When you write a book proposal, the three things that publishers want to know about are the idea for the book, size of your platform and comparable books that compete with yours.
My primary argument in Every Book Is a Startup is that we should treat each of those as a hypothesis. We want to continually test if we are delivering value to readers, if we have a reliable path to gaining more customers and if the book will be challenged in the marketplace.
The order of those benchmarks matches how they are presented in a book proposal.
Here is an observation from Dani Grant, a new analyst at Union Square Ventures:
“One winning presentation format is to start with growth numbers. A lot of company presentations start with describing the product first, but nothing grabs investors’ attention like proof in data.”
That is interesting advice for authors too.
We like to think that a great book idea wins the day with publishers, but they are investors too. If you can show publishers the traction you already have, the rest of the conversation will go quicker towards getting a contract.