Nonfiction Book Proposal Critiques

For more than a decade, I worked at a mid-size publisher that specialized in nonfiction; I was also an editor at an award-winning literary journal specializing in journalism and narrative nonfiction. I've prepared book proposals for myself and critiqued hundreds of others. Here's how I can help you.

If you have a book proposal draft ready

If you have a completed book proposal draft, then the next step is for me to take a look at it. In many cases, authors who have little experience with or exposure to book proposals haven't included all the necessary sections, or they haven't been sufficiently thorough in addressing competing titles, identifying the target market, or putting together a marketing plan. Even more problematic, some book concepts haven't been carefully thought through, and need to be re-conceptualized if they are to succeed in the market. Still other authors, even if they have a decent proposal, don't have a platform that can support commercial publication.

So, I need to evaluate what your situation is, and that requires seeing the proposal. If I think I can help you, then I'll recommend one of the following options.

Book Proposal Phone Consultation ($400)

We'll schedule a one-hour phone or Skype consultation to discuss your book concept or book proposal. This type of consultation is what I most frequently recommend when the proposal needs further work, or if there is a flaw in the book concept or platform. I'll tell you the strengths and weaknesses of your position and help you determine next steps for the project.

This is also the most economical option if you can't afford a full edit, but are able to use my verbal feedback to revise on your own.

Appointments are often available within one week of submitting your information through the form below; the entire fee is due when the appointment is scheduled.

Book Proposal Edit and Consult ($600—$2,000+)

If your proposal is complete and doesn't reflect any significant problems that will result in quick rejection, then I will likely recommend a book proposal edit and consult. Typically, I can send an edited proposal and feedback within 2-3 weeks of receiving it.

How my editing process works:

  • I will conduct a thorough review and edit, specifically looking at the development of your proposal and how effective it is in making a business case that would be compelling to agents and editors.
  • I will make edits to the proposal document (using Word's Track Changes feature) and actively restructure wherever I believe strongly you ought to revise. I may also add light comments to the file to serve as prompts or to draw your attention to areas we need to discuss.
  • About 24 hours before our scheduled call to discuss your proposal, I'll send you the edited file. During our appointment (up to 1 hour), we'll go through the proposal section by section. I'll explain the reasons for my edits, describe what further work needs to be done, and make sure you know the next steps and how to revise before submitting to an agent or editor. The conversation is recorded so you can refer to it later if needed.
  • Usually there is at least 15 minutes to discuss any questions you have or go over areas where you would like further guidance.

I will quote you a price after reviewing your proposal draft. Cost is based on the length and complexity of your proposal. If you'd like the opportunity to come back to me with revisions later on, I can quote you a price that includes email or phone feedback.

If you have questions about any of these services, please contact me.

If you don't have a book proposal draft ready

I offer an online course on book proposals; if you become a student in the course, you'll have the ability to ask me questions about writing and assembling a proposal on your own. Once you have a proposal draft, you can submit it to me for paid review as described above.

Alternatively, you can hire me for a book concept critique ($200).

Contact Form

  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, rtf.

I am so grateful you reviewed my proposal—your advice to reposition the book was invaluable. After I sent my first pitch to Familius, within 3 days the acquisition editor contacted me. A month later, I signed a contract for Feed the Baby Hummus, And Other Pediatrician-Backed Secrets from Cultures Around the World.

Lisa Lewis

My book, The Whole Pregnancy, just got a publishing deal with Skyhorse Publishing out of New York. I really found your advice helpful, so I just wanted to thank you!

Aimee Aristotelous

I took your book proposal course last summer and want to let you know that I'm sitting here right now reading a contract from an agent—all thanks to you!

Jane Perdue

Just wanted to share the good news that my book, Running with Raven, came out today from Kensington Press. Thanks for your guidance in getting me here.

Laura Lee Huttenbach