Nonfiction Book Proposal

Complete a full proposal that wins an agent and a contract

  • sections:
  • Discussions Wednesdays 9-10pm ET, 8 sessions full schedule

Nonfiction books -- a market easier to break into than fiction -- are the backbone of publishing. Whether self-help, travel, health, memoir, business, current affairs, or any other number of categories, there's no shortage of readers for nonfiction that teaches, transforms, and captivates readers interested in a particular subject.

In this class, you'll learn how to convey your idea in a winning book proposal and why taking the time to do so will make or break your chances of getting it noticed and sold. You'll also learn what is appropriate for writers who have an idea for a book, but would like to know the complete and correct execution of this vital marketing product.

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • Identify whether your idea is a good one
  • Think through the essential ingredients of a book proposal
  • Format the proposal
  • Write your proposal letter
  • Understand the nuts and bolts of the nonfiction publishing industry

By the end of class, you will have:

A marketable nonfiction book proposal package ready to send out to agents, including a query letter and sample chapter.

Jill Rothenberg is a freelance journalist who has written for CNN Money, the public radio project Life of the Law, the San Francisco Chronicle, Narratively, and Urban Moto Magazine.  A former newspaper reporter and book editor, she has most recently edited Pot Inc.:  Inside Medical Marijuana, America’s Most Outlaw Industry. At Perseus Book Group, she acquired Blood Diamonds, which was made into a film, as well as Confessions of a Naughty Mommy: How I Found My Lost Libido, featured on NBC's Today Show. She lives in Colorado.

  • "My coauthor and I could never have produced such a detailed well formulated proposal without her skillful guidance and suggestions. With Jill's help our book proposal took a direction that we had not imagined before taking the class. I will take this class with Jill each time I am writing a nonfiction book proposal."

    Brandy Lellou

  • "After taking Jill's class, I scored an agent who told me the book proposal was one of the best ones she has seen."

    Rob Koebel

  • "My query letter, written with help from the class and Jill, resulted in a well-regarded agent requesting my proposal. I'm thrilled!"

    Marge Thorell

  • "Jill was an outstanding instructor. She gave honest, constructive feedback that made my proposal 10 times better."

    Marla Majewski

  • "Jill's experience, knowledge, and insight of the publishing industry, plus the structure and format of the class, made it an incredible experience and really taught me how to fine-tune my pitch and craft a stellar proposal."

    Kristi Daniels

  • "Jill guides her students with clear lectures, detailed critiques, and lively chats. By the end of Jill's course I had a solid book proposal and a clear idea of the content of my entire book."

    Jill Johnson

  • "Jill's a great motivator, cheerleader, and fountain of knowledge. She is a spot-on editor and the most thorough class instructor I have encountered."

    Lovelace Cook

  • "Jill will be at the top of my book's acknowledgement page. I would totally take another class from her!"

    Anna Cox

  • "Jill's expert information, her kind, supportive advice and feedback, and her belief in writers to create excellent nonfiction book proposals made getting a book published a reality."

    Patricia Wilkinson

  • "Jill is a talented teacher and a savvy editor. She is supportive and her wisdom is insightful for those of us trying to make the leap to becoming nonfiction book authors."

    Meg Robbins

  • "Jill offered great feedback and insight into class submissions. She was very helpful and responsive to our questions."

    Stacy Jensen

  • "Jill is a compassionate and knowledgeable instructor who knows publishing from all sides. I would recommend her to anyone tackling a nonfiction project."

    Susan McDonald

  • "Jill is very experienced and insightful. She helped all of us bring the quality of our proposals up several notches, think of more ways to promote ourselves, and to get the word out about our books."

    Malorye Branca