How to Write a Winning Proposal

Mike Hackett  |   August 12, 2020

Are you interested in the publishing process but perhaps a little uncertain about writing a publishing proposal? Director of STEM and Innovation at Kendall Hunt, Mike Hackett, shares his tips on crafting a proposal that is strong, relevant, and unique:

  1. Understand the opportunity.  Is there a need on the market for your proposed project?  Articulate this in a brief introductory paragraph: the need, your reasons for wanting to write, and how it differs from what currently exists. In addition, who exactly are you writing for?  What is your audience?  Two year, community college students with varied backgrounds and reading ability for an intro course?  Higher level students in a four year university, taking an upper level course? 
  2. Organize your thoughts.  A table of contents shows that you’ve considered what you want to cover, the order, allows you to convey why you choose to cover certain material, and exposes potential gaps.  If you are proposing a title for your own use, it’s up to you.  If you are writing for a broader audience, you need to be cognizant of what is really “course-critical” to a larger audience.
  3. Think through the process.  How long will it take to create the content?  Mock up a schedule based on your personal variables (allow for work, family, etc).  How much time will it take to write per chapter?  How much art will be required?  A ballpark idea is fine.  If you need illustrations, line drawings or graphs, be sure to include these in your estimate.
  4. What are the pedagogical elements you will include?  Feature boxes?  Interesting chapter openers?  Chapter summaries?  In-line assessment?  How frequent/consistent will they be throughout the work? 
  5. What does it need?  Most products are digital or have a digital version available.  Along with this are supplemental materials for students and faculty: Student Study Guides, Student Solutions Manuals, Lab Manuals, animations, videos, Lecture PowerPoints.  Think these through and articulate them in your proposal. 
  6. Why do you want to work with Kendall Hunt?
  7. Length. Keep it to 3-4 pages, digestible, and able to be read fairly easily.  Feel free to put your personality into it!
  8. Don’t forget: Add your C.V. to it as well.