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 with little experience with or exposure to book proposals haven't included all the necessary sections, or they haven't been sufficiently thorough in addressing important issues such as competing titles, target market, or the 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.

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 a lot of work, or if there is a significant flaw in your concept or platform. I'll tell you the strengths and weaknesses of your position and help you determine next steps for the project. Appointments are often available within a week of submitting your information through the form below; the entire fee is due when the appointment is scheduled. 

Book Proposal Edit and Consult ($1,000—$2,500)

If your proposal doesn't have any glaring holes or significant market problems, then I will recommend a basic book proposal edit. (However, we can do a phone consult instead if cost is an issue.) How my editing process works:

  • I will conduct a thorough review and edit, specifically looking at the development of the proposal and how effective it is in making a business case that would be compelling to agents and editors.
  • You'll receive an editorial letter summarizing my revision suggestions, as well as the edited version of the document (using Word's Track Changes feature) with line edits and any suggested restructuring.
  • We'll follow up with a Skype chat or phone call (up to 1 hour) to make sure you know the next steps and how to revise before submitting to an agent or editor. 

I will quote you a price after reviewing your proposal draft; cost is based on the length and complexity of your proposal. If you wish to submit revisions and do further work together on the proposal, we can work at an hourly rate. Typically, I can send you an edited proposal and feedback within 1-2 weeks of receiving it.

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