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Writing Books/first "chapters"


Hello, Liz.

My nonfiction book contains a Preface and a Prologue, before Part One (four chapters) and Part Two (thirty-six chapters). After that is an Epilogue.

My (two part)question is:

a.) when agents ask for the first two (or three) "chapters", is that intended to imply in cases like mine, the Preface and the Prologue, or the first two actual "chapters"?

b.) In a layout like mine, might I be better including the first chapter each, of the two Parts--or might that be seen as "evasive".

Dan O'Hanlon  

Dear Dan:

Send them only what they ask for.  The preface and prologue would not count as the first two chapters.  You would send the first two or three chapters (whatever they ask for) of your part One.  Also included in your proposal should be an annotated table of contents which includes short, one paragraph summaries of the preface, prologue and then all the chapters.

If they like what they read in the first two chapters they'll take a comprehensive look at your annotated table of contents which will give them the idea of both parts of the book.

Good luck, Dan!

Liz Aleshire

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Liz Aleshire


What is a book proposal and why do I need one? Do I need a book proposal for both nonfiction and fiction books? How do I write a book proposal? What are the required components of a book proposal? What is an overview? What is a synopsis? How do I find out what other books are available on my topic so I can make my book different? How do I pitch to an agent/publisher? What's a query letter? What's a 30-second commercial?


I am the author of four nonfiction books: Private Lives of Ministers' Wives (with Rev. Sherry Taylor,New Horizon Press, New Jersey, 1991)and currently working on a second edition; Bugs: Stingers, Suckers, Sweeties, Swingers (a FRanklin Watts Frist Book, Chicago, 1993); The Confident Collector Identification and Price Guid to Quilts (with Kathleen Barach, Avon Books, NY, 1992); and, Official Price Guide to Quilts 2nd edition(with Kathleen Barach, Random House, NY, 2003.) I've taught How to Write the Book Proposal for the past ten years at the week long International Women's Writing Guild annual summer conference, and, at the Manchester Community College Continuing Education program. I've taught in many local continuing education programs in central Connecticut. Five authors have sold books using my methods for writing the book proposal. I have spoken at the Big Apple Conference, an IWWG event held in NYC; both Connecticut chapters of the Romance Writer's of America other writing conferences

Internation Women's Writing Guild, past associate member American Society of Journalists and Authors

Books for New Horizon Press. NJ; Franklin Watts (Now Scolastic)Danbury, CT; Avon Books, NYC; and, Random House, NYC

B.A in Economics from the University of Connecticut

Past/Present clients
Carren Strock, author Married Women Who Love Women; Doris Larson, travel writer, Ohio; MaryLou Streznewsi author Gifted Grownups.

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