Guilford is interested in considering trade books for the general public in Mental Health, Psychology, and Parenting. We do not publish fiction, poetry, biographies, memoirs, or autobiographies. Please explore our website for more detail on our current trade book program.
We prefer to receive a proposal at first rather than an entire manuscript.
What we need to see in a trade book proposal:
There are many resources online to help you craft a full book proposal. We don't necessarily need all the pieces these sites describe (although it doesn't hurt), but we do need these items:
1. An overview that speaks directly to the reader about the concern/problem that the book is addressing. Start with a hook that gets right to the point:
- "What do you do when your child's tantrums are way over the top and are wearing you down?"
- "Over XX percent of adults today suffer from XX disorder, yet only X of them have found the treatment that works for them."
- "How do you change your partner without exchanging him for a new one? You don't."
Then immediately follow with how your book will answer the question or fill the gap. In a few paragraphs:
- Describe what the book offers in concrete terms: A comprehensive look at a complicated problem? Practical advice for parenting a child with a specific problem? Complete information about professional treatment, self-help, and coping methods? Advice from people who've been through the problem as well as insight from the professional author?
- Always couch what you're offering in terms of how this book fills an unoccupied niche in the market and what's unique about it: The latest scientific information, not yet available in a book? A new theory that reframes a psychological problem for readers in a way that offers new hope (say how)? A proven intervention translated for use as self-help for the first time (give hard data for its effectiveness)? An author who is familiar to and trusted by the general public (say why readers will be drawn to this author)?
Don't make generalizations about what you will talk about: "I will talk about the recent research that points to new factors involved in causing X disorder."
Do tell us some of what you will say: "The latest research shows that in fact diet really does have an impact on the course of ADHD in children. In this book I will tell parents which dietary changes are worth the trouble--cutting down on sugar, avoiding preservatives, considering organic food, and more--and how they can realistically make these shifts amid the demands of modern life."
2. A descriptive contents page: List sections and the chapters within them, each with a few lines that describe what is covered and what features (quizzes? research data? anecdotes? quotes from others who've been there?) will be used.
A brief example:
Chapter 1. Does My Child Need Help with His Anger?
Children's experience and expression of anger varies widely from age to age, with events and environment, and for many other reasons that aren't immediately evident to parents. How do you tell whether 5-year-old Johnny's outbursts are "normal" or whether sixth-grader Hannah's sullen resentment is so severe and enduring that it should be evaluated by a clinician? A questionnaire we use in our practice helps parents get an initial idea of whether to "wait and see" or make an appointment. Clear explanations of what's often beneath children's anger across development with anecdotes that will be familiar to readers of children aged 1-14 will leave parents with a clearer picture of the landscape and help them decide on next steps.
3. Author bio: No need to include an entire CV, but list credentials pertinent to your value as the author of this book. We want to know about your professional expertise, but think as your own potential reader as well: Why should parents have trust and confidence in what you have to say? If you have a media platform or are on the lecture circuit, describe these fully.
4. Competing books: Do your homework. Don't list the books that have been published on the subject for a different audience or are on related subjects. Ask yourself what parents will be searching for on amazon and list books that come up on such searches that are true competitors. (If there's another book out there that's current, very similar to yours, is well reviewed, and seems to have succeeded in the marketplace, don't grasp for an obscure difference in your work and state that it will make your book competitive; instead, take a hard look at how you might offer something substantially different and revise your book idea accordingly.)
5. A sample chapter or two: We need to see your writing. An Introduction that lays out how you'll hook your readers and tell them how to use the book would be great, but we'd also like to see a substantive chapter that illustrates the type of content you will offer in many chapters and how you'll present the information and advice.
6. Publicity and promotion assistance: Tell us how you can help market the published book: media platform, mailing lists, workshops and lectures?
7. How long will it take to prepare your manuscript? Please be realistic. Many book ideas are time sensitive, and there are always new competitors entering the market, so sooner is always better, but give serious consideration to how much writing you can fit into your ongoing schedule.
Please submit your proposal to: firstname.lastname@example.org, attn: Kitty Moore, Trade Publisher.