How To Write A Book Proposal

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This course will help you develop, refine, or revise non-fiction book ideas for trade and university presses. Through a series of exercises, you will work on clarifying the focus of your book, your intended audience, your qualifications for writing the book, and your chapter outline. You will also have access to sample book proposals that sold, explanations of all the elements that a standard book proposal should include, discussions of the differences between trade and university presses, and small and large publishers, as well as the process of finding an agent, and the ins and outs of query letters. The course also includes past Thinking Writer Q&As with Matt Weiland of Norton and Tony Sanfilippo of The Ohio University Press. For this course, we will invite a literary agent to answer your questions.

All enrollees are encouraged to complete the exercises and receive feedback on book ideas during the course, but it is not mandatory. The course is also useful for those who simply want to learn the ins and outs of proposals. All the materials are accessible after the course ends, so if you are busy during the two weeks we meet, you can ‘take’ the course later.

The course is virtual and asynchronous; you can log on and participate whenever your schedule allows.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, by enrolling in this course you will become part of a community of other writers working on proposals. Friendships and writing groups often form between participants who continue to work together after the course ends. The Thinking Writer private Facebook group is open to all ‘alums’ of the course–now numbering over 200–offering continual access to support, feedback, connections, and community.

Course enrollment will be capped at 12 participants. 

Anne Trubek is the author of The History and Uncertain Future of Handwriting (Bloomsbury USA) and A Skeptic’s Guide To Writers’ Houses (University of Pennsylvania Press). She has edited Cleveland Neighborhood Guidebook, Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology and Writing Material: Readings from Plato to the Digital AgeShe is the publisher of Belt Publishing.

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