08/22/2014 03:32 pm ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

10 Things I Learned #NLGJA14 Boot Camp

#NLGA14 Boot Camp I attended "The Write Stuff: How to Write a Book Proposal that Sells Without Selling Out" the speaker was Valerie Boyd a journalist, professor at University of Georgia, and award-winning author of Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston. Boyd shared "secrets" she learned from writing three book proposals which resulted in an agent and three book deals, plus what she learned from her unsuccessful book proposal. The secrets are as follows:

1. For non-fiction books you need a book proposal that varies in length from 10 to 100 pages.

2. For major publishing houses you also need an agent to submit a book proposal.

3. For smaller publishing houses, university press, and independent publishing houses, follow the submission guidelines on their website or submit to the acquisition editor.

4. There are two goals for the book proposal: sell the publisher on an idea and sell the publisher on you.

5. The proposal is the book in microcosm.

6. There are eleven essentials of a book proposal.

7. There are two optional elements of a book proposal: an endorsements section and a supporting materials section.

8. They are four questions to focus your idea.

9. If a house publishes your book there is a "first refusal clause" for subsequent books.

10. From Richard Rhodes, "How to Write: Advice and Reflection":

If writing a book is impossible, write a chapter.
If writing a chapter is impossible, write a page.
If writing a page is impossible, write a paragraph.
If writing a paragraph is impossible, write a sentence.
If writing a sentence is impossible write a word.
. . . and teach yourself everything there is to know about that word, and then write another connected word and see where the connection leads.

Peace and blessings.