Before you send out your query or a book proposal, take a second look. Have you answered these questions?

What is the “genre” of the book? (humor, history, memoir, travel, how-to, etc)

What is the main subject of your book? (what subject headings would a library give your book?)

What topics will be covered? (what keywords could describe your book?)

Describe your approach to the subject.

What makes your book idea different from what is already available on the bookstore shelves about this subject?

If the answers aren’t rolling off your tongue easier than your elevator speech, you may want to ask yourself the following questions.

In a bookstore, what section would you look for your new book?

Describe the books on the shelf next to yours. Be specific about the current competition for your reading audience. Titles, authors, approaches.

On the back cover of any book you always find subject heads. Go shopping in a bookstore and look at the back covers of books you would place in the same subject area as yours. Think carefully about what subject heads you want to appear here. It determines where your book will be shelved in any bookstore.

Also on the back cover you often find “blurbs” about the book. What do you want those blurbs to say? Who do you imagine would provide a blurb endorsement?

What do you envision on the front cover of your book? Describe what your book “looks” like in aesthetic terms.

Will there be illustrations, diagrams, tables, figures, photographs, or other non-textual material?

So tell me, what is your book about?

Busy Saturday Afternoon

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Other Publications by author-clients of Swenson Book Development LLC

Saadia Zahidi
Nation Books, January 2018

Larry Scheckel
Tumblehome Learning, December 2017

Ann Marie Ackermann
Kent State University Press, September 2016

Linda J. Spielman
Countryman Press, July 2017

Carolyn Porter
Skyhorse Publishing, June 2017

Laurel Guy
Schiffer Publications, December 2016

Ira Rabois
Rowman & Littlefield, November 2016