I had no idea what a “one-sheet” was until I had an appointment with an editor for my young adult fiction book to be presented at the Inland Northeast Christian Writer’s Conference two years ago. I had to swallow my embarrassment and contact the conference director, Jan Cline, and ask her what this one-sheet was and how I should go about creating one. She was kind enough to send me an example. What a blessing that was! I quickly discovered this one-sheet was simple to put together, even on short notice.
Remember all of your information has to be placed––on one sheet––of paper. The purpose of this tool is to inform agents and editors about your book and why it is special. This sheet needs to be professional so it might be a good idea if a couple people in your critique group edit for you to catch any typos or misspellings.
Here are seven must-haves to generate the perfect one-sheet:
1. Title of book and author name.
Mine was simply: Heart of Passion by Carmen Peone. Nothing fancy that would overshadow significant information. Remember, agents and editors will be glancing over this document; it needs to look clean and polished.
2. Brief synopsis.
Two paragraphs description of your book that will show the agent or editor your book’s uniqueness. A one or two sentence hook to catch their eye at the beginning and one to two sentence about the back story at the end.
3. Main themes of your book.
These can be placed in bullets to the side of your contact information or at the bottom of the sheet.
This should be a brief description of your qualifications in writing your book.
5. Genre and word count.
6. Professional photo of yourself.
A friend who is a photographer using a quality camera will suffice.
7. Contact information.
Your address, email, phone number, website. Obviously, your name should easily stand out among a stack of competing authors vying for the same chance of publication. Use box or banner style across the top or to the side of the sheet.
Make sure your page looks sharp. The most important piece of information on your one-sheet is your contact information. Your one-sheet may look fabulous with six must-haves, but if there is not the seventh, your contact information, an editor cannot ask for a proposal at a later date. Without the correct contact information your one-sheet has just become a worthless no-sheet.
It is a good idea to print out more copies than you will need and place them in a sturdy file. Being prepared is the key to being confident.