On July 1, 2015, I sent a book proposal to Michael Spooner, the acquisitions editor at Utah State University Press, an imprint of the University Press of Colorado. The book came with a tentative title: The Literate Practices of Big-Time College Sports. And I included an annotated TOC with my proposal.
I received an advanced contract in mid-August.
After two rounds of reader review, I sent in the complete book (newly titled as The Embodied Playbook: Writing Practices of Student-Athletes; thanks to Michele Eodice for help there) in January 2017.
As I type out these words, the book is undergoing the publication process right now, and I am thankful for an old high school friend who designed my cover.
Below, I include the exact cover letter I send onto Michael. The book proposal format is a tough one: rhetorically tricky that asks for a dash of marketing and salesmanship that many academics feel uncomfortable with. I’m wired as an introvert; so getting me to bang my own drum, shout from the mountain top for recognition in the loud and busy world book publishing–well, that’s tough. And the ego it takes to think someone should publish MANY copies and MANY pages of your writing. Yikes.
Examples are key for thinking through new genres. I am grateful that Chris Carter shared his book proposal with me. His book, Rhetorical Exposures, just came out with the University of Alabama Press. Paying the love forward, I share mine.
One final note: check out William Germano’s From Dissertation to Book and Getting It Published. I could take you to the exact booth at my university’s cafeteria where, when reading From Diss, I realized, I had a book buried and screaming for release from within my dissertation.
Rachel Toor also has a good series of posts on Chronicle.com about writing a book proposal.
I’m keeping things brief here, but if you wanna talk more, then let’s.