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Jen & Kerry: Publish a Book & Cross It Off Your Bucket List

Arts >

img_9118as1This week we are honored to have a guest blog post written by nationally recognized authors Jennifer Worick and Kerry Colburn. Jen and Kerry are the authors of the writer’s blog The Business of Books, which helps new and established authors traverse the treacherous waters of the book publishing business.

For the last two years, Jen and Kerry have been hosting regular workshops here in Seattle, Washington that help authors with various aspects of the book business: to crafting compelling copy, to choosing a publisher, to submitting proposals and, finally, to selling your finished product. These workshops are excellent opportunities for authors overwhelmed with the process of getting published to get hands-on assistance from two successful veterans of the publishing business.

For this post, they offer some basic advice on how to get your book idea published. For more in-depth information, be sure to attend their workshop on Saturday, February 9 at Hotel 1000: 30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal.

So, without further ado, here’s Jen and Kerry:

You’ve got a bucket list, admit it. Maybe you want to climb Mount Everest or star in a Broadway show or learn Farsi.

Yeah, you’re probably not going to get to any of those things anytime soon.

But there is another bucket list item that doesn’t have to be far-fetched. You can write and publish a book, maybe even this year.

We’ve found that most people we come into contact with have a book idea, or sadly, a half-finished manuscript languishing on a flash drive. But they don’t know what to do next. They are daunted by the prospect of writing a whole manuscript or are in the dark about how to get it into the hands of an agent or publisher.

Here’s the thing: You don’t have to write the whole manuscript to get a book deal. In fact, for most types of books, agents and editors don’t want it. They want a solid, professional book proposal with great writing, a marketable concept and a savvy business plan.

As former publishing professionals, these are just a few of the things we’ve heard in acquisitions meetings that ultimately shot down a viable book idea:

–  “Who is this person? The author doesn’t seem to have any contacts.”

–  “I can’t tell what the book’s about.”

– “I don’t have any confidence the author can deliver a workable manuscript on time.”

– “The title is awful.”

– “Who’s the audience for this book?”

– “This is a great book idea, but it’s been done.”

– “How is the author going to help sell this book? She doesn’t look very savvy or marketable.”

What will convince them to acquire YOUR book? A killer book proposal that covers all the publishing and business bases, in addition to terrific writing.

That’s where we come in. In our Feb. 9 all-day intensive workshop, 30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal, we break down the proposal process into a totally doable 4-week plan. We will show you how to refine your idea, go through exactly what to include, and share concrete tools so you can move your proposal forward efficiently on your own. You’ll leave with a plan for an on-point proposal, ready to send to publishers or agents.

Included in this results-oriented workshop is our Publishing Toolkit. Basically Jen & Kerry in a binder, the Toolkit is filled with all the notes and materials to develop your proposal—including step-by-step advice, exercises and worksheets, information on creating a targeted submission list, and two real sample proposals that have sold to publishers.

So get busy on that bucket list and join us on Feb. 9. It will be a day well spent! Register here:

You can find publishing and writing tips at Or follow us on twitter @jenandkerry or join our Facebook page at The Business of Books.