Book Review: Your Big Beautiful Book Plan

Title: Your Big Beautiful Book Plan: how to create a book proposal that will make you a visionary writer, a stronger business person–and land you a publishing deal

Authors: Danielle LaPorte + Linda Sivertsen

Price: $150 ($5 of every sale is given to Write Girl, which I will match if purchased through my affie* link.)

Danielle LaPorte, of White Hot Truth fame, and Linda Sivertsen, The Book Mama, paired up to create this must-have resource for authors. Not only is there a PDF full of details, explanations, and examples, there are audio recordings and supplemental information resources that give you everything you need to know about crafting your own book proposal.

Who it’s for

Anyone and everyone who wants their words published. Even authors who choose to self-publish would benefit immensely from reading this book and writing a proposal. Especially if you’re fairly new to the publishing game, this book will help you find your footing and establish a professional presence to give you the best chance at success.

Why you should listen to the authors

Danielle LaPorte is the creator of the site that’s been deemed, “the best place on-line for kick-ass spirituality” – WhiteHotTruth.com – where over a million visitors have gone for her straight up advice. An inspirational speaker and former think tank exec, she is the author of The Spark Kit: A Digital Experience for Entrepreneurs*. Her forthcoming book, The Fire Starter Sessions (Random House/Crown Archetype) will be emblazing a bookshelf near you, in April 2012.

Linda Sivertsen is a book proposal doctor, author whisperer, agent connector, idea-fairy, and huge-hearted cheerleader of creativity for writers of all genres. In addition to authoring & co-authoring eight books, Linda’s ghostwriting, coaching, & curatorial talents are sought after by Emmy & Oscar award winners, business leaders, and celebrity clients in Los Angeles, and around the world.

What I liked most

The focus is balanced between tangible and intangible, spiritual and practical. Flexibility is built in, as you can download the whole shebang or individual sections. The wisdom of the authors is supplemented with the wisdom of other professionals through audio and video recordings and links to relevant articles.

In Part One: The Horizon, they give a balanced overview of self-publishing versus traditional publishing and the pros and cons of each.

It is important to know that if you want to give your book the best chance possible, there’s going to be an investment of money and sweat equity when it comes to editing, design and marketing. A traditional publishing house will spend at least $50,000 dollars on your book. Keep that in mind if you self-publish; you need to invest in quality editing and design as well as marketing, but it will probably cost you a lot less than 50 large.

Part Two: Strategy is the meat of the book. The proposal is covered in depth from query letter to appendix, with an abundance of real-life examples. Absolutely everything you need to know is in here. This section is worth the cover price on its own.

Part Three: Creativity has some great advice on getting it out of your head and onto the page, as well as dealing with rejection. The list of now famous authors (Jack Kerouac, Ayn Rand, Oscar Wilde) who were rejected multiple times is one anyone would aspire to be on. Remember that whenever you get rejected.

Part Four: Visibility covers online and offline marketing, with an emphasis on the virtual landscape.

“To claim your rightful place in this living info-ecosystem, you need to plug in. Publishing online is the swiftest way to bring the right people to your words, and rally attention around your craft. It’s the closest thing modern writers have to magic. “

Part Five: Your Workbook contains several exercises to help you define your target audience, create your cocktail party pitch, develop your marketing strategy and more. I would say to fill out the workbook before starting your actual proposal, because the sooner you get clear on all aspects of your book, the better.

Part Six: Audio + Video Collection is a compilation of all of the recordings linked to elsewhere in the book. Very helpful if, like me, you want to learn in one format at a time. Audio transcripts are also provided.

Part Seven: Resources provides information about workshops, classes and conferences for writers as well as tools, must-reads and recommendations for editors, designers, and the like.

Part Eight: Outro gives you affie* information, if you decide to go that route. I found this to be a great resource for helping me spread the word about how much I love this book.

A few of my favorite tips

“You don’t want to try and convert people who don’t get what you do—because it takes up too much energy. Energy that would be better spent delighting and inspiring the people who are already primed and ready for your words.”

How’s this for perspective? Linda once got two rejections on the same day that contradicted each other: One said the subjects in the book were too famous, the other said they weren’t famous enough. Everything is subjective.

The difference between voice and message; voice is how you share your message, message is why you write.

Pretend you’re an underground club promoter: Put stickers on bathroom walls with your book title and the URL for its website.

“Uh-oh. It’s the apocalypse. The earth is about to swallow you whole. You’ve got 15 (maybe 20) seconds to live. Before you’re engulfed by lava and flames, shout out to the heavens—The reason your book NEEDS to be born…”

Last words

I’m going to get a wee bit picky for a moment. There were some formatting and editing funkyisms that tripped me up a bit (for example, one excerpt from The Firestarter Sessions has repeated pages). I know that achieving perfection is nigh on impossible, but I expect experts who tout the importance of professional design and editing to come pretty darn close. The good news is that this is a digital program, so corrections can be made and revised copies sent out.

I’m glad this is a digital book because if it were in print I’d wear through my copies pretty quickly. I thoroughly enjoyed this, both because of the content and the beautiful manner in which it is presented. Way to knock it out of the park, ladies!

* * *

If you want to know more, leave a question in the comments or send me an email at cmyers@ladymyerswordsmithing.com.

I’d also love to hear your thoughts on book proposals in general!

*Yup, I’m shaking my affie-taffy for this book.

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