Proposal Guidelines

Please follow each step carefully. Elk Lake receives dozens of requests each month. Incomplete proposals will be discarded without further contact. 

Proposal Guidelines

Please follow each step carefully. Elk Lake receives dozens of requests each month. Incomplete proposals will be discarded without further contact. 

Elk Lake Proposal Guidelines

Your proposal should include the items discussed below. Attach them as a single file to an email with "submission: title, author’s name, and word count" in the subject line and send to Deb Haggerty.

  1. Proposal Cover e-mail
  2. The following information should be included: title/genre/word count and appropriate contact information (name, mailing address, telephone(s), preferred e-mail address, agent). This e-mail should interest me in reading your proposal. Attached to the email should be the information listed below. Note: the attachment’s file name should be descriptive—author name, title of work, fiction or nonfiction proposal. (Please submit attachment in Word.doc or Word.docx format.)

  3. One-Page Sell Sheet
    • The first line of a sell sheet includes the title, genre, and word count
    • Tagline: one-line pitch for your book (required for nonfiction; optional for fiction)
    • Back cover paragraph/description—short description of the book
    • Abbreviated bio with author photo.

  4. Biographical Sketch
  5. List your writing experience, your education, your achievements, and your prior publishing history.

  6. Story Synopsis
  7. Prepare a one- to three-page synopsis of your story.

  8. Market Analysis
  9. Identify your novel's audience (the specific categories of readers your book is designed to attract).

  10. Competitive Analysis
  11. Identify two to three novels published within the past five years similar to your proposed work. Tell me how your book is superior and/or provides a new slant on your topic.

  12. Marketing Strategies (what will you do to sell your book in cooperation with us?)
  13. Increasingly, fiction and non-fiction authors are encouraged to promote their novels themselves through writers' conferences, book signings, and web sites. ELP suggests you establish a web site to promote yourself and your book. You'll need to create promotional giveaways, arrange your own book signings, and/or attend writers' conferences. Think outside of the box.

  14. History of the Manuscript
  15. Please tell me if the manuscript has been submitted to other editors and/or publishers by yourself or your agent.

  16. Three Chapters
  17. For fiction, send the first three chapters. Non-fiction can be your choice of the first three chapters or which three chapters you feel best showcases your book.


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