University of Iowa

Writing (and Selling!) an Effective Nonfiction Book Proposal

Weeklong July 15 to July 20 2018

Writing a book is a lot of work. Often, after investing years on a project, writers fail to find a publisher for their finished work. Others struggle to find their way to the page as they juggle day jobs and writing time. What if you could sell your idea for a book long before you’ve finished writing it, secure in the knowledge that it will be published? What if you received an advance for your idea that helped buy you the time you need to write? This happens all the time in the publishing world, when books are sold on proposal. But a book proposal is a lot more than just pitching an idea. In this workshop, the instructor will guide you step by step through crafting the different sections of a book proposal you’ll pitch to publishers. Our areas of focus will include your synopsis, identifying and analyzing comparable publications in the market, a marketing plan, and a chapter outline, among others. We’ll look at sample book proposals as models, including the instructor’s own proposal, which was used to secure a book deal with a major publisher and foreign rights in multiple countries.