Wow. Just a few weeks after I completed a 100-page book proposal for a client who's never attempted a book before, that client received a $1 million deal from a major publisher.
This is the first time a book proposal of mine has led to a million dollar result, and I've no idea when it'll happen again. But it's nice to know that, despite all the doom & gloom talk about low advances in today's market, this is still possible for a client who isn't a celebrity...as long as a proposal carefully leverages to the max every single opportunity to highlight that client's positives in the ways publishers care about most.
Also, as proof there's more than
one way to sell a book: There was no agent involved.
That wasn't actually our plan; as soon as it was ready, we emailed the proposal to one of the most prominent agents in the world. However, this very busy agent didn't manage to get back to us quickly. Meanwhile, an opportunity arose to reach out to a publisher directly...and within just a few days my client received the $1 million
To be precise, the offer is for a three-book deal. The proposal was for a single book, but I wisely included a "Future Books" section, and that helped convince the publisher that my client will be enjoying an extraordinarily strong book career.
Other recent success stories include Steve Olsher, who I've been helping since
his first manuscript. His third book What Is Your WHAT?, published by Wiley in late 2013, hit the #9 spot on The New York Times bestseller list. In his Acknowledgements, Steve thanks me for being "the world's best editor" and "for teaching me the difference between writing and being a writer."
Another recent client, represented by one of the most respected agents in publishing, uses more colorful language: "Hy Bender is the f*cking bomb. My book proposal has finally come together and I have him to thank for it. He's brutally honest, but sh*t does it make my writing sing on the page. Hire him if you want your ass kicked." I'm not actually unkind to any part of the anatomy; but I'm tough on pages, because it ultimately makes a book as great as it can possibly be. This client received the following glowing endorsement from Elizabeth Gilbert, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Eat Pray Love: "She is smart and funny and sick
and wrong and dark and playful and smart as hell—and I love her.This book is
every bit as good as the title promises."
This praise came purely from the strength of the sample chapters my client and I developed.
What do these results mean? In a nutshell, if you're seeking the best book development editor and book proposal expert available, hire me.
You'll be in good company. Authors I've recently worked with include a TV celebrity with tens of millions of fans; one of the most popular health practitioners in the country; one of the very best storytellers in the country; and an exercise guru who used to be the personal trainer of Jane Fonda (which, in the exercise world, is equivalent to being the spiritual advisor to the Pope...). That doesn't mean you have to be a star to hire me, but simply that there are powerful reasons those at the top of their field choose me to develop their books.
In addition to my world-class skills, I'm honest and will work hard for your success. For example, if you speak to other ghostwriters, they may try to persuade you to pay $35,000-$50,000 for them to write your entire book.
But the truth is that if you have a great idea for a nonfiction
book, the first step isn't to create a complete manuscript. It's to craft a book
proposal that clearly describes your concept, why it'll be compelling
to a large number of readers, the ways in which it can be promoted to
those readers, and how you'd flesh it out in book form. This proposal
can then be used to attract agents and convince book publishers. It's
only after obtaining a contractual commitment and advance payment from
a publisher that you should proceed to writing the entire book, either by yourself or with a ghostwriter.
Publishers not only prefer this approach for nonfiction books, they demand it. Among a proposal's advantages are that a busy editor can read it a lot faster than an entire manuscript; it provides critical business & marketing information that a manuscript doesn't; and it avoids you being "locked in" to any element,
giving an editor the freedom to ask for both major and minor changes before you devote an immense amount of time and effort into developing the full book.
I know of what I speak, because I'm the author
or co-author of 16 acclaimed books that have sold hundreds of thousands
These include five books in the popular Dummies series and a Complete
Idiot's Guide book, which demonstrate my
ability to explain even complex concepts in an accessible, entertaining
manner that anyone can understand.
They also include a book on electronic tools
for writers that garnered raves from The
New York Times; and a book interviewing world-renowned novelist
and screenwriter Neil Gaiman (The
Sandman Companion) that quickly became a national bestseller.
For almost all these books, I made the sale on the basis of
a 5-15 page "pitch" marketing
section, a 10-20 page detailed contents outline, and (in select cases)
a 40-60 page collection of sample chapters. I use the same skills that get my own books published to help both experienced writers and beginners—celebrities, doctors,
lawyers, business executives, artists, journalists, life coaches, psychologists,
marketers, diet experts, financial advisors, fitness trainers, spiritual
gurus, comedians, and many other diverse professionals—turn
their sharp book ideas into dynamic book proposals.
My name is Hy Bender, and I've been told repeatedly (by clients who've carefully explored the market and then chosen me) that I'm the finest book proposal writer for hire in the country. You're unlikely
to find anyone who'll do as great a job of identifying and then presenting
on paper the best aspects of your book idea. Regardless of your level
of experience, I'll take your concept very seriously and, if I believe
you have a solid chance at selling it, will work hard to create a winning
book proposal for you.
Among the reasons I'm at the top of my field is I'm a superb listener and interviewer. In addition to the extensive
interviewing performed for my bestselling books, I've used my conversational
skills to tackle projects for such renowned organizations as Morgan Stanley,
Reuters, American Insurance Group, New York Mercantile Exchange, Northern
Telecom, Juno Online Services, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Congress.
I therefore don't need you to write anything. We can create your entire proposal—and, eventually, your entire book—by simply chatting casually over the phone while I digitally record your knowledge and memories. My transcriptionist will then turn your spoken words into Microsoft Word documents...at which point we'll have text I can edit and, eventually, turn into polished material. I've used this approach to create scores of compelling proposals and acclaimed books.
Another reason to work with me is that I have a sharp sense of humor.
funny articles to such diverse national publications as The
New York Times, Mad Magazine, Spy, American Film, and Advertising
Age; contributed to the book The
Mad Bathroom Companion; am developing comedy screenplays and TV sitcom pilots;
and run two daily-updated websites covering the NYC comedy scene (HyReviews.com and BestNewYorkComedy.com). My expertise with humor allows me
to write with wit and an easy-going style, thus avoiding the sort of dry,
muted tone that spells death for most nonfiction books.
In addition, if your book have movie potential—for example, if you're writing about your life—another reason to hire me is that I'm a professional screenplay analyst (please visit HyOnYourScript.com).
My exceptionally deep understanding of stories in general and feature films in particular allows me to shape your story into a movie structure, which vastly increases
your chances of attracting both mass audiences and interest from Hollywood.
One of my clients, a New York Times bestselling author for whom I helped create an award-winning business book, calls me "the guru of book proposals."
While my specialty is proposals, I'm highly skilled at every aspect of book development. For example, if you have an existing manuscript, please know
that I'm a world-class book editor. I've turned books that no one wanted to
buy into New York Times bestsellers through thoughtful—and at times brutal—cuts,
revisions, and rewriting.
Similarly, if you're working on a fiction manuscript,
I'm exceptionally great at providing analysis, editorial, and ghostwriting
help. That's why even Hollywood screenwriters rely on me to tell them whether
their movies are well-constructed and how their stories can be improved.
Alternatively, if you need an entire book written from scratch,
I'm a quick, efficient, and superb ghostwriter.
And if you want to self-publish, I can build your
book every step of the way—writing
and/or editing the content, gathering evocative photos, making the cover and interiors appealing via superb book designers, and using a variety to tricks I've picked up to help increase your odds of success regardless of whether you're publishing an ebook (e.g., via Amazon.com's KDP Select program for Kindle), a print-on-demand book (e.g., via CreateSpace.com), an audio book, and/or a print run via one of the world's finest digital full-color presses that provides exceptional quality at affordable prices.
To learn more about my experience, please
click below to explore:
You can also read about the 16 books I've
published to date by searching for "Hy
Bender" via either Google or online book superstore Amazon.com. The following are the covers
of some of my books:
of Hy's 16 published
A book proposal is essentially a business plan
for your book. It requires only one investor—a publisher—but that
publisher will be spending tens of thousands of dollars if it greenlights
your idea. Publishers need you to provide a rock-solid document to
justify that investment.
Creating a book proposal that adequately meets this challenge therefore requires highly skilled and time-consuming effort. My rate is $60 per hour, working from upfront renewable retainers. That's very reasonable if you're serious about getting published to communicate your message to a mass audience, enhance your reputation, and/or push your career to the next level.
Further, if your budget is limited and you're willing
to do most of the work yourself, you can hire me as a guide and advisor. In
this case my rate remains $60 an hour, but you can pay a substantially smaller
retainer and lower overall cost since I'll be working fewer hours.
When you land a publisher you'll
typically receive an advance of anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000+ (depending
on the projected number of readers likely to buy your book). And if your
sales take off, you could earn a great deal more than that from your royalties.
Please don't hesitate to share your book plans with me.
I receive hundreds of book and movie ideas a year, and as a matter of policy
keep them all strictly confidential. Protecting the concepts of my clients,
and potential clients, is as automatic for me as breathing. (Alternatively,
if you have even a partial manuscript, please feel encouraged to register
it online with the US Copyright Office
at copyright.gov/eco .
It's a quick process, and
the $35 charge is worth it for peace of mind alone.)