A Baedeker for corporals of industry--not captains--who want to catch the Washington gravy train. In fiscal 1978, says Holtz, federal agencies bought $81 billion worth of goods and services through 15,000 purchasing offices while passing out another $86 billion in grants. What's more, the competition is not particularly stiff; less than 2 percent of the 13 million business establishments in the U.S. have a piece of Uncle Sam's action. And, as Holtz examines the federal procurement system in its entirety--from unearthing sales leads through preparing proposals--he shares the tricks of his specialized trade as a government-market consultant. Read the Commerce Business Daily for its small yield of opportunities; better still, get on approved bidders' lists at appropriate contracting offices (by filling out Standard Form 129, for which he furnishes a concordance) and query the Federal Supply Service, an arm of the GSA, on needs in areas of interest. Those invited to bid then embark on a magical mystery tour in which prompt-payment discounts, properly employed, can mean a contract award. But, Holtz notes, about 85 percent of all government business (by dollar volume) is negotiated. With price not the principal consideration, creativity in proposal-writing assumes great importance. Confronted with a mediocre batch, says Holtz, agencies will give preference to the largest or best-known firm, and his preparation checklist provides a wealth of tips on making the government offers it can't refuse. Detailed appendixes list key government agencies and their regional offices, as well as providing other vital data from federal supply schedules to the meaning of arcane acronyms. An impressively ready reference for the managers of smaller businesses that should have come from the Capitol.