Proposal Writing

Just so you know that being an author isn’t all about book releases and eating chocolate bars, I thought that I’d give you a peek into the world of writing a proposal. Generally, when you write a proposal you write the first 3 chapters (about 50 pages) and a rather detailed synopsis. I want you to picture a ROOT CANAL every time you read the word SYNOPSIS. It’s pretty similar–takes too long, hurts a little bit, and you don’t really know if it “worked” until later. Where was I? Oh…writing a proposal.

So, this can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month to forever. You might think I’m kidding, but some authors get stuck in the proposal process, which is too bad because they might have a very good book.

Duke napping while I work
Phoebe and Cola waiting on dinner
Milo watching me closely

An editor usually won’t buy your book just because you tell them it’s going to be great when you write it. They sort of need to see part of it. At the very least, they need to see those 3 chapters and synopsis. When I send a proposal into Love Inspired, it includes a very detailed synopsis and 3 chapters of the first book, plus paragraph synopses of the subsequent books. My most recent contract with them included 6 books, so that was a lot of paragraph synopses to write. And honestly, I don’t know what’s going to happen to those characters. I’m sort of making it up. I mean, isn’t that what fiction is?

It’s like you’re getting to know these people, and you’re getting excited about what might happen to them, but don’t get too attached because the answer might be “no” or “change it.” Usually (but not always), you have an agent, and your agent sends in your proposal and then you wait. Sometimes you wait for a few weeks. Sometimes you wait for a few months. Hopefully you have something else to work on in the meantime.

My proposals for Love Inspired have been fairly painless, but I’ve also been writing proposals in other genres…just to flex my writing muscle a little. My agent is submitting those proposals to various publishers. They include cozy mysteries, Amish cozy mysteries, suspense, speculative, and women’s fiction. Yeah. I’ve been writing a lot of proposals in between my contracted books.

Occasionally, publishers will like what they read, but maybe they aren’t quite ready to offer a contract yet…especially if the book isn’t in your “normal genre.” This happened to me with a fabulous suspense book. Several publishers asked to see the entire book, which wasn’t written. So, I wrote it, and now we wait.

It’s a crazy career for sure, but I definitely love being a writer. Now where did I put those chocolate bars? While I’m searching for them, comment below with your favorite way to cool off in the summer. We’re melting here in Texas. I wonder if my chocolate bars are melted. Hmmm….



  1. Pat Shrader on July 1, 2022 at 6:25 am

    Good morning! 🌅
    It’s very hot here in Florida also! I spend a lot of time reading in air-conditioning. Our complex also has a beautiful pool, so I get to cool off before the extreme heat ( or thunderstorms) happen. Blessings!

  2. Kathleen Popp on July 1, 2022 at 7:09 am

    The weather in WI. has been hot, but the humidity has been high & the sun very bright. We’ve had our share of severe storms with high winds & hail, 15 tornado’s already. We lost a set of barn door’s. I like to sit in the air conditioning in my reclin with my cat Graci, reading a good Amish book eating a Hersey chocolate Almond candy bar & a nice cold bottle of water. God bless!

  3. Susan Fletcher on July 1, 2022 at 7:41 am

    Favorite way t o cool off in the summer – I LOVE the Mocha Frappes from McDonald’s. So does my almost 98 year old Daddy. That’s our special treat together! Nothing could be finer than spending time with my Dad in North Carolina!

    • Tena Burnes on July 8, 2022 at 9:26 am

      I love those!! Our McDonalds has only had the Carmel. So I haven’t had one in quite some time.

  4. Vickie Waters on July 1, 2022 at 8:36 am

    I’ll have to admit I’m not a hot weather fan. Although I will watch my grandson play baseball! That changed this past week, though, as he broke his leg when he and another outfielder collided and he flew over the other guy. My favorite way to cool off is to just stay inside!

  5. Ellie on July 1, 2022 at 8:40 am

    My favorite way to cool off is I the air conditioning. I can’t believe I grew up without it!

  6. Jackie Tessnair on July 1, 2022 at 8:59 am

    My favorite way to cool off in the summer is in a pool. I rarely get too though because I don’t have one. So my go too is in my favorite chair , reading a book of course in my air conditioned living room.

  7. Sandy Berg on July 1, 2022 at 8:59 am

    My favorite way to beat the heat here in SW Colo is either stay inside or sit outside in the shade when there is a soft breeze.

  8. Elsie on July 1, 2022 at 9:16 am

    Loved this – thanks for sharing what goes on behind the scenes o being a writer. I just got back from a walk in the Texas hill country and I really waited too late, but I am very glad that I got the exercise. My husband and I like to stay cool by going to the movies – we loved Top Gun, and Daltown Abby (sp.?) which we saw twice. Another way I escape the heat is by reading and feeling like I am in the book. Authors and characters become my friends and inspiration for everyday living to keep on keeping on. Thank you To all stay cool and be joyful in the Lord.

  9. Audrey W. on July 1, 2022 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for sharing this publishing insight, Vannetta! Hope you are cooling off, too, this summer. My favorite way is pool time . . . with a book poolside, of course!

  10. Debbie Earls on July 1, 2022 at 9:30 am

    That sounds very interesting. You would have to have a lot of patience while you wait for responses. Love your books. Thank you for sharing the process. I had no idea how involved it can be.

    • Stephanie H on July 5, 2022 at 3:49 am

      My only way to beat the heat is to stay indoors with the cool air on and read books to my hearts content!

  11. Bill Hicks on July 1, 2022 at 9:32 am

    Not sure it is possible to stay cool here in NE FL. My recliner and Kindle with an Amish book from my favorite author, Vannetta Chapman is my attempt at staying cool. Thanks for the info on how you start the process of writing a book. I have discussed this with Tracy. Very interesting.

    • Sherry Brown on July 4, 2022 at 5:42 am

      I stay cool by staying in our air conditioned house. But, I also have to just be outside even though it’s hot.🥰 Enjoyed reading your post! Had no idea what all it involved to get a book excepted. Thank you for your giveaway.

  12. Cindy Vogel on July 1, 2022 at 9:51 am

    Please enter me in the July contest! I love your animals

  13. Jane Casey on July 1, 2022 at 9:54 am

    My favorite way to cool off would be to go swimming in a pool. However, I don’t have one so sitting on the porch or in the yard with a glass of unsweetened iced tea with lemon and ice will have to do. Western Pennsylvania can be hot, but I know other places like where you live are hotter. I’d say sitting in the house with the AC running would be nice, but ours bit the dust twice already this year. Lived with fans for most of my life, so it’s no big deal. The whole proposal process sounds like a pain sometimes, but thanks for doing it.

  14. Connie R. on July 1, 2022 at 10:38 am

    Thanks for giving us insight into your daily writing tasks, or at least the ones related to that “s” word. Your readers appreciate you! And thanks for the chance to win books!

  15. Patricia Brooks on July 1, 2022 at 10:58 am

    My favorite way to cool off is with an extra large glass of ice water or ice coffee.

  16. Lynn Haney on July 1, 2022 at 11:04 am

    I enjoyed learning about proposals in the writing process. Sounds like you’re very busy writing! My favorite ways to stay cool, and it’s very hot in Arkansas too, are to read or to watercolor. Eating watermelon works too!

  17. Hilary Syddall on July 1, 2022 at 11:07 am

    Heat? We so rarely get that here in the UK that I think we just panic when it happens!

  18. Lisa Moore on July 1, 2022 at 11:40 am

    I love to cool off with a big vanilla homemade milkshake and a good book in the air conditioning of course. It’s been hot here in Kentucky also, temperatures in the 90’s.

  19. Lori Wilen on July 1, 2022 at 12:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing with us Vannetta. I now of course have questions…that is how I roll. Keeping cool inside is tough with a husband who likes the temperature in the house nearly as hot as it is outside but I will sit under the ceiling fan quietly reading and sipping on iced soda water mixed with sugar free dark cherry syrup … all over ice and it tastes like dark cherry soda without the calories or guilt. I honestly have a harder time with the humidity than the actual heat so for that reason it is definitely more comfortable inside than out.

  20. Celia Harbin on July 1, 2022 at 12:59 pm

    I had no idea of the ‘hoop jumping’ you must go through to get a book published. I don’t know how you even remember what you wrote in your ‘root canal’ synopsis , especially when you submit 6 at a time! When I write I type while watching the scene play out before me; it’s like watching a movie. Of course, I’ve never even submitted a book for publication. I wanted to see if I could write a book and I’ve written 3 and now I’m stuck on my 4th. I entangled my main character in a mess and I can’t get him out of it. Ha Ha.
    You must be extremely organized to be able to keep all those characters and action in your head. I suppose having a teaching background helped with that aspect of writing.
    I enjoy your books and you should know you spread much joy among your readers.

  21. Joan Kurth on July 1, 2022 at 1:28 pm

    My favorite way to cool off in summer is ice water and a good book. Hubby keeps the temp at 78 so the air isn’t on all the time. I am warmer than he is so I have a small fan to blow on me when I can’t handle it any more! lol I admire you authors who write such good books with deadlines and all the other rules you go through. I really admire all the ideas you get for books. I have read 29 of your books so far.

  22. Cecilia on July 1, 2022 at 3:04 pm

    My favorite way of staying cool here in Florida is swimming in our pool and going for airplane rides with my husband. Thanks for sharing some of the steps a writer goes through.

  23. Joan on July 1, 2022 at 4:45 pm

    Hands down, air-conditioning is the only way to cool off for me.

  24. Susan Heim on July 1, 2022 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for the great information on submitting proposals! My favorite way to cool off during the summer is doing a little retail therapy. The stores are always cool!

  25. Jan on July 1, 2022 at 6:49 pm

    A/C all the way! Interesting about the proposal process…better you than me. Love Amish fiction.

  26. Marion on July 1, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    Best friend in the summer Air conditioners.

  27. Marilyn on July 1, 2022 at 7:34 pm

    Air conditioners are my relief.

  28. Syble Ditzler on July 1, 2022 at 8:55 pm

    Staying in the air conditioning is my favorite place to be. I grew up with water coolers but am so used to a/c that I probably wouldn’t survive in a water cooler world anymore! Of course ice cream helps to within limits!

  29. Jo Morse on July 2, 2022 at 7:07 am

    For me, the best way to cool off was the beach. Unfortunately I haven’t visited my usual places due to the pandemic, but also the high state park fees. $8 is ridiculous for just the beach so I look at my bathing suits sitting in a dresser drawer, sadly wondering if I’ll wear them again. For now I sit on my deck and read, take care of my tomato and pepper plants and bask in our humid summer weather. Some people complain about it, but it’s worth it when you live in a Northeastern state enjoying all 4 seasons.

  30. Sandra on July 2, 2022 at 12:48 pm

    Old fashioned fun way to cool off. Water garden and get under the sprinkler. Also reading in air conditioning. It’s hot here in Alabama

  31. Gloria on July 3, 2022 at 1:52 pm

    Have to have AC in the heat of summer, especially when the humidity accompanies the high temps.

  32. SARAH TAYLOR on July 3, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    Air Conditioner is how I stay cool in the summertime! Thank you for sharing with us about your Proposal’s Love the picture’s of your animals and I hope you find your Chocolate lol because chocolate is so good!

  33. Joe on July 4, 2022 at 12:01 am

    Yes, it gets hot in central Indiana and when it does, a bowl of chilled watermelon is my favorite way to cool off.

  34. Lelia (Lucy) Reynolds on July 4, 2022 at 8:28 am

    I don’t try to cool off much in the summer as I love being warm. I enjoy opening the doors and windows and listening to the birds. I only turn on air conditioning if the humidity is really high. Best wishes on your book proposals.

  35. Deborah Hazelton on July 6, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    Favorite way to cool off in the summer, is to go camping in our motorhome and if it is too hot, put on the AC and read an Amish fiction.

  36. Carla K Conley on July 7, 2022 at 5:36 pm

    My favorite way to cool off is stay inside or find indoor activities to do! I love to read – especially your books!

  37. Donna Bascle on July 7, 2022 at 5:42 pm

    Thanks for sharing this information. It’s very interesting to learn how the process works. It is so hot here in East Texas. Luckily I get to work from home so I don’t have to get out in it every day. I eat lots of cold watermelon in the summer to stay cool! And stay inside!

  38. Alice Boor on July 7, 2022 at 5:52 pm

    That is so amazing hearing what you go through writing your books! Makes me appreciate your stories so Mitch more. I don’t have a pool or a/c, so I love going for a drive and getting an iced coffee to cool down.
    Love the pictures of your fur babies.

  39. Susan Simpson on July 7, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    Great blog! I’ve been waiting months and months to hear from two LI proposals. Is it normal to wait so long? Is no news good news or should I abandon hope?
    I usually cool off by drinking ice water or, my favorite, Diet Coke!!

  40. Connie R. on July 7, 2022 at 6:29 pm

    We have been trying to use fans as long as we can. I love ice cream as a cooling treat, and the Maine ocean is wonderful. We don’t like the crowds in summer though.

  41. Arleen Curry on July 7, 2022 at 10:15 pm

    Ugh, it’s so hot in Texas right now. Yesterday, I walked outside barefooted in the grass and my feet burned like I was walking on the hot sidewalk. I stay inside with the air conditioner mostly. I drink plenty of ice water and sweet tea. Do a little cross stitching and a lot of reading. Love your fur babies. Have a new respect for what it takes for a writer to get published.

  42. Gloria Anderson on July 7, 2022 at 11:39 pm

    I spend the majority of time inside with the a/c. (in Florida) I hope your get good news about your suspense book. Sounds good. I really enjoyed your Bishop cozies. The cozies sound good too.

  43. Liz on July 8, 2022 at 5:40 am

    Fascinating! Thanks for sharing this peek into your career. Michigan’s been pretty hot this summer. I love to cool off with iced tea or frosty-cold watermelon on my shade backyard glider. And a good book never hurts – I’ve been enjoying a Christmas series!

  44. Tena Burnes on July 8, 2022 at 9:24 am

    I am always pulled into your books within the first few paragraphs. Now I understand why. I totally enjoy reading when I make that early connection.
    I feel you pain with the Texas heat. I live in Southeast Texas. My favorite thing to cool off in the summer is swimming. But, never seem to get to enjoy it anymore. So reading it is!

  45. Penny Knowlton on July 8, 2022 at 12:05 pm

    My favorite way to cool off is sitting under the ceiling fan with a good book, sipping an icy cold drink.

  46. kim h on July 10, 2022 at 10:40 am

    Early morning walks coolest time of the day and air conditioning in the afternoon.

  47. Ileana on July 10, 2022 at 6:05 pm

    The job you do is amazing… !!!
    Thanks for everything you write.

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