I've been scanning the web pages of literary agents, looking for one that might want to represent us, since our last agent had a baby and said she would rather raise the baby than be an agent.
This is from the section of one agent's website that tells prospective authors how to write a book proposal. Says a lot about what's wrong with publishing, and why you should consider publishing your own book:
In most cases, editors and publishers ...are often very young, often in their 20s or 30s. So you need to try to make the proposal as accessible as possible. This means you should consider using charts, sidebars, graphics, tests, and so forth to make the proposal as interactive as possible, as well as to make it look interesting on the page; remember, you’re giving this to somebody who was raised on TV, so s/he may have a very short attention span....
Although the proposal is not supposed to be complete, you should also keep in mind that some editors are not that great at “connecting the dots.”