The Ten Most Common Reasons Book Proposals are Rejected — and What These Reasons Really Mean
by Marcia Yudkin
1. The market is too small.
Translation: We don’t know how to make money publishing your book.
- Add market numbers to your proposal.
- Add specific marketing suggestions.
- Try a smaller, niche publisher.
- Get your proposal reviewed professionally — it may be sloppy or unpersuasive in ways not obvious to you.
- Keep trying. Tastes differ.
5. It’s too narrowly focused.
Translation: We sell more general books to the general public.
Remedy: Try a more specialized publisher.
6. It’s already been done.
Translation: You didn’t convince us your book differs enough from what’s out there.
- Re-research your competition.
- Differentiate your book better in the proposal.
- More carefully define your readers.
- Change the angle, audience, approach of the book.
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7. It’s an article, not a book.
Translation: You didn’t persuade us that you can fill 150-250 printed pages with meaningful material.
- Lengthen the book to at least 60,000 words.
- Write it as an article.
- Approach publishers specializing in short books.
8. There’s too much competition.
Translation: You didn’t convince us there’s an unfilled niche out there waiting for your book.
- Do/cite market research on the need for your book.
- Rewrite your proposal’s analysis of competition.
- Try a publisher without any titles on the topic.
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9. It’s too costly to produce.
Translation: We can’t make a profit publishing your book.
- Reduce requirements for photos, unusual format.
- Cite evidence that your market will pay more.
10. You’re not an expert in your field.
Translation: We can’t book you credibly on talk shows.
- Find a co-author with the credentials you lack.
- Get more credentials.
Copyright 2001 Marcia Yudkin. All rights reserved.