no errors (Even most books on bookstore shelves have errors in them.)

6. My friends and family all say they liked it so I know you will, too (Everyone knows friends and family, fearing they’ll hurt your feelings, don’t give honest opinions.)

5. If you don’t publish my book, I’m going to kill myself. (Yes, we’ve heard this one more than once!)

4. If you publish my book, I’ll buy ads in the New York Times, People Magazine, etc. (Statements like this show desperation and lack of confidence.)

3. I’ve been interviewed on the radio! (It’s easy to get on the radio and publishers know that radio shows don’t usually sell many books.)

2. I’ve been working on this book for 17 years! (This is another amateur statement and makes the publisher think it’ll be another 17 years before you finish your next book.)

And the #1 thing you should NOT say when submitting your book for consideration:
I am the next Stephen King / John Grisham / Nora Roberts / insert-any-famous-author-here. New authors comparing themselves to famous authors is the most common mistake made on proposals. It’s no different than a little league football player comparing themselves to the number one NFL draft pick. That’s how silly these self-comparisons make authors look. Please don’t hurt your chances of publication by making this common faux pas.