From Idea to Done in 6 Weeks

ENROLL NOW

Remember how excited you were when you had your first book idea?

… Like love at first sight, the air around you pulsed with possibility. You could see and feel it—your life as an author.

Perhaps gratitude enveloped you. All the crap you’d overcome—the trauma/drama; the are-you-kidding-me stories your friends recite, the wisdom they call you for at midnight—it would all be worth it.

 

Your mess would become the message you’d share with the world.

 

In that fleeting moment, you saw the vision … You were passionately committed: This time you would finally write that book! And then you find out you’re supposed to write something called a Book Proposal—the detailed business plan literary agents and publishers MUST have before they offer you representation or a publishing deal.

Come again? Isn’t writing the book hard enough? 

I know. I thought so, too.

But once you get over the shock, it can be a relief to learn that you don’t have to deliver the whole thing upfront. Script a proposal and some sample chapters, and with any luck, a publisher will advance you money to finish it. To prevent others from signing you first, they might even throw big bucks your way in a pre-empt or a bidding war.

To quote Will Ferrell (aka Ricky Bobby) from Talledega Nights: “Dear Lord Baby Jesus!”🙏

(He also said, “We thank you so much for this bountiful harvest of Dominos, KFC, and the always delicious Taco Bell,” but I digress.)

If this is such good news, why do I feel so overwhelmed?

In your quiet moments, you’re uncertain, maybe even scared. You feel yourself losing faith, energy, and momentum. You start to wonder if you’re just one of the millions of people who say they want to write a book but never will.

Other new authors get published. What if someone else releases “your” book first? (Been there!) It all seems so arbitrary, so unfair, so out of your control.

Or, let’s say you’ve actually done the work and still got rejected. What then? Can you trust literary agents when they tell you it’s not going to happen—that you’re not famous enough, not fresh enough, that your pitch doesn’t “wow”?

 

Should you believe the “experts” over what your heart knows?

Should you let your dreams die when the honeymoon phase ends?

Not if I have anything to say about it!

If you have the ache, you have what it takes.

Even if you have no degree or fame. I’ve seen it over and over—writers get published who have no “business” dreaming so big. Life can be magical like that. But no one can say yes to your book if it’s not on their desk.

Hi! I am so glad you found me. I’m Linda Sivertsen (aka “Book Mama”). I’m a bestselling author and host of the top-rated Beautiful Writers Podcast. I’ve been obsessively writing and selling books and their book proposals for twenty-five years, and have helped countless writers like you land traditional book deals.

And guess what? Most of them did not have big platforms. You probably have more “likes” and followers on social media than they did. What they had was a passion, persistence, and a willingness to take the steps. What they had was a plan.

I’m about to share that plan with you—my entire blueprint in a live, online (and/or phone) course over 6 weeks. (That’s 2 weeks longer than I’ve done in the past.) Long enough to change your life. Short enough for the stubbornest commitment-phobes. With my favorite strategies, new insider info (and proposal samples!), recorded celebrity author bonus interviews (created just for this course), and weekly deliverables, we’ll get you hip fast, and shortcut your process to the finish line. You have a lot to say. And the world desperately needs your words. Like yesterday already. (You’ve seen how things are going out there, right?!)

Here’s what I want you to have after taking this course:

  • Reconnection to your WHY and your mission.
  • Clarity about your book and how to get ‘er done.
  • Grounded enthusiasm: BIG plans with realistic action steps.
  • A finished book proposal that you and industry veterans LOVE (a godsend in marketing your book, even if you decide to self-publish).
  • Certainty around self-publishing vs. traditional (and, if it’s a deal you want, knowing how to find and connect with the right agents).
  • Resources to carry you through the writing, selling, publishing, and marketing process.
  • The peace and giddy joy of realizing one of your greatest goals (before the holidays even, don’tcha know).🎉

Call me a magical thinker. I live on the “left coast.” The sunny one. The one where you merely have to decide which reality to call your own. We get our butts kicked here in California, too, of course. But when it comes to dreams, we’ve got stars in our eyes. Nothing clouds my vision when it comes to what you can accomplish.

Don’t tell me you can’t do this. I’m a college dropout who put six commas in every sentence and went on to write, co-author, and ghostwrite eleven books (two New York Times bestsellers) and 40 magazine articles. My books have won awards, made headlines, and put me on national TV. I’ve met deadlines at the foot of my parents’ death beds; written regularly in the middle of the night as a fulltime mom, and delivered chapters to Simon & Schuster AND Hyperion from the fetal position after learning that my then-husband of 19 years was in love with someone else. I’ve dropped one of the biggest agents in the biz (without a backup plan) because I wanted to feel more of a heart connection. I walked away from the best book deal of my life b/c the publisher wouldn’t print the book on recycled paper & soy inks (3 weeks later, they agreed… phew!). I’ve written for divas and superstars, and the humblest spiritual love bugs. And my faith in self-help was severely tested when I was hired to (and did) pen a NYT bestseller with a popular teacher who ended up going to prison.

Good grief, have I learned a few things. Most importantly, about rejection.

My dogs and I eat rejection for breakfast.  In our house, when the universe or some VIP publishing exec says, “No,” we get scrappy. And creative. Take Becky’s example …

“Linda Sivertsen is my angel! I’d already written a proposal but was ready to ditch it because agents told me there was no market for it–that helping people make the best choices regarding eldercare (the topic of my work and book) was easily done online. Linda refused to believe that, telling me that our aging population made this book unique and timely. She saw my heartbreak and wouldn’t let me give up. She quickly polished my proposal to make it stronger, introduced me to a great agent, who immediately wanted it, and celebrated with me when it sold. I can’t express how much Linda changed my life or how much she means to me.”

Becky Feola, author of The Eldercare Consultant, AMACON Books–Winner of multiple awards, including the prestigious Nautilus book award in 2017

 Your Big Beautiful Book Plan

What’s the one thing nearly every one of my published clients has in common? They followed “Your Big Beautiful Book Plan,” a multi-media digital program I created in 2011 with bestselling author Danielle LaPorte (an OWN SuperSoul 100 Trailblazer). We included the best intel from our combined 35 years in the book biz and packed our digital book with excerpts from 20 of our bestselling friends who graciously shared their tightly guarded proposals. We break it down. Make the seemingly impossible, do-able.

We sold thousands of copies of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan (at $150 apiece—yours free with this course) and have heard, over and over, that it’s the ultimate guide to getting published. Because it gives you the path to results.

“I was stuck in the mire of being halfway done with my book proposal, and Your Big Beautiful Book Plan rescued me. Linda & Danielle are like the best wise fairy godmothers a writer could want. The depth of the program reassured me that I was on track, and their honey-we’ve-been-there-insights saved me hours of wasted time ‘chasing rabbits.’ I got a book deal with the first and only publisher I submitted to (New World Library)! Your Big Beautiful Book Plan gave me clarity, encouragement, and the solid information I needed exactly when I needed it most. When I was a little girl, I loved books so much that I wanted to grow up to be a writer; Your Big Beautiful Book Plan helped make that dream come true.”

Samantha Bennett, author of Get It Done, and Start Right Where You Are

The information in Your Big Beautiful Book Plan is timeless. Yes, you could download it now and go it alone (maybe you already have!). But if it feels intimidating, slow, or isolating, this course was designed for you. Few people, statistically, enjoy tackling large projects on their own. Most prefer a group setting with structure, accountability, and a FUN vibe. We’ll get your talent and energy wrangled once and for all. Never underestimate the power of bite-sized weekly deadlines to help you stay focused on what you say matters most … your BOOK.

I’m also including all sorts of bonuses & new resources to supercharge your results (see below).

Go the book proposal distance with me. I LOVE this stuff and will make you laugh & believe again. Weekly Q & A calls will give you just the right balance of handholding and ass-kicking. And, new proposal tips, strategies, and samples will be a B12 shot to your brainstorming brilliance.

I can’t wait to be your guide through this maze, to shortcut your process from newbie to insider.

 Why this may not happen again anytime soon …

I’m a writer, just like you. My books (I’m currently writing four) talk to me all day long. Outside of my busy Carmel writing retreats, I don’t work privately with non-retreat clients, and I rarely teach. Every once in a while, I give a keynote on publishing (see pic on the left from earlier this year). Or, speak on a larger stage (like this one on the right, from TEDWomen). Mostly, however, I’m writing and hanging with my fam. Yet, every four or so years, I feel the need to better support my community and that’s when I teach a live online course. This is one of those times, and I don’t know when I’ll have room in my schedule to teach it again. I’m about to sell a book, maybe two, and get a lot busier. As a writer. (#Grateful.)

About the course (& one-on-one sessions!)

Following the format of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan (yours free with the cost of the course), I’ll share my latest and greatest insider tips. We’ll meet once a week for six weeks, LIVE, every Wednesday evening (with a Q & A at the end, where you can ask me anything you want). And all of it will be recorded and ready to listen to whenever you’re ready or want a refresh.

I’m also offering an upgrade option—something I rarely do—opening up my calendar for one-on-one consulting sessions. (These are 90 minutes long: 45 minutes of prep, where I look at everything you’ve got and research you and your market. Plus, 45 minutes talking face to face.) The power of meeting online and looking into each other’s eyes can’t be measured. Sometimes, we figure out more in fifteen minutes than you’ve been able to nail down for years. Books speak to me—pretty much hourly. I’m weird like that.

“Linda is pure magic. With her rare combination of keen editorial insight, unparalleled knowledge of the industry and relentless optimism, she’s the kind of writing coach and friend a writer can only dream of. She’s also a little psychic – only a few days before my debut novel MIRROR IN THE SKY was picked up by Razorbill/Penguin, she sent me a text with a picture of the perfume Terra Nova, the original title of my manuscript. ‘Found this in my bureau today,’ she said. ‘It’s gonna happen soon!’ And, of course, it did.”

Aditi Khorana, author of Mirror in the Sky and Library of the Fates

“We call Linda the ‘Author Whisperer’ because of her seemingly magical ability to uncover the book in a person that wants to be written–often before they’ve even seen it… When I look back on my career as a top book publicist, literary agent, author of eleven books, and sister of bestselling author Debbie Ford, the one person I’d call my literary soulmate is Linda Sivertsen. Whether editing one of my books, recommending writing books that transformed my work, or sharing a technique or story with me that altered my thinking, it’s Linda who has had the biggest influence on my writing career.”

Arielle Ford, bestselling author of The Soulmate Secret and Make Your Mate Your Soulmate, & former book publicist for 13 #1 New York Times bestsellers (including for Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer, and Neale Donald Walsch)

 6 Weeks to Done

Book Proposals are a BIG deal and an even bigger document. (I’ve seen them come in anywhere between 20-120 pages with sample chapters. As an example, summarizing 30 chapters could take 15-30+ pages alone!) There’s a lot to include. But rest easy. We’re breakin’ it dowwwwn. Section by section. You’ll look back and say, “Whoa! I did all that?! That was easier than I thought!” Trust yourself. And, your muse.

Okay, here’s your quickyloo. By no means is this all we cover.

Week 1

  • First. We’re going to chat about your WHY. Get you reconnected to the magic of what inspired this journey. Starting here will help the rest fall into place.
  • A brief look at the difference between self-publishing & traditional—and the benefits of working with a literary agent. (PS. And, why you want a proposal, even if you print this book baby in your kitchen and act as your own publicist.)
  • Titles, as in main and sub. What’s in a good title, anyway? And how do you come up with one? There’s a method to this madness. And it’s FUN!
  • Your Proposal Cover page: To design or not to design (the answer to this has changed)? Plus, what to include if you’re sending your proposal to an agent vs. when an agent is sending it out on your behalf. With beautiful samples, of course.
  • The Hook Page: This is my favorite part (other than the Query, which we cover last). Several agents tell me they love the Hook Pages my clients create, and they don’t know why more writers don’t use them. Rockin’ samples included.
  • Proposal Table of Contents: A must-have! Sounds simple and it is. But there are still key things to know, like how this differs from your book Table of Contents—and where and when to use them both.

Expert Bonus

In addition to our weekly call, you’ll receive an MP3 interview: Kelly Noonan Gores—writer, director, producer, and star of the award-winning HEAL documentary and upcoming book of the same name (Atria, Oct. 2019)—and I talk about how she stayed connected to her WHY during every step of undertaking the dream project of her life. Kel has been a dear friend of mine for years, and I can attest to the fact she’s MAGIC, and her bigger-than-life thinking can’t help but rub off. Prepare to be inspired.

Week 2

  • Overview: If you choose not to have a Hook Page, your Hook goes here, in your Overview section. And, even if you have a hook page, this section will contain hooks too. Intrigued? Good. Stand by! This section is so critical, and so often feared. But, remember, I LOVE this stuff and have GREAT new samples for you to go along with our timeless treasures from Your Big Beautiful Book Plan. (As I have for all of our sections.)
  • About the Author: If they–meaning agents and editors–fall in love with you and your topic, you’re more likely to land a book deal. Makes sense, right? Who wants to sign and work with and promote someone they don’t adore? I’ve got a lot to say about how to help make them go starry-eyed for you and your book. 
  • Market: While it’s tempting to say that EVERYONE needs your book (of course they do!), I’ll share better, influential ways to list who your readers will be and why they’re already waiting for you. Much better.
  • Before we go too deeply into this course, I want to cover topics I get asked about most frequently. Things like how to steal time and create structure when you’re already crazy busy; newbie writing mistakes to avoid; whether or not to finish the book before you go to sell it; when to hurry and when to take your time; what comes first–writing the book or concentrating on the proposal? and, of course, I’ll be live to answer all of your questions.

Expert Bonus

In addition to our weekly call, you’ll receive an MP3 interview: “The great Terry McMillan,” according to O magazine (Sept. 2019), is about to launch her 10th or 11th book—she’s lost count. I LOVE this new book and this woman so much and know her to be an extraordinary teacher—in person, on tape, and on the page (no surprise, she’s a tenured professor). The author of the modern classics Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, is hopping on a call with me for a bonus MP3 for you to discuss how to HOOK your readers from the first paragraph of everything you write (a proposal, book, you name it). And, how to know who makes up your MARKET and how to deliver to them time and time again. (And, knowing Ter, there will be plenty of laughs and a few swear words, too!)

Week 3

  • Marketing, PR & Media: Having done LOTS of media promotion for my projects over the years—and watching my clients and podcast interviewees in the media all the time, I’ve constantly got this topic on the brain. I’m ready to spill my latest tips & tricks for making it WORK in a big way. For instance, I can’t wait to share a technique I used to get The New York Times to write a funny, awesome review of an app I created. Or how I sold an article to the Los Angeles Times when the New York Times turned it down. There was the time I used a press release I made myself (which I’ll show you) to get booked on the #1 drivetime radio show in New York. Fun client stories will convince you that media (including online promotion) is oh-so-important and can be infinitely easier to get than you think.
  • Platform, Platform, Platform: This includes all the ways we’re seen and heard and read in the world, including speaking, seminars, and RETREATS. Having been a part of dozens of bestsellers and hit campaigns for myself and my clients, and running one of the most successful retreat businesses for writers in the world, I’ve been there/seen that. I will have to remember to breathe so I don’t pass out trying to get it all out in our two hours. Om.
  • Promotion Secrets & Press Release sneak peeks from some of my bestselling buddies and podcast guests.

Expert Bonus

In addition to our weekly call, you’ll receive an MP3 interview: Kate Northrup—bestselling author and marketing expert, AND one of my favorite people in life and online. In an interview for this course, we discuss the most common rookie marketing errors new writers make, and how to avoid them. Plus, our favorite tips for courting good fortune with the media (even if you’re a homebody who lives in your jammies; you, too?). Yet to experience even 5 of your “promised” 15 minutes of fame? You’re doin’ just fine. We all start somewhere.

Week 4

  • Competition: You may not have any competition (because you’re that fabulous), but we’ll outline what agents and editors need to know, so you’ll be positioned in the best of company. Being a first of a kind can make you appear too risky, and being one of a million ain’t gonna cut it. I’ve got lots of suggestions for making you stand out and look like the sure thing you are.
  • Spin-off books/Series: Most people have ideas about what they could write NEXT. At least in their mind or heart. The agent and editor are going to want to sniff out your future. When do you list these ideas, and how? We’ll cover it. Including the “two-book deal” question. (See below MP3 interview.)
  • Legalities: Are you allowed to write about other people? How and when? I’m not a lawyer, and you might need one. But I do have experience and some wild stories. Not everyone needs this section, but for those who do, it’s vital!
  • Delivery of the Manuscript: In a rush and want the publisher to hurry? Need lots of time, and want them to be patient? What’s the norm, and how do you state what works for you down on the page, so you get what you need.
  • Book Table of Contents: They need to see the lay of the land, y’all. Help them envision your book’s world. If they can’t see it, they won’t buy it.
  • Chapter Summaries: How long is too long? How concise is too concise? There’s an art to this, and it works. And it may not be what you’ve heard before…

Expert Bonus

In addition to our weekly call, you’ll receive an MP3 interview: Tosca LeeNew York Times bestselling fiction (thriller) author in a recent conversation with me, for this event only, about her multiple series book deals, book-to-TV deals, and experience writing book proposals for fiction. Tosca believes ALL fiction writers must have proposals these days. As a highly paid novelist, who comes out with a book every year (if not two), she’s a uniquely abundant author with a priceless perspective. (Hint: She also generously SHARES her fiction proposal sections with us. Swoon!)

Week 5

  • Sample Chapters: Like me who lunges for dessert, some agents and editors will skip the entire meal of your proposal and go straight to your sugary samples. Others will only get this far if they’re fully satisfied with what they’ve read so far. You can’t know. But what you need to know is how to dazzle their taste buds with this, the meat of your proposal. (Oh, God. Did I just mix cake and flesh?) We cover how many chapters to include for the different genres, and the best way to present them, so they’re, mmm, delicious.
  • Query Letter: Now that you’ve got your proposal scripted, it’s time to craft your Query Letter for agents. These babies used to scare the crap out of me, but not anymore! Since I live for RESULTS, I’ve learned to LOVE creating them with the end in mind. This is where all your initial power is. If it’s well written, odds are they’ll call or email you quickly. As in the same day, or just a few. Not written well? Crickets. Gratefully, a few of my clients are sharing their recent incredible examples. They’re hot and will help you pitch yourself like a pro. And, just like your bigger proposal, they make everything easier. Your agent will likely use your query—or some version of it—to pitch editors at publishing houses. And then, once you have a book deal, your editor will share it with the sales team to use when pitching bookstore buyers. And the PR team will use it to pitch the Today show. See where I’m going with this? This piece of art will make the rounds for quite some time. You’re spinning gold, loves. Sprinkled with diamonds. Sparkling for years to come.
  • Agents. They hold the keys, these power players. Get you in the door. Lit agents make sure you and your proposal and sample chapters are READY before they submit you to their publishing pals. Then, they’ll hop in your cab (and pay for it!) to join you in your meet-n-greets. Not every writer gets the experience of sitting with publishers face-to-face but trust me—it’s dang comforting to have your agent by your side when you do. The right literary agent is worth her or his weight in lox and bagels (my fave; wild-caught, with capers!), most def worth your 15%. We’ll cover all my best tips for connecting with them and making it a love match.

Expert Bonus

In addition to our weekly call, you’ll receive this 43-minute MP3 interview:  Literary agent Betsy Amster + bestselling author and all-around queen of questions, Samantha Bennett, in an insider’s look at what agents are looking for (and what you should look for in them!). I have a particular fondness for agents like Betsy who used to work in publishing as a book editor and therefore know this world from both sides. (Before opening her agency in 1992, Betsy spent ten years as an editor at Pantheon and Vintage and two years as editorial director of the Globe Pequot Press.) Recorded initially for the Expert Series in my membership community, Beautiful Writers Group, you’ll feel as if you’re having coffee with two publishing veterans—with invaluable wisdom.

Week 6

  • Closing thoughts + Q & A, all the way! Ask me anything and everything still burning unanswered or that’s come up in the process of writing your proposal. I’ll give you the best of what I’ve got to keep you motivated, no matter where you are in your process. Mindset. Resources. Technology hacks. Prayers (kidding/not kidding). My intention is that you to leave this course on FIRE to realize your publishing dreams. And in the future, I want you to contact me with these words: “Are you sitting down?”

Expert Bonus

In addition to our weekly call, you’ll receive a 30:28-minute audio mp3 from my girl, Danielle LaPorte, who wants to share her creative love here. Sonic Collection: Idea Fairies & Creativity is an audio love-gram from Danielle to you. Eight pieces, designed to stoke your creative fire and fuel your self-expression. Amongst other pearls of wisdom, she talks idea fairies; creativity patterns; tapping into your deep creativity; and how to know when your creation’s finished. Like DONE and ready to be let go. The right words, just when you need them, right where you are. Ahhh. xo

Cannot. Wait. Sign up so you can get started NOW while your book baby is getting all your heart and feels. See you on the other side, where I’ve got a few steps you can take now before we even start the course. Ready? Me, too!

100% Money-Back Guarantee.

If you’re not satisfied within 7 days of your purchase,

we’ll refund your investment.

Let’s Do This!

You get access to the Book Proposal Magic Course

A digital download copy of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan

6 Live Coaching Calls with Linda

Loads of Handouts + Helpful Resources

LIMITED AVAILABILITY

You get access to the Book Proposal Magic Course

A digital download copy of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan

6 Live Coaching Calls with Linda

Loads of Handouts + Helpful Resources

PLUS a 90-minute consult with Linda (includes 45 minutes of prep, where she looks at everything you’ve got and researches you and your market + a 45-minute chat, where you talk face to face).

You with me? Let’s birth your proposal before Thanksgiving. Imagine this: It’s the holidays. You run into that bratty, disbelieving family member over the cheese tray. The one who’d always thought, out loud, that you should be doing “more” with your life, whatever that means. Hair toss, hair toss. “I’m great, thanks for asking! Just finished writing my book proposal! You?” (Actually, we LOVE these dream doubters because our visceral reaction to them lets us know exactly what we desire most.)

A few words from past participants:

“Just wanted to give you a big virtual hug to thank you for your first telecourse this week – I’ve been on muse-driven-FIRE ever since!”

Jade Barclay

“Dear Linda, Thank you for this amazing course and all the wisdom and skill you are sharing with us. I feel as if this is the piece I’ve been missing all along!”

Gulara Guliyev

“I *knew* signing up for your telecourse and giving myself permission to pursue my writing dreams was the right thing to do : )”

Kimberly Houston

“My book was stuck at a crossroads when I booked a consultation with Linda. I’d heard tell of Linda’s legendary instincts, and they weren’t kidding. I ended our session with a clear path forward, confidence in the new direction, and excited to get going. Like any great therapist, Linda makes you feel like you’re coming up with the ideas yourself, even though she’s a total genie. Could we maybe find a way to bottle her intuition and keep it on our desks?”

Alice Williams, journalist, author of Would It Kill You To Say Please?

Start Date: October 2nd, 2019 (recordings now available).

Six weeks. Every Wednesday evening from 5:00 – 7:00 pm PST.

You. Me. Your book. On the calendar. Scripting your success.

Think back to when you could first see your book. When the words were flowing, and you had to bite down on your giddy smile so any naysayers around you couldn’t mess with your mission …  

I believe you’ve found me because it’s time to make good on the internal promise you made that day. Time to be there for your book, your muse, your readers—and most importantly, yourself.

I’m excited to take this journey with you. I’m honored to help you birth your creative dreams.

Write on!

PS. See you on the other side. With your sign up, I’ll email you a copy of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan, and a few delicious writerly treasures to get the magic started even before we meet for our first class. xo

About Linda Sivertsen

Linda is a bestselling author and host of the Beautiful Writers Podcast available everywhere (iTunes, I Heart Radio, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts … and now streaming on all American Airlines domestic and international seatback entertainment systems). When on book tour, some of the world’s most beloved, bestselling authors come on her show for chats on writing, publishing, deal-making, spirituality, activism, and the art of romancing creativity. These up-close conversations are a fan favorite, frequently profiled on “Best Podcast” lists (i.e., The Motley Fool’s “10 Best Podcasts for Women”), and on the top Arts & Books pages of iTunes/Apple Podcasts.

When she isn’t reading, writing or podcasting, Linda helps birth book babies at her dreamy writing retreats in Carmel-by-the-Sea. She and her work have appeared in/on CNN, E!, Extra, the NY Post, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle, Teen Vogue, the Huffington Post, Forbes.com, etc. You can find her blogging over at bookmama.com (named Best of the Web by the Daily Muse). She lives in Los Angeles with her man and their menagerie of horses and incredibly needy, totally perfect pups.

Linda has been featured in…

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? Here’s some answers … 

I'm such a newbie. Don't I have to have a lot written before crafting a proposal?

I get asked this all the time by potential retreaters who worry they don’t yet have enough clarity, experience, or material to warrant starting on anything related to sales. Surprise! I often prefer working with writers at the start of their writing process. I love saving people time by giving them a crash course in publishing (with loads of writing tips, too). And, the magic of a proposal is that it helps you get hyper-focused about the point of the story you want to tell.

These days we’re all walking brands–like it or not. No matter how shy or quiet we may be, we have to become salespeople, comfortable to market ourselves, and our wares. The proposal writing process is incredibly creative (don’t believe me?–wait until you see all the samples that sold!) and will give you confidence as it helps you understand the business side of publishing better and informs your writing, even for fiction.

As an example, I met a gal who told me that she’d been writing a novel where the protagonist was a chef. Once she learned about marketing strategies in YBBBP, she was inspired to outline an idea for a book signing party at a famous restaurant in the city where her character lived (complete with contacting the media and inviting them to the party). She got all this down on the pages of her proposal and then watched it come alive in real life. Bam. Scripting. Her. Success.

Once you put your mind into that of publishers (and your readers!), thinking like a marketer–which writing a proposal forces you to do–you’ll be better equipped to sprinkle well-placed details throughout your book. The writing of your story and the eventual marketing of it will become more seamless and effective. #magic

How is the course content delivered?

Once you purchase the course, you’ll get access to our members-only website. Our site has all the information for each call, and how to listen in.

Prior to each week’s call, you’ll have access to that week’s handouts (and, of course, those of the previous weeks). 

Within 24 hours of our weekly call, the replay will be available for you on the website.

You’ll also see suggested reading and/or homework assignments to help you get the most out of the course:). 

What's the best way to ask questions on the course calls?

At the end of each class, I’ll stay on the line up to an hour to answer your questions. We have a few ways for you to get them to me. You can add your question into the form on any of the course pages. This will allow me time to meditate on your specifics and give you my most thoughtful answers. You can also type impromptu questions into the chat during our call. Either way, we’ll have a great discussion and learn from each other.

Will there be a private FB group or similar online meeting place for this community?

I’ve become a lover of groups—which I’d never have believed 26 years ago when I became a writer so I could be alone! I love the feeling of a tribe and increased involvement when using a venue like a private Facebook group. It’s exciting and allows me to have a better sense of how you’re doing and what you need.

The bad news, however, is that groups can be a distraction when you’ve got something this focused on accomplishing. It can be tempting to get too involved in connection and giving input to someone else about their work and not focus enough on your own.

THIS IS YOUR TIME. I WANT YOU TO BE SELFISH. Thus, I’ve decided to keep the tribe energy to our Q & A calls. I think you’ll thrive knowing we’re meeting every week and that you have deliverables to, well, deliver to yourself. Plus, a place to ask your questions, without having to think about bonding with or connecting with a bunch of new peeps you’ll be super support-y with. (Yeah, you. I’m on to you and your helpful aways. Help thyself—smiley.) 

If you’re the kind of writer who does prefer to work with more interaction, you may want to also consider joining my monthly membership community—the Beautiful Writers Group. It’s very affordable (only $25 a month), and there are members there, in our private Facebook community, who are currently working on their proposals and would love to connect with your beautiful self. (We have weekly “Write Ins,” where members meet up on Zoom to touch base and share intentions before going off to write for a few hours.) Then they report back about how it went. There are already members creating a proposal group within the Beautiful Writers Group, which to me sounds like a blast.

What forms of payment do you offer?

Pay with any major credit card.

What’s your refund policy?

If within a week you find the course is not right for you, contact our helpful customer service team at team@bookmama.com for a full refund. That’s right. You get a week to decide. Opt out within 7 days of the course start date (before Oct. 10th) and we’ll refund 100% of your payment.

What kind of books need a proposal?
Pretty much all books: Memoir, history, anthology, comedy, business, self-help, spirituality, cookbook, nutrition, medical, young adult/middle grade, etc.

Not all publishers require full proposals. For instance, a children’s picture book will need more of a sales letter than a proposal. And some novels still sell without one. But agents and publishers will likely ask you to supply responses to questions concerning most of the sections included in a book proposal anyway. So, it’s super pro to have one at the ready. Why not blow them away with your team-playin’ savoir-faire?

Bestselling thriller author Tosca Lee tells me (that in her experience): “Unless a writer is already famous (and even sometimes still), these days, every fiction author needs a proposal.”

Can you promise I’ll get published?

As in life, there are no guarantees. I don’t know your destiny—or even mine, although I often get “hits” that come true. When it comes to investing in dreams, we all get scared. To me, it’s scarier not investing in them. Trying to ignore the book(s) whispering, pleading, YELLING in your ears is exhausting, right? How’s that been workin’ for ya?

No one can say yes to your book until you put it out there. And, the excellent news? There’s no such thing as wasted writing time. You always get results. I’ve written large portions of books I haven’t yet shopped (and may never). And yet, they’ve healed me. Brought my family closer together. Made me a much better writer (and teacher!). And given me greater empathy. #Priceless

Will you connect me with a literary agent?
There are approximately 1,000 literary agents in the United States alone. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my clients find the right literary love match. I’m excited to share my best intel on where to find them, how to approach them so that you pique their instant interest, and what questions to ask to make sure you’re choosing the right one. 
 
Connecting writers (when they’re rock-solid ready) with agents has become a core part of my writing retreat business. I didn’t foresee this, but it made perfect sense. It was 1999, and I’d just helped a writer finish his proposal. As he was leaving my house, he said, “Now what?” Good question! I sent his query to my then-agent and a few others I’d met in my travels, including former book publicist, Arielle Ford (who was then a lit agent). It worked! He signed with Arielle, who sold his book to a publisher within weeks. I was elated. 
 
Literary matchmaking was the obvious natural extension of my editing/coaching work and has become one of my FAVORITE things about this Book Mama job I’ve created for myself. I’ve never taken a commission (nor will I). The gift, for me, is being part of a true win-win-win. (Hint: I believe agents are praying for you to show up as much as you’re praying for them.) 
 
If you talk with any good matchmaker, they’ll tell you there’s a LOT of work happening behind the scenes. It takes me hours of prep and follow-up to make a good match. So, while we won’t have time for that here, between the Agent section in Your Big Beautiful Book Plan and the Agent Module in this course, you’ll be more than ready to pitch yourself beautifully when the time is right. 
I hate having to write a book proposal. Can you really make it fun?

Yes! It starts with a mindset shift. Believe me, nearly everyone has this reaction. At first. Proposals feel intimidating and impossible when looked at as a whole. But once we get back to your WHY and break the bigness down to do-able steps, you’ll get excited. You’ll feed off my enthusiasm, too. It’s contagious!

For some freaky reason (dharma, maybe?), I’m obsessed with midwifing these babies. I love how pure and lovely and creative they are. When writing my own proposals, I still get high off the near-instant gratification of finishing a section. I marvel that with every line written, I get the opportunity to show agents and publishers how to sell me and my book, literally writing my future. From the Overview to Chapter Summaries and Sample Chapters, I can see and feel the potential. (Fun fact: Your eventual dream team in publishing will often lift whole sections of your proposal when selling you to publishers, book buyers, media, reviewers, etc. So, you REALLY ARE scripting your success. Cool, right?)

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“Dear Linda. Thank you so much for your insightful editing of my proposal. Please have anyone call me about your services. I will hands-down rave about you! Who would have thought that adding, deleting, and moving around sentences would make such a big difference? The expertise you brought to the table was incredible! The advice you gave me, honest and invaluable. I’ve met so many first-time and established authors who think their work is ready to be shown when it’s not. Hiring an expert and top-notch editor is a very small investment in the big picture. If an author isn’t willing to make the investment in their writing, why should an agent or publishing house?”

Chrisanna Northrup, author, The Normal Bar: Where Does Your Relationship Fall? (Random House)

The Education of Millionaires“I, like Linda, craft book proposals for others (as well as author my own titles). When I’m too close to my work, I call Linda. In a few short hours with my latest proposal, she zeroed in and suggested edits/additions that radically upped my game. Within days, I’d signed with one of the biggest agents in the industry. Days later, I had a six-figure deal with Penguin’s Portfolio imprint, one of the top business imprints in the country. These results were astonishing to me. I couldn’t be more thrilled or appreciative to have Linda (with her quick instincts, generous heart, and big talent) in my tribe.”

Michael Ellsberg, and author of The Education of Millionaires: It’s Not What You Think and It’s Not Too Late (Portfolio/Penguin)

“Sivertsen has wrangled creativity and she generously sprinkles it over everyone she meets. She’s a true word-trepeneur.”

CARMEL Magazine

Class Starts Soon! Reserve Your Spot Now…

You get access to the Book Proposal Magic Course

A digital download copy of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan

6 Live Coaching Calls with Linda

Loads of Handouts + Helpful Resources

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You get access to the Book Proposal Magic Course

A digital download copy of Your Big Beautiful Book Plan

6 Live Coaching Calls with Linda

Loads of Handouts + Helpful Resources

PLUS a 90-minute consult with Linda (includes 45 minutes of prep, where she looks at everything you’ve got and researches you and your market + a 45-minute chat, where you talk face to face).

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