New–for writers!

I just finished two small books for writers. Both are based on popular classes I’ve taught. The first is Finish Your Book, a short guide (about 25 pages) that offers tips and guidance for overcoming the stumbling blocks that keep you from finishing that novel you started last year. The other is Write Your Book Proposal, a slightly longer piece (about 35 pages) on putting together a proposal for a nonfiction book. Both links will lead you to the Kindle edition. Both also have paperback versions, here and here. It always takes Amazon a while to link the two together.

Hope you find these helpful!

Six-Week Book Proposal Class – September enrolling now!

Write Your Book Proposal E-Course

Starts September 9, 2013

For many writers and experts who’d like to write a nonfiction book, putting together the book proposal is the most intimidating – yet most important – part of the process. Veteran book author Jennifer Lawler’s six-week e-course will walk you through every step of the way, from idea to finished proposal. This class is offered just two times per year, in March and September.

Click here for complete information about this class (scroll down partway).

Book Proposal Boot Camp – June 15th and 16th!

Book Proposal Boot Camp

Write your book proposal in a weekend! 

June 15th and 16th, 2013!

My popular book proposal class usually takes place over the course of six weeks. But I’m offering a new approach – Book Proposal Boot Camp! This is a virtual class – everything takes place via email and online – that will take place over just one weekend.

Click here for full information about this class.

“Write Your Book Proposal” e-course update!

This blog actually started as a resource for writers, and now I don’t know what it is, but I may as well use it to announce that I’ve scheduled the March session of my “Write Your Book Proposal” e-course. More information can be found here. This is a class for people who want to write nonfiction books but would like some guidance in writing the proposal that can sell such a book to a publisher.

I usually run this course twice a year, once in March and once in September. This year, the March session will begin Monday, March 7. The class lasts six weeks and covers all aspects of writing a book proposal, except the sample chapter(s). Feel free to e-mail me if you have any questions: I can be reached at jennifer dot jenniferlawler dot com.

I’ll be back with a real post next week!

What’s Your Book?


That’s my new tagline for Act 3.  (Waaay back in Act 1, I would have snorted tea up my nose if someone had suggested that I needed a tagline.  What can I say?  Times change.)


I love writing books, but I also love helping other writers shape their book ideas and bring them to fruition.  If I may be so immodest, I’m pretty good at it, too.  It’s not just a matter of bringing my understanding of the market and the industry to bear on a particular project.  It has to do with wanting to meet the writer where the writer is, and to not impose my ideas about what the book should be.  Ideally, my experience and expertise will help the writer shape a more marketable book, but won’t alter its substance or the writer’s vision for the book.


This is a lot harder than it sounds, for both the writer and for me.  But it’s work worth doing.  So, to that end, I’m pleased to announce that I am back in the coaching business. 


For writers who have a nonfiction book they’re working on, please be aware that I’m running my book proposal e-course this summer (starting Monday, June 21).  Let me know at if you have questions or want further information.


For writers who are interested in expanding their areas of expertise, I’m offering my Freelance Editing 101 e-course  (scroll down the page) through the Renegade Writer, starting July 12.  Again, please e-mail me with questions.


And in fun news, I’ve got a new book coming out later this week – Cold Hands, Warm Hearts (Avalon), a contemporary romance written under my pen name, Jenny Jacobs. 


What’s your book?

Book proposal basics

Like most agents (like most anyone), I spend my days juggling a lot of competing priorities.  I always have more opportunities — in terms of clients I could take on, editors I could schmooze with, colleagues I could connect with, projects I could work on — than I have actual time and energy. 

So here’s the thing: if I like your book idea, but your book proposal needs work, I have to think really hard and really long about whether I want to do the work that’s going be required of me to get your proposal ready for the world, even if you’re going to be doing the heavy lifting of editing, revising and polishing.  And trust me when I say: if I have to think really hard and really long about anything, the answer usually ends up being “no.”

Some questions to ask when you’re getting ready to send your proposal out:

Is this really different from other books like it?

Why would anyone want to read this book?

Is my writing appropriate to my audience?  If you’re envisioning your book on the shelves at Borders, then your proposal should be written in a trade voice, which is not the voice you used when you wrote your dissertation.

Is my argument or theme logically and consistently presented?  Do I even have an argument or theme?  (In other words, what is the point of my book, and is that point clear from the very first page of the proposal?)

Why would an editor (or agent) look at this proposal and think, “Wow, this is a book I have to buy (represent)”?

If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions, or your answer is “no,” then spend a little more quality time with your proposal.  You’ll be glad you did.

For more information on book proposals, visit my website.