From Book Idea to Book Proposal

A workshop to help you do the work.

Book proposals are hard. Really hard. One of the things that makes them difficult is that there are no deadlines, no accountability. No one else cares if you ever move forward on that book idea you’ve been mulling over, and it’s so much easier not to do it. 

This workshop is designed to get you over the hump from thinking about writing a book proposal to actually doing it. The workshop isn’t so much a course on how to write a proposal (though there certainly is some of that). Instead, it’s a tool for accountability and support and a chance to make a commitment to finally getting the work done.

The eight-week workshop takes place virtually, via Zoom. The workshop is aimed at people who have a book idea and are ready to finally get down to fleshing it out and writing a proposal as well as for people who already have a well-defined book idea but are seeking support and accountability as they get to work on their proposals.

The group size is capped at 12 people, and may be fewer. The group will be carefully curated to ensure a mix of attendees who will be a good fit for supporting one another. Each week has two 90-minute sessions (Mondays and Thursdays). Mondays are informal instruction seminars with agents, book editors and authors. This is your chance to get your burning questions about book proposals answered by experts in the know.

You will have an assignment for each week, which will be the focus of the Thursday sessions, where you’ll discuss and workshop your proposal. These weekly assignments, which are tailored to your individual project, will help you make forward progress. If you do the work, you will finish the workshop with the bones of a proposal ready to share with agents. 

The Thursday meetings will include discussion with the whole group, and you’ll also work in smaller breakout groups to share feedback and support on the assignments. 

In addition to the two 90-minute Zoom meetings each week, plan to spend three to five hours outside of class working on the homework as well as reading and offering feedback (how much time each week depends on what stage you’re in with your idea). Each week we’ll go through a different section of the proposal. What you get out of the workshop and the discussion sessions will be highly dependent on the time and effort you put into the homework.

Speakers: (more agents & editors to come…)
Georgia Frances King, a literary agent at Aevitas Creative Management, who’s interested in representing nonfiction books about emerging science and technology, futurism, design, culture, and the arts, and supporting underrepresented voices. 

Alice Martell, the Martell Agency. Alice is agent to such writers as Gail Collins, David Haskell, Linda Marsa, Domingo Martinez, Gretchen Soren, Chelsea Wald and Christie Aschwanden.

Annalee Newitzauthor of multiple science fiction and nonfiction books. They are the author of Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age, and the novels The Future of Another Timeline, and Autonomous, which won the Lambda Literary Award. As a science journalist, they are a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times, and have a monthly column in New Scientist. They are also the co-host of the Hugo Award-winning podcast Our Opinions Are Correct. Previously, they were the founder of io9, and served as the editor-in-chief of Gizmodo. 

Catherine Price, an author, essayist, speaker and science journalist whose books include How to Break Up With Your Phone (Ten Speed Press), Vitamania: How Vitamins Revolutionized the Way We Think About Food (Penguin Press), 101 Places Not to See Before You Die (HarperPaperbacks), The Big Sur Bakery Cookbook (Harper Collins) and several guided journals. Her newest book, The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again is being published in December 2021 by the Dial Press. She is also the founder of Screen/Life Balance, a movement dedicated to helping people scroll less and live more.

Matt Weiland, vice president and senior editor at W.W. Norton & Company. A former editor at Granta and The Paris Review, he is also the co-editor, with Sean Wilsey, of State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America. 

Dates & Times:
The workshop begins July 12 and meets every Monday and Thursday for the first six weeks, and on Thursdays only for the last two weeks.

Time: 1pm PDT/2pm MDT/3pm CDT/4pm EDT
Each session is 90 minutes

Dates
July 12, 15, 19, 22, 26, 29
August 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 26
September 2

Cost: $650 (payment plans available)

Applications are assessed on a rolling basis. Acceptance notifications will be sent out starting July 21 and will continue until the workshop is full. (Updates will be posted here.)

Application here: https://forms.gle/AUffd1s4TN9LCsuL9

Questions? Email christie @nasw.org