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A Selling or Writing Outline? - Duane Newcomb

What's the difference? A selling outline is used in the proposal to help sell the book to an editor. It consists of chapter titles, much like a table of contents, and two- five or sometimes more paragraphs under each chapter title. The idea is to quickly give the editor an idea of what is in each chapter and to explain what the reader will get from this chapter. It must sell the editor on the fact that your book will deliver on its title and will reach a fairly large readership. It is not a point by point outline, although you may want to quickly go over the points covered in the end.

A working outline is just that, a point by point outline from which you can write the book. Again start with the chapter titles. Now under each chapter you will probably want to make 3 to 7 major points. Under each major point make 2-3 sub-points. This makes a good working skeleton. From here it is just a matter of filling in the points, writing about a page or two under each point. Make sure you fill in under the title and chapter titles as well as all sub-points. This way you don't write a 70,000 word book. You write a page or two, then proceed to the next point. It takes the strain off when you think of it that way. In practice I don't outline the whole book at one time, but only one chapter at a time, and I do that in pieces. That way it doesn't become so tedious.

Article by Duane Newcomb, courtesy of The Professional Authors Newsletter
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