5 Steps To Landing Yourself A Book Deal

Since the end of the One Week Job journey, I've spent countless hours writing the book. I’ve also received a lot of questions about the book writing process and so I’m going to explain how it works according to my experience.

First Step – Write a book proposal

A book proposal is an excerpt from the book you’d like to write. Typically it includes the first few proposed chapters and is around 80 pages in length (I was very lucky. Because of the media attention One Week Job received, there was a lot of early interest from publishers and so my book proposal was about 5 pages).

Second Step - Find a literary agent

A literary agent helps navigate the publishing scene. They will work with you on the book proposal, editing, fine-tuning, making it ready for prospective publishers to take a look at.

A literary agent takes a 15% commission. They do not get paid until you get paid and so it’s in there best interest to work hard for you. This is also why literary agent’s are very selective of the clients and book proposals they choose to take on.

As you can imagine, a major publisher receives many book proposals from aspiring authors each week. A book proposal delivered to a publisher by means of a literary agent will get more consideration and credibility.

A literary agent also helps a publisher ‘weed out’ weaker submissions. The publisher is aware that for the agent to take on a project means that some due diligence has already been done.

Third Step – Choose Where To Submit

The literary agent will determine what publishing houses would be interested in your work (usually based on their previous titles), then approach an editor at the publishing house with the book proposal.

If an editor likes the book proposal, wants to work on such a book, and determines that there’s a place for it with their other titles, then negotiations will start.

Fourth Step – Show Me The Money

The editor will determine what money is available to purchase the rights to publish the book. This is called an advance against royalties.

An advance is paid in installments to the author. Often three equal payments – one on the signing of the contract, the second on delivery of the manuscript (first draft), and the final installment on publication of the book.

This is an advance against royalties - meaning that the author doesn’t get a pay check until the publishing house has earned back this initial advance. If the publishing house never recoups this advance, the author is not required to pay back the difference.

Other things that are discussed in the contract stage are territory rights (in which countries they can sell the book), the royalty the author will receive on the sale of each book (typically between 7–10%), among many others.

If there’s interest from a few publishing houses for the same book, then they might compete against each other by increasing the amount of the advance offered.

Fifth Step – Write the book

I will discuss my experience with this step in an upcoming post.

Any more questions? Discuss in the comments!