Monday, August 1, 2011

The One Sheet



Do you know what a One Sheet is? I had never heard the term until Susan J. Reinhardt asked me for feedback on the One Sheet for her first manuscript. It was a great introduction to my current task, the One Sheet for our collaborative WIP. More on that in a minute.

For those of you who don't know what a One Sheet is (and don't feel bad, I had no clue till about a year ago), it is a summary used to present an idea to editors or agents at a conference. It contains brief information such as genre, title, bio, contact info, and word count, and works as an intro and ice breaker.

As Susan said, "A One Sheet is reserved for editors/agents and trusted friends because it often gives proprietary information about the book. You don't want to give away the ending to the whole wide world now do you?"

Think of it as a portable reference document that can be sent with whomever expresses interest in your project. So if you want to pitch your amazing fiction book idea, that non fiction guide you've always wanted to write, or a fabulous article, a One Sheet is a handy tool.

I volunteered to finish the One Sheet for our collaborative book when Susan ran into technical difficulties with the program she was using. She sent me the rough draft and I inserted the info into a template I made in Word. I edited the text and added our bios and pictures, then we had a phone conference to finalize the draft.


Our One Sheet has the title centered at the top of the page. A small picture (designed by my son, who is a graphic designer) sits to the left of the title. The left side of the page contains the book summary and info on our collaboration. A narrow column on the right contains special notes of interest and word count. The second page contains our bios and pictures. Normally this info can be placed on the first sheet, but since there we are co-authors, we decided to use a second page for a better layout.

If you'd like more details on how to compose a One Sheet, check out this article by Tracy Ruckman, or this post at the Arkansas ACFW site.

Susan's Monday post has more info about our One Sheet journey. I'm sure she'd be delighted if you stopped by to say hello.

Have you ever written a One Sheet? Do you have any pointers for us? Any good conference One Sheet stories?

Happy writing,
Karen

P.S. The 300 follower giveaway info will be posted on Thursday. :)

Image credit: Stock Exchange

32 comments :

  1. Wow. First time I've heard of this. Thank for the info! :o)

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  2. Hi Karen .. sounds like you're sorting things out .. good for you - even if by snail mail! Cheers Hilary

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  3. I'd never heard of this but it at least at the scbwi conf. knowing your verbal seems more prevalent.

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  4. Been chipping away at two for an upcoming conference. I enjoy making them, but it takes a lot of time b/c I'm picky with words.
    ~ Wendy

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  5. Jessica,
    Perhaps it's an American thing? lol Glad to know I wasn't the only one who didn't know what it was! :)

    Hilary,
    Yes, we're getting there! Sometimes we need to take more creative and round about means. :)

    Laura,
    I imagine maybe it depends on the arena you're in. I don't feel as out of the loop not knowing what it was!

    Wendy,
    Wish you the best with it! Are you going to ACFW or another one? Have fun!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  6. This is the first time I've heard about it. Thank you for the information.

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  7. This is news to me! Then again, most everything about publishing is :)

    I'm thinking this One Sheet thing might not be such a bad idea when it comes to anything in life. Before I head out with this or that plan, it would serve me well to focus my agenda on "one sheet", and maybe even gather some inputs before I launch out on my own. Sounds like "wisdom" to me.

    Blessings,
    Kathleen

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  8. I certainly didn't know what 1 sheet meant, although I'm not a writer i enjoy reading about what a writer goes through and its process. Richard .

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  9. Joy,
    You are welcome! You are not alone. :)

    Kathleen,
    I think you have a good point! Hadn't thought about it that way. It is a good summary for a lot of things.

    Richard,
    There is so much more to the process than I ever imagined! Glad you enjoy reading about the process.

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  10. I learned about one-pagers in a class I took by Christina Katz except she used it to showcase a platform more than a book or work. I think it's a great idea for both.

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  11. I have not heard of a One Sheet. Thanks for the enlightenment. I'll have to put one together just in case.

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  12. The one-sheet scares me to death. Thanks for the links. I need to revamp my one-sheet.

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  13. Carol,
    I can see the value in it for that too. I'm learning alot these days!

    Stephen,
    Now see, I feel so much better. I was no the only one!

    Heather,
    I am sure you will do a great job! You are a smart writer. :)

    Joylene,
    Thank you! :) You are very welcome.

    Alex,
    Here again, I feel better knowing others are learning too!

    Happy Monday,
    Karen

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  14. Ooh, the secret one-sheet. Never heard of it. Thanks for the inside info!

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  15. Never had to use the one sheet, but it's good to know what it is!

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  16. Ah, I've learned my one thing for the day; I can rest now. :) To me a one sheet is the TP being rationed. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  17. I've never heard of this before, so thank you for educating me! I'm off to find some examples. :)

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  18. I made a one-sheet for last year's ACFW conference, and it seemed to get good feedback. I'll probably keep the same format and tweak it for the new stuff I'm writing.

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  19. Lydia,
    I guess it was kind of a secret! Happy to be of informational service. :)

    Diane,
    It is nice to know. that way if it comes up we can nod and smile knowingly!

    Jules,
    Yes, now you can! lol Hey, you have a point, that's the other kind of one sheet. :)

    Lisa,
    I aim to please here...so glad to be of service!

    Sarah,
    That's good! Nice to hear positive things about it.

    Blessings all,
    Karen

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  20. Hi Karen -

    Great job on the post! Thanks for the links and the quote. BTW, folks, she'd make a great reporter. It was word for word. :)

    A one sheet is used in advertising, music, and various artistic endeavors. It's a handy device, especially for people like me who tend to get tongue-tied when facing an editor or agent.

    Blessings,
    Susan

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  21. Huh, I've never heard of it either. Thanks for the heads up!

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  22. This is the first time I have heard about the one sheet. Thanks for telling us about it.

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  23. Okay, so I'm highly relieved to find that I'm not the only one who didn't know what a "one sheet" was! Seriously.

    I've been thinking about the conference a lot and our friends who are going. Will keep praying for divine appointments and open doors.

    Very interesting post, Karen. Thank you for filling me in!

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  24. Susan,
    Thank you! You are so sweet. Your quote was so good, I had to share it! :)

    Lyn,
    You are so welcome! I don't know about you, but the more I learn, the more I find out I don't know! lol

    Rachna,
    No problem at all! Glad to be of service! :)

    Rhonda,
    Yes, me too. I kinda felt like I should know, but glad to hear I wasn't alone!

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  25. Have to admit I've never written a One Sheet, although I've read about them on various blogs. Sounds like you and Susan are going gang busters on your book! Can't wait to interview you two following your conference. Thanks for the heads up on Tracy's article and Susan's in-depth One Sheet post! God bless!

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  26. I heard of this through Elaine W. Miller and it is intimidating to make but when done right looks impressive. :O)

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  27. Maria,
    We are moving along, slowly it seems, but it is often this way when you are in the middle of something!

    Diane,
    I think if I had attacked it on my own I'd have been intimidated, but with Susan's help, it was much easier. :)

    Blessings,
    Karen

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  28. Karen:
    I used the idea of a one sheet for an informational tool for the faith based nonprofit I work in. It boiled down the information on our ministry.

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  29. Karen,
    Thank you for this information. I had never heard of ONE SHEET before. Every tool we discover is so helpful to the writing process.

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  30. Cecelia,
    It really does help summarize, doesn't it? It's a great tool.

    Kay,
    You are welcome! You weren't alone, you know? Good to see you.

    Blessings,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!