Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Publishing as a Second Language - One Sheets vs. Book Proposals

by Linda Gilden @LindaGilden

This year as I was preparing for Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference One of the top questions I received from those I mentored was—“What’s the difference between a book proposal and a one sheet?” Most had heard of a book proposal but the concept of a one sheet was new and they were not sure where to even begin to create one.

The best place to start is in understanding the difference between the two. The one sheet and the book proposal serve very different purposes in the presentation of your material to an editor or publisher.

The Difference Between a One Sheet & a Book Proposal

1. The obvious difference between the two marketing pieces is the length. A one sheet is just that. One, usually 8 ½ x 11, piece of paper. You have the option of using the front and the back but many people are able to get plenty of information on one side of the paper. A book proposal, on the other hand, has much more detailed information, and can be upward of 50 pages depending on the length of the chapters. 

2. The one sheet’s usage is several-fold. It’s a proposal in a nutshell. All the pertinent information is there – your contact info, bio, book specifications, stage of completion, and a brief summary. Because you are only using one side of one page, you can see how all that info must be brief and abbreviated. However, don’t be tempted to use a smaller font size just so you can get more words on the page. Make every word count and only use the ones that are specific to your needs.

The book proposal will fill in all the details. Because it is longer and will cover more of your marketing plans, deeper summaries, the table of contents, and more, you will rely on this piece to sell your book.

3. The main usage for your one sheet is to give the person you are meeting with an idea of what the book is like, your heart for writing it, and enough details to know if they have published anything similar recently or if it will fit in their editorial calendars. The one sheet can also give you an extra few seconds to calm your nerves and take one last deep breath before you make your presentation to the professional on the other side of the table. As you slide it across the table, you can say one last brief prayer that you will find favor with this editor or publisher. The one sheet will be the tool you use to pique the editor’s interest in your project and elicit the nod to send the entire book proposal. You can also use the one sheet to mail to event planners looking for speakers or put on your website as a download.

Don’t skimp on your materials, especially your one sheet. It could be your foot in the door to sending your next bestselling manuscript to the publisher! If you would like a sample one sheet, just let me know below. Include your email address please and I’ll be glad to send you one. 


Linda Gilden is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, certified writing and speaking coach, and personality consultant. Her passion is helping others discover the joy of communicating with excellence. In the midst of all the busyness, Linda’s favorite activity is floating in a pool with a good book surrounded by splashing grandchildren—a great source of writing material!


  1. Linda, Thanks for this. It's the kind of information that I need to print and put in my writing notebook. (I just did :)

    Although I've moved from traditional to self-published, it's always valuable to have a example of a good practice, so please send me the sample one sheet.


  2. Great article, Linda Gilden. Thank you in advance for the sample one sheet. Please send to me at

  3. I would like a copy of a sample one sheet. Please send to me at and thank you!