7 Ways to Make It Easy for Publishers to Offer You a Book Contract

Because . . . Why Make It Hard?

Recently my wife texted me while I was at work just after a snow storm. “We started to shovel,” she said, “but it’s too much. Can you blow it?”

“I’d love to!” I replied.

I wasn’t being sarcastic. I love operating my snowblower, not least because it makes an otherwise grueling job a relatively simple one. What used to take hours now takes 10 minutes.  That’s awesome!

We all enjoy finding the easy way to do something, and publishers are no different. They love to find book projects that are an easy yes.

Courtesy of Unsplash

Did you know it’s possible to make it easy for publishers to offer you a book contract? Following are seven ways ways to do just that.

1. Get 10,000 or more email subscribers.

If you can grow your email list to 10,000 subscribers, in most cases you’ll have an audience to which publishers will be eager to help you publish. Publishers like to be sure of the market before they publish. Bringing the market with you knocks down a huge hurdle to getting a book contract.

2. Sell 5,000 or more copies of a reasonably priced self-published book.

If you can demonstrate you don’t need a publisher’s help to sell a significant quantity of your book at a reasonable price, they’ll be eager to help you leverage and expand on that already existing influence. (To find out how much money you can expect make from your first book deal, click here.)

3. Come up with an amazingly compelling book concept.

A great concept is one that is so timely or so tuned in to an audience’s need, and so well captured in a title, that as long as a publisher can get it on shelves, the book will virtually sell itself.

Hindsight’s 20/20, of course, so I’m cheating here, but examples of books with particularly compelling concepts include:

  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People
  • Start with Why
  • Secrets of Closing the Sale
  • 90 Minutes in Heaven
  • Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids
  • How to Talk So People Will Listen
  • 50 People Every Christian Should Know
  • I Became a Christian, and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
  • His Needs, Her Needs
  • The 5 Love Languages
  • The Circle Maker
  • The Purpose-Driven Life
  • Have a New Kid by Friday
  • Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts

 4. Develop a powerful and detailed marketing plan.

Want to make it hard for publisher to ignore you? Demonstrate your ability to hustle with a robust and detailed marketing plan. The one section of a book proposal it’s virtually impossible to make too long is your marketing plan. Consider starting with a line such as “My personal goal is to sell [number] copies of this book in the first twelve months.” Then back that promise up with a solid plan.

5. Coauthor your book with someone who already has a significant platform.

Do you know someone with a significant audience who may or may not have thought about writing a book?  Why not approach them about coauthoring a book, letting them know you’re happy to do all the heavy-lifting? All they can do is say no, right? They just might say yes.

6. See to it that your most recent traditionally published book sells well.

If you land a book deal and want to publish again, it’s really important for your first book to sell well. Make it your mission to move as many copies as you can. If you succeed, you may get a book contract without even having to write a book proposal!

7. Combine two or more of the above ideas.

Why stick to just one of the above methods? If you can bring a compelling concept to a potential coauthor with a platform, go for it! Why not get 10,000 email subscribers and provide a detailed marketing? Combining the methods above will only increase your chances, not to mention the financial value of the offer a publisher sends to you.

Do you have an idea (or several!) for a book but don’t know where to begin? A great place to start is writing a book proposal, and I would be happy to send you the same book proposal guidelines that have helped hundreds of authors win book contracts. To download your copy of the guidelines for free, click here.

Question: Which of these seven methods is the best fit for you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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  • Bo Miller

    Fantastic tips, Chad! Definitely saved this one to Evernote. 🙂

    • Chad R. Allen

      Awesome! Thanks, Bo, for letting me know you appreciate this.

  • Rashawnda Dunbar

    Thanks for sharing this great information, Chad. It’s extremely helpful, and I’m focusing on the first four!! 🙂

    • Chad R. Allen

      Terrific, you’re welcome. And thank YOU for commenting!