Thank you for your interest in the literary agency division of The Lisa Ekus Group. We represent culinary non-fiction titles, specifically cookbooks, and sometimes other culinary topics, like nutrition-related health and wellness, and wine and cocktail books. Please note that we do not handle fiction, poetry, or children’s books. If we receive a query for titles in these categories, please understand that we do not have the time or resources to respond.
We strive to respond to all formal queries and relevant proposals within six weeks. Please note, due to the high volume of queries we receive, we are unable to respond to general requests via phone or e-mail for advice on an idea, concept, book direction, or culinary career. If you are interested in targeted feedback on your proposal, please consider scheduling a consultation.
If your idea is worthy of a book, then it’s worth investing the time and energy to create a proposal. We encourage you to review our proposal guidelines. Our website also features a list of helpful references and frequently asked questions. We recommend pursuing your own research, as well, to learn more about the publishing process, the current marketplace, and the potential of your book concept.
Please do not call or e-mail to follow up on your proposal submission.
For more information, please see our literary agency overview.
PROPOSAL SUBMISSION GUIDELINES
Your proposal provides a blueprint of your book concept to a prospective publishing house, and should clearly demonstrate how and why your book will sell. Your proposal package should contain anything and everything needed to convince the agent and editor/publisher that your book is worth publishing.
To submit your proposal to The Lisa Ekus Group, please e-mail it to LisaEkus@LisaEkus.com and note in subject line: Proposal Submission. We do accept hard copy submissions as well. Send sufficient postage and an appropriately-sized envelope if you would like us to return your materials.
The following are essential components in any non-fiction book proposal:
Title Page: Includes title, subtitle, author name(s), address, phone number, and e-mail address. Upon signing with an agent, you will also include your agent’s name and contact information on this page.
Proposal Contents: A “table of contents” page for the proposal (not the book), complete with section names and corresponding page numbers.
Concept/Overview: A written overview of the book with persuasive arguments for why it should be published, including the origin of the idea (basically, the answer to “Why am I writing this book?”).
Author Biography: Describes why and how you are qualified to write this book. It should clearly explain your platform (meaning your continuous visibility in the marketplace). You will want to include your background, books and/or publications, as well as any media exposure. If available, press materials, writing samples, and television/video appearance links should be included. Social media numbers are important in establishing and promoting ones platform/following.
Markets for the Book: All too often, a writer gets so excited about his or her book that he believes everyone will want it and is inclined to make claims about it being “the only book on the market, and like nothing else ever done before.” Editors will want to see that you have a clear idea of who is the market is for your book, what will motivate readers to buy the book, and how those readers will benefit from your book. What is your POD: Point of Differentiation?
Promotion Plan: Is there a built-in audience, such as a cooking school or restaurant clientele, to whom the book can be heavily marketed? Do you have especially strong contacts in a particular field that would prove useful? It’s no longer sufficient to have a great idea; publishers will want to be convinced that you have a solid, established base of continued visibility in the marketplace, whether it’s through your social media presence, published articles or previous books, television or radio appearances, a restaurant, or other retail venues. As the author, it’s critical that you are willing to promote your book as a marketing partner with your publisher. Think seriously about what you can and will do to aid in the success and sales of your book. Consider all of your connections and networks, your schedule and commitments, your ability to travel, local/regional places that would be excellent venues for book signing, potential media appearances, affiliations with organizations, cooking classes/demonstrations, special events, and other creative ways you plan to publicize your book.
Competition: The primary questions answered here are: What other books are available on this subject? And, what sets this book apart from them? This section is not about negating the competition; it should simply explain what your book offers that others do not. In some cases, showing an editor that you are aware of other books on the topics helps validate your idea. A writer is responsible for knowing the competition; this knowledge will help you as a writer to develop your voice and understand what makes your book unique.
Table of Contents: A chapter-by-chapter outline of the proposed book, including any major elements (such as sidebars or fact boxes) within each chapter.
Vision (optional): A brief paragraph outlining the look and feel you would like for the book. You may want to call upon other books that resonate with you and have a similar aesthetic. Illustrate that you have a distinct vision but that you also are open to collaborating based on the best overall package for your book. If you know you want to work with a specific photographer you may mention it here. Or, if you would like to propose delivering the photography yourself, include that here along with sample work or links to what you would consider book quality images.
Chapter Summaries: A thorough description of each chapter, typically paragraph summaries. If you are proposing a cookbook, be sure to include the number of recipes you envision in each chapter. This section will be strengthened if you can provide as complete a listing of recipe titles as possible.
Complete Sample Chapter: The most important section of the proposal. It should be fluent and well organized, and must include a strong set of at least 6-10 recipes. This single chapter should illustrate the overall concept of the book and should provide clearly demonstrate your writing ability and recipe technique. The key to this section is to “show” rather than “tell.” All recipes must be fully tested.
Here are a few additional tips to ensure that your proposal is as strong as possible:
- Make sure the recipes work, keeping in mind that editors will often test several recipes.
- Avoid gimmicks. The work should speak for itself.
- Spell-check the entire document. Then get a fresh set of eyes to proof read one more time.
- Include numbers and headers on each page.
- If you submit a hard copy proposal, include a self-addressed envelope or mailer with sufficient postage so that the proposal can be returned. Please indicate if you don’t want your materials to be returned, so that we can recycle the paper.
- If possible, enclose a good, short (no more than five minutes in length) link to a recent TV appearance.
Please note that these guidelines represent industry standards for creating a professional proposal package. Following these steps, however, does not guarantee representation with our or any agency.
We wish you the best of luck bringing your book to life!