For those who've been reading the blog for more than five minutes, you know I've mentioned my non-fiction proposal more than a few times. It took forever to write and I did have the help of a freelance editor to hold my hand during the process. It was grueling but oh so satisfying when I completed it.
I've been asked more than a few times for a post describing how to go about writing one, but I'd like to leave responses to questions like that in the hands of the experts. One of the best places to look for proposal advice (and anything else you can think of related to the writing process) is literary agent Nathan Bransford's blog. Seriously, check it out. And bookmark it. If you're anything like me, you'll be referring to his site often.
And a side note on proposals: In my own agent search, I've come across one agent who states that memoirs are sold as novels and proposals and are therefore not needed. To counter that, I've also come across a billion others who say that without a proposal, your non-fiction book (memoir or otherwise) isn't going to get on a bookshelf anytime soon. In fact, many I plan to query actually require one as part of the querying process.
So take it as you will. But also take it as a lesson to further emphasize the point that agents are individuals with individual tastes and requirements for submission. Bottom line? Pretend it's a blind date where both parties are trying to figure out if they want to break the awkward silence and actually converse. Either there's chemistry or there isn't.
Here's hoping for chemistry, world peace, and a smaller ass.