So you have the world’s greatest idea for a book? It is not an idea for a novel but a nonfiction book that will make your own and the rest of humankind’s lives better. Excellent. Publishers are listening to ideas like yours. Pretty soon, however, publishers will request a table of contents for the book from the author. Here is why it is so important.
If you have looked at book proposal forms that big publishers want authors to fill in, you have noticed that they require plenty of information. At some stage during a book project, all that information may become useful, but in the early stages, it is really three key points that matter when drafting a book proposal:
1. Theme of the book.
2. Target audience.
3. Table of contents.
First, you have to be able to explain why your book idea is so compelling that it must be written, published and marketed. A short argument that is easy to understand is usually better than one that requires long explanation.
Second, the first thing that writers learn at a writing course is that you should always write to a predefined target audience. Once you have managed to narrow down your target audience, it actually makes writing easier. It is time well spent when planning a book.
Third, table of contents (TOC) tells a publisher many things:
So, if you have been brainstorming ideas for a book, but you are not sure which one will stick, draft a table of contents for each one. If you can create a credible TOC that looks like something people would want to read about, you may have something that’s worth pursuing.