Friday, July 5, 2013

Tackling One-Pagers (Part 1)

If someone could build Stonehenge, you can build a one-pager
Mini me. Proposal in a nutshell. Hope on a rope. One-pager. One sheet. Oh, just shoot me. My last prayer.

I've heard all of these terms used to describe the same thing: THE most important item you'll carry to your next writer's conference. Your one-pager.

A one-pager is a single-spaced sheet of paper you'll hand out to editors and/or agents as a convenient (much easier for them to carry than a dozen bulky proposals pushed on them by rabid author wannabes) follow-up to your verbal book proposal presentation.

Trust me - I've spoken to enough editors to know they'll appreciate you thoughtfulness in considering their overburdened rotator cuffs and this will bode well for you during decision time.

A one-pager should include your contact info (write it on your letterhead if you have one), working title and subtitle prominently displayed, your head shot (professional, please, NOT a cell phone snapshot!) and should be written in the tone in which your book is written.

Describe the storyline/synopsis in third person present tense (using "is" instead of "was") and the idea is to make the reader (editor/agent) want to hear more. Writing your bio in third person enables the editor/agent to see how effective (and impressive) it would appear in promotional materials if they offer you a contract.

Your writing should be tight, concise, well crafted, and thoroughly edited. Include any slogans or tag lines that create promotional appeal (like a movie teaser: "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in to the water.")

I don't know any experienced writers with a manuscript at the proposal stage who don't approach writer's conferences without their one-pagers. If the editor/agent to whom you've pitched your book idea is interested in following up, they'll have everything they need to convince their publishing house team that your project has promise, and to get in touch with you to request a partial or full proposal. After that ... Lord willing and the creek don't rise ... the next request will be for your manuscript.

There are certain points about your book that must be included for your one-pager to be effective. Stay tuned to my next post for the clincher!