Stephen – Book Proposal

That age old adage of “find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life” has crept up on me of late after however many weeks it has been since I started the MA. Since starting, we’ve done many things that seem to reflect what it would be like in the workplace ranging from completing copy edits on manuscripts, taking part in an acquisitions meeting and using the industry-standard software of InDesign.

This is also echoed in the assignments we’ve been asked to complete. Whilst there are still the essays and the inevitable Harvard referencing, quite a few of our assignments mirror what you might be asked to complete in your day-to-day work in Publishing, and for that I am thankful! Some deadlines we have fast approaching are for an illustrator brief, a social media audit, creating some social media posts to advertise an upcoming UCLan Publishing publication, creating a podcast and creating a book proposal.

Prior to starting the Masters, I had never come across nor heard of a book proposal, but after completing one, I feel it’s been a big learning curve. So many elements had to be considered: the market, the competition, the marketing, the financing. It was a nice way of combining all the different elements we’ve picked up from the lectures.

In previous jobs, marketing was always one of those jobs that was always done by other, more talented people so it was nice to get an opportunity to try my hand at it. There are so many different ways of marketing a book that it was quite difficult to pin down which would be the best route. Now more than ever, using social media is such a powerful tool in marketing any product to the world. I had only ever used social media to post pictures of my weekend meals/bakes on Instagram, to tweet general musings on current events or to jealously like pictures of my nearest and dearest’s adorable pets (I’m currently lacking an animal around the house) so it was quite refreshing to think about how social media could be used on the other side of the fence.

In the past, spreadsheets have been somewhat of a headache, as I’m sure they are for quite a few people. A profit and loss sheet is such a key contributor in the decision making process for a book proposal because it tells you whether all your ideas are going to be worth it. In an ideal world, you could have your dream book idea, written by your dream author, illustrated by your dream illustrator and marketed in your dream way but if it doesn’t make financial sense, it just isn’t going to happen. If anything, the profit and loss sheet grounds a book proposal in reality. This is going to sound incredibly cringeworthy, but I’ve never had more fun inputting data onto a spreadsheet. Maybe ‘fun’ is the wrong word there. I’ve certainly found it ‘interesting’ to say the least. It truly helped me to understand the business at least a little bit better and the sheer importance of a second print run.

However successful my book proposal turns out; I’ve certainly appreciated the opportunity to give it a go. I’m sure all of the other assignments I’ve got ahead will make me feel likewise!