An article says to write a 5-page book proposal and a 1-page version. When submitting to agents and book publishers, read their submission guidelines for which length they prefer.

How much weight should I give for each of the sections in a 1-page proposal? For instance, for similar books, do I just list the titles?

  • 2
    If you google for "how to write book proposals" there's already a lot of resources out there. Have you done your proper research before posting here? Or is there a specific question that none of the guides you have read have answered?
    – levininja
    Jun 27, 2022 at 19:10
  • 2
    @levininja All the articles I've read have to do with 5-page proposals, or don't mention the page count at all.
    – Steve
    Jun 27, 2022 at 23:19

1 Answer 1


Start by compressing the book proposal into a single sentence with at most 25-35 words.

Yes, you heard me. One sentence, at most 35 words.

See step 1 in "The Snowflake Method For Designing A Novel" for more info.

Here's an example I think you know: A Hobbit must save the world by destroying his magical ring in the fires of Mount Doom.

Is this the Lord of the Rings? No, but it is the spine of it. When we really cut to the bones.

Using this one-sentence summary it wouldn't be hard to compress LotR into a single page. We just need to get rid of a number of subplots, a lot of characters, places, twists, and turns. Maybe not all of them, but the further away from this spine of the story, the more likely it could be removed... when compressing the story into one page.

You should be able to do the same with your book proposal.

Or go one step further and summarize your story in six sentences with the following content:

  1. The first sentence describes the normal world of the characters before the adventure starts
  2. Then describe the first catastrophe (the first plot point)
  3. Describe the mid point, another catastrophe or a more subtle mirror moment, moment of truth, moment of grace (also see here), or all four
  4. Describe the third plot point / second (or third) disaster
  5. Describe the climax and the final battle between the protagonist and antagonist
  6. Describe the resolution, the new normal, the lesson learned, etc.

Later on, you might want to expand the sentences into six paragraphs, but by then you might get more than a pageful...

  • 1
    You are talking about a book summary, not a book proposal. However, I'll try to apply this principle to the whole thing and see what happens. Thanks!
    – Steve
    Jun 28, 2022 at 13:31
  • @Steve, true. Some searching tells me this might be a part of a proposal (and then, when we're talking a one page proposal) I'm guessing at most a single sentence per part. But then again, the one sentence summary might also be possible to use in the proposal. But I guess compressing it down it either comes to removing sentences in the 5-page proposal or actually removing parts. I haven't written any proposals myself (I usually write the whole thing instead—it seems proposals are for "before" that). Good luck with the work!
    – Erk
    Jun 29, 2022 at 4:00

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