Sample Book Proposal Query: Sick and Tired

Okay, for those of you who are considering the idea of sending a book query/proposal out into the great beyond, here's a sample to take a look at.  It feels rather overwhelming to me--all the information that had to go into one letter, but I tried to keep it compact so it didn't just run on and on.

This will be it for awhile. I'm taking the rest of the week off to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family (and have an exercise in discipline--forcing myself not to open this computer for 4-5 days!).

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Kimberly Rae
mailing address here
e-mail address here

Barbara Scott
November 15, 2011
Dear Ms. Scott,

With nearly 1 out of 2 people in the US suffering some kind of chronic health condition (58% between the ages of 18 and 64), there are few topics more marketable than the topic of health.  Unfortunately, however, many books are specialized (diabetes, cancer, etc.) and/or written by people who themselves are not suffering the particular malady of which they write.

Where is the book about how it feels to realize and try to accept that you are now a person with chronic health problems? There is more to deal with than just getting the physical issues under control, including grief over giving up favorite activities, the difficulty accepting the idea of forever, the frustration over hearing, “But you don’t look sick!”

As a writer (published over 100 times in books, magazines, curriculum, guest blogs; work in 5 languages), spokesperson on human trafficking (interviewed in newspapers, radio shows, blogs, and once on TV, see www.stolenwoman.org) and a woman with 5 different health conditions (including Addison’s disease, asthma, and a brain cyst), I feel uniquely qualified to write a book titled SICK AND TIRED: HOW TO LIVE GRACIOUSLY WITH CHRONIC HEALTH PROBLEMS WHEN YOU’D RATHER JUST KICK SOMETHING!  I enjoy helping others not only gain practical insight on how to live with their condition, but also remind them that the joy of the Lord gives us strength every day as we struggle to not only survive, but thrive.

SICK AND TIRED will be highly marketable for several reasons:
1.      Sick people don’t get out much; they need to get their encouragement in ways that do not require personal interaction.
2.      People with chronic illness love to help other people with chronic illness—if one person likes the book, they’ll spread the word.
3.      There are few resources in the Christian world on living with chronic health issues. I personally have found that discouraging because the books I do find do not give me spiritual help.
4.      I don’t want to read a book on health problems that’s heavy and weighs me down. I want something that gives practical advice, and makes me laugh. I can’t find that book, so I’m writing it.
5.      The book could easily lead to a forum of people with chronic health issues (I would intend to create a blog, forum, or even a website for readers to connect and help each other), which would also be more free marketing, as well as good material for a following book (or two!).
6.      With 1 out of 2 people suffering from chronic health issues, it seems safe to say that nearly everyone in our country either has a health problem or loves someone who has a health problem. My book would be a great gift for either party. And when a health crisis hits, people want help and encouragement right away. My book would provide both.
SICK AND TIRED will contain 6 categories, including:
            You and Your Unhealthy Body
            Family, Friends, and a Few Nosey Strangers
            God . . . and Lesser Physicians
With fun and/or helpful chapter topics including:
            I Want a Day Off
            Doctors are just People at Work
            When You Love Someone with a Chronic Condition
            The I-Can’t-Help-It Syndrome
            Holidays and Other Family Affairs
            Chronic Illness and your Personal Temperament
            Food, Glorious, Annoying Food
            When Chicken Soup for the Soul Makes You Want to Gag
            Am I Allowed to be Crabby Today?

Each chapter will start with a quote (such as "Quit worrying about your health. It'll go away." Robert Orben), and end with a comic about health (I have contacted John MacPherson of MacPherson comics, and he is excited about the idea of being involved!).

Competing titles within the Christian market include:
After the Diagnosis: Transcending Chronic Illness by Julian Seifter, Simon & Schuster Trade Sales / 2010
Doing Well at Being Sick: Living with Chronic and Acute Illness by Wendy Wallace, Discovery House Publishers / 2010
Coping with Chronic Illness by H. Norman Wright, Lynn Ellis, Harvest House Publishers / 2010
I believe SICK AND TIRED will have a completely different collection of readers because of its focus on empathy, practical advice, and laughter--like hanging out with a bunch of friends, without having to go out and get exhausted!

A complete proposal is available. SICK AND TIRED will have 25 to 35 short chapters, and run anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 words, depending on publisher desire. Projected completion date is late July, 2012.
Would you be interested in partnering with me to get this highly-marketable message out to those who need it?  I enjoy personal marketing, especially through social media, and would be committed to marketing this book myself regardless which publisher chooses it.  I believe strongly that this book will help people and will sell well—a good combination!

Thank you for your time.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Kimberly Rae
FB: Human Trafficking Stolen Woman


Chapter 1
“Be careful about reading health books.  You may die of a misprint.” 
Mark Twain


  1. Hey Kim,
    Thanks so much for posting this! I am working on my own book proposal and feeling overwhelmed and quite unsure of myself! I need to get it off to the publishers while they still remember my book ideas and who I am! This is encouraging. I don't have the experience you do, since it will be my first book but now I have a better idea of how it flows together.
    Thanks again!

  2. Hi Amy! I know what you mean--but hey, if we were not overwhelmed, and very sure of ourselves, there wouldn't be much room in there for God to get the glory!
    I would love to help if I can. If you want to send me what you've got so far, I'd be happy to look it over and give some suggestions. And if you'd like a template for a proposal (the agent interested in this query sent me a template and it was way better than what I'd originally created), I'd be happy to pass it along to you. My e-mail is kimberlyraestolenwoman@yahoo.com.
    And FYI, this would be my first book to get published by a "real" mainstream publisher, so in a way I'm brand new to this too!
    Happy writing and don't give up!!!

  3. Thanks, Kim! Can't wait to read the whole book! Especially the chapter "When Chicken Soup for the Soul makes you want to gag"!! :-)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.