Again, you’ll start this section like all sections: by putting the title of that section at the top, bold and underlined. You can start a new page for each section, but you don’t have to. Do whatever makes your proposal easier to read.

This is where you’ll lay down the foundation of who will buy your book, and why it’s so desperately needed. Talk about how big the market for your subject is, especially in non-cookbook fields.

For instance, if you were pitching a book about cakes, you would talk about the popularity of television shows about cake, the burgeoning cake supply market, new products, and then cite magazine articles recently written about cakes. You want to show that the public is hungry for cakes. After you establish the popularity of your subject, close by explaining how your book will satisfy everyone’s craving for cake at home.

The more concrete numbers you can dig up, the better. This section should be
2 to 3 pages long.

Here’s a portion of “The Market” section from my proposal for Sexy Sixties Food which the publisher renamed The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Sixties Cookbook (and which was originally The Official Mad Men Cookbook until Matt Weiner lived up to his name, and our first publisher dumped it even though we had a contract, the manuscript was completely written and turned in, and the photos were taken! A good reason to read: “Why You Really, Really Need An Agent.”):

    Since the debut of the Emmy-winning “Mad Men” in 2007, the public has shown an insatiable appetite for recipes from the 1960s. A search for “mad men food” on Google returns more than 21 million results including “Mad Men” imaginary menus from The Boston Globe, Epicurious, ChowHound,, even the U.K.’s The Guardian. Oprah capped off an entire “Mad Men”-themed episode with food features in O Magazine and titled “A Mad Men Cocktail Party Guide.” Even serious foodie magazines got in the act: Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, and Wine Enthusiast Magazine all published “Mad Men” viewing party suggestions.

    The Vancouver Sun noted last year: “Even if you haven’t seen ‘Mad Men,’ mad60sbookyou’ve witnessed its influence. Since debuting on AMC in 2007, the cult TV hit has been credited with everything from the return of ladylike dressing to the so-called ‘menaissance’ that has guys choosing tailoring over trouser cleavage, Cary Grant over Kid Rock.” Fashion designers Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and Peter Som have all credited “Mad Men” with influencing their current collections. Brooks Brothers and Banana Republic have both produced “Mad Men” inspired clothing lines. The recent “manly” advertising campaigns from Old Spice (“Smell Like a Man, Man”), Dodge (“Man’s Last Stand”), and Dockers (“Wear the Pants”) have been attributed to the sway of “Mad Men.”

    The food industry jumped on the retro wagon with gusto: in 2009 and again in 2010, General Mills, Oreo, and Ritz released their products in limited edition vintage packaging. One of the hottest selling items of the 2010 holiday season was whiskey rocks; according to the Los Angeles Times, even swizzle sticks are making a comeback. Tiki lounges, such as Forbidden Island in the San Francisco Bay Area, are packed, and you can even buy a pu-pu server on

>> NEXT: The Competition