Guest Blogger: Michelle LaRowe

Selling Your Message From the Get-Go

It’s no secret that you know your book best. So from the moment you consider going after publication, it’s important that you take a proactive role in developing the marketing language for yourself and your book.

Here are four ways how:

1. Write a killer query. Long before an agent can work to sell a book to your publisher, you’ll have to sell your book to that agent. Your query is the first opportunity to develop effective “sell language” for your book. Your sell language can include a crafty title, an effective tagline that summarizes your book or concept, or a key word or phrase that you’ve coined or adapted as your own.

Some of the sell language that I’ve used in my queries has included:

· Nanny to the Rescue!
· 112 of the Most Practical Lists for Moms to Live By
· How to Manage Kids, Career and Home

2. Pen a standup biography. We’ve heard it a million times but it’s true. When it comes to getting published, your platform matters. Your professional biography is your opportunity to sell yourself and your platform. It’s your chance to tell a potential agent, publishing house and readers what makes you special—and qualified to write your book.

As a parenting author, I often wondered if people would be surprised to learn my first three books hit the shelves long before I ever had a child of my own. When I started asking, I realized people hadn’t even noticed because my biography was so strong. I had over a decade of professional child care experience, I was a member of several related professional and non-profit organizations (and served on the Board of Directors of a few) and had won awards that resulted in media attention. This stuff matters!

3. Draft a proposal an agent can’t turn down. Your proposal is the driving force in demonstrating the strength of a non-fiction book. A thorough and well-written proposal leaves the reader with no question about how sellable your book is.

A thorough non-fiction book proposal includes:
· proposed title
· a one-sentence description
· author biography
· target audience
· author publishing history
· author marketing history and plan
· competitive & comparable books
· a proposed outline
· sample chapters.

I remember after my agent submitted my first book proposal, the acquisition editor commented that she had never seen such a thorough and well-thought out proposal. I believe we made it hard for her to say no!

4. Be involved in writing your cover copy and marketing materials. It would be unimaginable to expect that the marketing person at your publishing house has the time to read every single book from cover to cover. Sometimes the person writing your copy relies on the information that you’ve provided in your proposal to write the cover copy for your book and marketing materials.

The person writing your copy may not know your audience like you do, or know the phrasing nuances that may hook those in your market, so be sure to speak up and let the powers that be know you’re interested in being involved. I am always pleased when I see phrases and taglines that I’ve used in my proposals make it to the back cover. It helps assure me that the true message of my book is what’s getting sold.


The success of your book is important to all of those who are involved with it and it’s everyone’s desire to put the best product forward. When you take an active role in selling your book from the get go, you let everyone know you’re ready to be part of a winning team that takes selling their message seriously.

Michelle LaRowe is a client of WordServe Literary and her newest book, A Mom’s Ultimate Book of Lists: 100+ Lists to Save You Time, Money and Sanity just released. To learn more about Michelle visit,

  1. Anonymous says:

    >Brim over I acquiesce in but I contemplate the collection should acquire more info then it has.

  2. Anonymous says:

    >Genial dispatch and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you for your information.

  3. Michelle LaRowe says:

    >Thanks for your comments! @ David, I guess pregnancy brain is real! I have 8 weeks left to go and even reading the post I can't figure out what the 5th one should be! LOL. Thanks again!

  4. Aimee LS says:

    >I agree, a very insightful post. But I'm still struggling with the "Build a Platform" portion.

    In my bible God's priorities for me go:
    1. Daughter of God
    2. Wife
    3. Mother
    4. Friend / Ministry Worker
    5. Writer.

    "Platform Builder / Maintainer" will have to come last, so God really is going to have to work a miracle for me I think! 😉

  5. Sarah says:

    >As someone who functions best within given boundaries and guidelines, this post helped me out so much! I can't just hear 'Do your best and write well'… I need to know HOW, and you helped lay out some good footsteps for me to follow. Thanks!

  6. David A. Todd says:

    >Good list, but I feel cheated. You promised five but gave only four!

  7. REG says:

    >I am learning so much from reading this blog. Thanks for taking the time to educate aspiring writers.

  8. Jamie says:

    >Very informative. Thank you!

  9. Dana says:

    >I am encouraged. Your posts and guest bloggers give me the direction and insight I need to make this happen. I got a lot of ideas from MIchelle's website.


  10. Marla Taviano says:

    >Oooh! The Lists book looks great! I'm a sucker for a good list (or 112 of them).

  11. Kathleen L. Maher says:

    >how timely! I am working on a proposal for a certain brilliant agent. ;D
    Great info here.

  12. lynnrush says:

    >Great stuff here. Thanks for the post.

  13. Sharon A. Lavy says:

    >Like Rachel said. This is interesting. A book of lists.

  14. Rachel says:


    Sidenote: I really want that "Lists" book. Going to Amazon immediately.

  15. Ronda Laveen says:

    >That first commenter is quite wordy.

    The info here is great.

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