Podcast: Julia McCutchen on Brilliant Book Proposals and the Traditional Publishing Process

On reading this blog, you might think I am against traditional publishing. I’m not, it’s just not my experience (yet!) so I don’t really talk about it. This blog is about my experiences and tips but luckily I can interview people with different expertise so you can get perspectives on all things publishing related! This is one such interview!

JuliaMcCutchenJuly08Julia McCutchen has years of experience in the publishing industry, having helped hundreds of authors to achieve publishing success. She is an intuitive writers coach and mentor, an author and publishing consultant based in the UK. Her own book is “The Writer’s Journey: From Inspiration to Publication”.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • About Julia’s publishing background, including working with Penguin and Random House, as well as independent publishing houses
  • Why life is too short! Find the truth of who you are, and take action on your dreams. Seth Godin says “The book you write will change your life”
  • Writing a book can be a rewarding journey of self-discovery as well as self-expression
  • Julia gives an outline of the major steps you need to take in order to get a traditional publishing deal
  • Be professional and confident in yourself as a writer and convey that to publishers and agents
  • Find out about publishing as a business so you know how to go about it, get some support and prepare in advance before you start pitching
  • The foundation of 4 are so important before you start sending out your manuscript: Find your true writers voice, nurture your creative spirit, develop writing practice and be clear on your outcome. These will put you in a position of strength as the basis for being a writer.
  • Prepare a strong book proposal for a non-fiction book, or the synopsis. 2-3 sample chapters. The whole book is usually written once the contract is signed (but you still can write the whole thing prior e.g. for developing ideas).
  • For fiction writers, you need a first draft of the whole manuscript, not just chapters.
  • Definitely recommends a literary agent for fiction writers
  • Research the best agents and publishers to approach and be professional
  • Follow up the approaches you make. After a month, contact the agent/publisher (but not too soon!)
  • Julia gives us 3 Top Tips for Book Proposals – and find out about her Book Proposal Master Class here
  • Understand what you need to include in your book proposal, and leave out parts per agent/publisher. Meet the exact requirements at every single level. Pay attention to the detail as it is easy to reject you on the basics.
  • Create a blueprint proposal package, and select parts of it per agent/publisher
  • Write your compelling key sentence. Publishers and agents have no time and a short attention span. You need to be catchy, original and attention grabbing.
  • Know your reader, your market and build your author platform. Whether you want a traditional publisher, or self-publish, you need to do these things.
  • Publishers want a ready-made platform or at least a commitment to building one. Publishing is a business! The earlier you start building your platform, the better.
  • Getting an overseas agent/publisher – is it recommended? Get a local agent with international contacts.
  • Does self-publishing harm your future potential for getting a traditional book deal? In the right circumstances, it can be a valuable experience that prepares you for future success. If you can demonstrate sales in the thousands, publishers will certainly be interested! They will also be interested in the platform you have built for yourself and future books.

Julia McCutchen

Julia offers 10 free top tips on writing a great book proposal – more details here http://www.juliamccutchen.com/82/book-proposal-tips

You can find Julia at www.JuliaMcCutchen.com, or on Twitter @JuliaMcCutchen.

Her book, “The Writer’s Journey” is available here

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  1. Kev says

    You’ve done it again Jo, another fine interview, very interesting and relevant for all writers. Julia is extremely knowledgeable and helpful thank you.

  2. says

    Hi Kev
    Just thought I’d say thanx for your comment about this interview & I’m so glad to know that you found the info helpful. Let me know if you have any additional questions & I’ll be happy to answer them for you.
    Enjoy your writing and the process of taking your work out to the world!


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