I have enjoyed many of the books that your company, [insert company name here], has published. Since I’m so familiar with the writing that you love, I can tell that my book is tailor-made for [insert company name here]! I’ve have completed my proposal especially for you and hope to be chosen as the next [insert company name here] author.
You have a great book, you’ve studied your craft and your topic. You even know which publishers will want to see your book. Great. Just copy the letter above with the first chapter of your soon-to-be best seller a dozen times and mail it to those publishers. Done deal!
Every acquisitions editor is different. They want to see different things, and they want to see them in different ways. I know authors believe that the only reason they have different preferences is to make things more complicated, but it isn’t. One editor might prefer synopses while another wants only a short blurb. One company might ask for the dreaded chapter by chapter synopsis while someone else requires a bulleted list of topics and subtopics.
It doesn’t really matter what they request of you. Want to get on their good side? Accommodate them. Want to get a pass? Ignore their requests.
Frankly, your following the desires of the publishing company shows the dedication to your career and your respect for the company for which you’d like to work.
If an author won’t follow simple instructions written in plain English, why would the editor want to work with him or her? And seriously, the editor is choosing more than a book. He or she is choosing with whom they’d like to work.
My best advice: Set up a file for each of the proposals you want to send. Go ahead, make it a dozen, but be sure to make each one exactly as that editor instructs. There is a reason for every piece of information they’ve requested. Bottom line: Give the publisher as many excuses as you can to say, “Yes!” to your manuscript.
Oh, and if you do decide to send your proposal to several editors at once, make sure you note that your proposal is a simultaneous submission.