Frequently Asked Questions


1. How is this membership site about book proposals different from your Book Proposals That Sell? If I’ve read that book, why do I need this program?


Seven years of learning is the short answer. While Book Proposals That Sell is excellent and continues to receive solid reviews and endorsements, I wrote it over seven years ago. Each day, I continue to grow in my knowledge of this area of the marketplace as a former editor and literary agent now turned Publisher and author. The WriteABookProposal Membership site will use my current experience in the area of book proposal creation.


Also Book Proposals That Sell is more of an overview and doesn’t provide step-by-step instruction to create an excellent book proposal. This membership site approaches this key area of  publishing in greater depth. Additionally individuals will find WriteABookproposal is much more prescriptive. Each week includes specific assignments to accomplish your publishing goals.


2.  I want to do my book proposal right away. Why does your fixed membership site training take three months?


I understand your eagerness to get your proposal written and out to the editors and literary agents. You will need the three months of lessons to take advantage of my 25+ years of publishing insights into building your best possible book proposal. You only get one chance to make a good first impression and I want you to completely bulletproof your book proposal and give yourself the best possible opportunity for success.


3.  Is this for “newbie” or “experienced” writers?


A WriteABookProposal membership is perfect for persons of all experience and skill levels. Many people have never written a book proposal and even if you have written a book proposal and published a book, you will learn from my years of experience within the publishing community through this program. Each week’s lesson is broken down into manageable steps for easy application. Also I provide “advanced” insights which experienced authors will be able to put into practice.


Whether you want to write a novel or a children’s book or a nonfiction book, this course is designed to create a book proposal for your particular project.


4.  Does my membership include personal coaching?


Unfortunately, the answer is “no.” While I will always be available to handle support requests (such as I can’t download this week’s lesson) I simply don’t have the time to personally coach 1,000 members. Even if every member just asked ONE question (even a simple question) it would be impossible to handle all of the requests.


5. I’ve written a complete novel, do I need your training course about writing a book proposal?


First, I congratulate you for your understanding of a key fact. For every first-time novelist, they must write their full manuscript before they look for a literary agent or an editor. There are horror stories within the publishing community where a publishing house contracted with an author for a novel. Because that novel was unfinished, the author couldn’t complete the book. That situation creates a whole new set of difficulties which every publisher wants to avoid.


The storytelling skills of a novelist are the first ingredient in any manuscript. For over two years, I was the Fiction Acquisitions Editor at Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster. While storytelling is primary, a book proposal can make the difference between acceptance and rejection. The proposal contains selling information which will never appear in a manuscript yet is critical to make a publishing decision about your novel. This course will teach you these important skills. Yes, you need a book proposal even if you have written a novel.


6. I’ve written a children’s book, do I need your training course to write a book proposal?


Admittedly the children’s market presents a unique set of challenges for any author. Most writers believe anyone can thrown down some words on paper and write a children’s book. They’ve read a ton of them and they seem simple. They are not simple. Because children’s books use controlled vocabulary and simple words, they require a great deal of work to produce. I’ve published more than a dozen children’s books and also acquired children’s books when I was an acquisitions editor. The story and how you have shaped it will be a key part of the publishing decision for a children’s writer. If you learn to create an excellent book proposal, it can make the difference between instant rejection and careful consideration and possible acceptance. Yes, if you are a children’s author, you need this training course.


7. I’ve heard that you don’t need to write the full manuscript if you are writing a nonfiction book. Is that true?


I’ve authored or co-authored more than a dozen books which were sold to the publisher on the basis of a full-length book contract and a sample chapter or two. These books were adult nonfiction. It is true that with an excellent book proposal and a sample chapter, you can market your idea to literary agents and book editors.  It is not necessary and even preferable not to write the full manuscript for adult nonfiction books.


8. How can I come up with an idea for a book proposal that a publishing house will pay me to publish?


I actually answer this in lesson #2 of the training series. So, in order to not offend paying members for letting this information out for free, please join and read that lesson. :-)


9. Do I have to commit to the entire 3 months?


Of course not. While I don’t think you’ll want to do so, you may cancel anytime you want. You may email me through the Contact Us link on this page for a prompt and courteous cancellation. Like I said, I don’t think you’ll want to do so after diving in to the training!


If you have any other questions that might be beneficial to visitors of the site (and yourself, of course!) please email me through the Contact Us button on the navigation bar.


Best regards,



W. Terry Whalin


9457 S University Blvd, Suite 621,

Highlands Ranch, CO 80126-4976


Copyright © 2015 Whalin & Associates - All Rights Reserved

About W. Terry Whalin

 W. Terry Whalin photo 
W. Terry Whalin has been a book acquisitions editor for over five years. The acquisitions editor is the first person to read the submissions to a publishing house then champions the author's project in front of a room of publishing executives. Terry knows the inside scoop on what publishers want in a book proposal.
As a writer, Terry has published more than 60 books with traditional publishers such as Zondervan, St. Martins Press, Tyndale and others. A traditional publisher pays you to write the book. Twice in his career, he has written book proposals which received a six-figure advance. One of these proposals is included in Book Proposals That Sell. A popular speaker at conferences, Terry often teaches about book proposals.
What Others Say About Terry's Teaching on book proposals 
"With practical know-how and tons of proven tips, this book is like that wise friend who’s been in the business, knows what works and why. Step-by-step, Terry Whalin guides and inspires both beginners and even experienced writers to doing better, successful, meaningful work."
--Jeanette Thomason, former Editorial Director Waterbrook/ Random House


"Traditional publishing is shrouded with mystery. Terry Whalin peels back the curtain to give authors an inside look at what a writer needs to provide a publisher. Following his advice will give you the edge you need to create a slam dunk proposal!"
--Michael S. Hyatt, former Chairman of Thomas Nelson Publishers & founder of Platform University

"Terry Whalin has written an informative book to help people navigate the treacherous waters of getting published. An indispensable tool for new authors."
--Scott Waxman, Literary Agent and Co-Founder of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency, New York

"With years of experience as an author and an editor, Terry Whalin has written a book that can help any writer. Book Proposals That Sell offers great advice on building the nonfiction proposal and also explains the inner workings of the editor's and publication board's role in acquiring a new book. Novelists, too, will find this background information very helpful. All authors need to understand the uphill battle they face in selling a book before they can be fully prepared to submit their absolute best proposal or manuscript. Whalin's book lays out what they'll face--and then shows them how to win the battle."
--Brandilyn Collins, best-selling novelist

"As a successful author and acquisitions editor, Terry Whalin knows why some proposals bring publishers to attention and why others put publishers to sleep. Heed his advice and your next proposal just may be your break-through."
--Dan Benson, former Editorial Director, NavPress



"Many beginning book writers complain that it’s harder to write the proposal than the book itself. Until they know how, that’s probably true. Terry Whalin knows the secrets of good book proposals. As a writer, he’s composed many book proposals; as an editor, he’s read hundreds of them."
--Cecil Murphey, writer, co-writer, or ghostwriter of more than 100 books including 90 Minutes in Heaven.



"In the often bewildering world of book publishing, aspiring authors need more than desire, creative skill, and something worthwhile to say. They also need a road map. My friend Terry Whalin offers a map even Rand-McNally couldn’t top. If you have any inclination toward getting a book published, you’ll do well by studying this book first."
--Larry Libby, Senior Editor, Multnomah Publishers



"If every proposal I received followed the rules of Book Proposals That Sell, my job would be a lot easier! Whalin has produced an indispensable tool that is both practical and powerful."
--Kyle Duncan, Publisherl, David C. Cook



"A tremendous book with crisp, concise and insightful advice that make this an invaluable resource for every writer! Ignore his counsel at your peril."
--Steve Laube, Literary Agent and President, The Steve Laube Agency


"How does one get a foot in the editorial door? Publishers want to see a clear, direct, and well organized book proposal. Without one, most will not get a second chance to make a good first impression."
--Leonard G. Goss, Book Editor, www.goodeditors.com

"Writers who are serious about getting published need more than talent. They need the inside scoop on what really goes on in publishing. Terry Whalin offers insider information for writers at every level in Book Proposals That Sell. This book is bursting with real life examples and bottom-line advise to create professional proposals that will make editors sit up and take notice."
--Vicki Caruana, teacher and author of the best-selling Apples & Chalkdust.

Terry Whalin has written scores of book proposals. And, as an acquisitions editor at two publishing houses, he’s read his fair share of proposals. Now he shares his wealth of knowledge in succinct chapters brimming with pointers.
--Janet Kobobel Grant, Literary Agent, Books & Such

This is a valuable step-by-step guide to doing a book proposal. It tells would-be authors what agents and editors look for in book proposals, with advice on how you can tailor your book proposal for the market at which you’re aiming.
--Timothy Harper, editor, the ASJA Guide to Freelance Writing

As an agent, I’ve read Terry’s nonfiction proposals and have always been impressed. He knows how to put together a winning presentation to capture a potential editor’s attention and get a decision. In Book Proposals That Sell, Terry combines his compassion for writers with his considerable publishing experience to create a must-have book for anyone preparing a nonfiction proposal.
--Claudia Cross, Literary Agent, Folio Literary Management,
New York City

Selling a book may be one of the most intimidating challenges you will ever face. However, an intimate knowledge of the process helps make it easier. Terry Whalin offers his broad knowledge of this business—from both sides of the editor’s desk—make him the perfect resource for helping you develop a proposal that sells.
--Sally E. Stuart, Founder, Christian Writer’s Market Guide

A well-written book proposal gains attention, piques interest, and provides the information an editor--and later the publicity department--needs to convince not only his editorial staff but the whole publishing team. Terry Whalin provides the know-how to add sales appeal to any book proposal.
--Les Stobbe, Literary Agent