The Big Five

This post is for the non-fiction writers out there. I am putting together a non-fiction proposal, my first, and decided to do a little research on how to do it right. I checked out Thinking Like Your Editor – How to write Great Serious Nonfiction and Get It Published. It’s written by husband and wife literary agents, Susan Rabiner and Alfred Fortunato, and they bring their years of experience in the publishing world to the pages of this book. 

Perhaps the most beneficial information are the “Big Five” questions that editors say they want answered in a book  proposal.

1. What is this book about?

2. What is the book’s thesis (or the book’s argument) and what’s it about?

3. Why are you the person to write this book?

4. Why is now the time to publish this book?

5. Who makes up the core audience  for the proposed book, and why will they find it appealing?

 While answering these questions may be at the core of a good nonfiction proposal, I think they should also guide the efforts of fiction writers the next time you plan your next novel. If nothing else, question #1 will help you get to the essence of what your story is about and even help you craft your all important elevator pitch.

Do you agree with this list? Any more questions to add?

To the keyboards!



Mark Fadden is a freelance writer and author whose latest, award-winning suspense thriller, The Brink, is now available as an eBook for Kindle and Barnes & Noble nook for only $2.99!

The Brink is a hell of a read.” – Bestselling author Sandra Brown

“Mark Fadden is a masterful storyteller.” – Writer’s Digest

“Mark Fadden is the next Dan Brown.” – Triple C Ranch Book Club, Southlake, Texas

Check out The Brink and Mark’s other books at

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