Two years ago, when I was writing Greenlit: Developing Factual/Reality TV Ideas From Concept to Pitch, I had to write a book proposal before I could submit my book to an agent. Knowing nothing about the world of publishing I bought a couple of books on proposal writing and studied them carefully and followed their advice to the letter.
While a TV proposal is no longer than one page (at least in the first instance), a book proposal runs to about 25 pages, plus sample chapters. At first glance, the two types of proposals seem like very different beasts, but as time went on, it became apparent that there are a lot of things we can learn from a book proposal that will help us with pitching TV ideas.
A book proposal contains the following:
By the time I’d completed my proposal with all this extremely detailed information – down to exactly which books it would sit between on which shelf in the bookstore – I was convinced that I had a strong proposition and was confident that I was ready to pitch it to an agent.*
One of the most important parts of the TV pitch is the preparation stage and you shouldn’t pitch your idea until you:
Once you’ve got all this in place you will be prepared to pitch your idea to a channel. All you need now are some good contacts, good timing and a lot of luck.
*Within a couple of days of mailing my proposal I had secured the interest of an agent.
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