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10 Steps to Writing a Business-Tight Nonfiction Book Proposal

October 25, 2023 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT

Virtual Event Virtual Event


A better proposal means a better book & better sales. Learn to identify and persuasively present the most marketable qualities of your project to secure a nonfiction book deal.

A nonfiction book proposal is a must if you want to land a traditional book publishing deal. It serves as a business plan for your book that proves to an agent or editor why your book will be successful when published. Plus, a strong book proposal will not only help sell your idea, but it will also help you sell the book to readers once it’s on the shelf..

It is more challenging than ever to successfully pitch a nonfiction book; publishers expect authors to come to the table with a platform and a marketing plan. However, writers often lack the experience and industry know-how to help them convincingly show off their expertise, experience, or market value.

A thorough book proposal pinpoints the audience, how the book relates to the competition, and why it will succeed in the marketplace, including a thorough understanding of your readership. By developing a full proposal, you’ll gain a clear and compelling view of what has a good chance of selling—whether you want to find an agent, pitch a publisher, or self-publish.

This seminar will teach you to study the marketplace and evaluate other titles in your category, giving you an editor’s eye for what sells. You’ll learn to identify and persuasively present the most marketable qualities of your project, and build a proposal that meets the requirements of the publishing industry. While there is no “right way” to prepare a book proposal—just as there is no right way to write a book—this webinar will lead you through a clear, 10-step process to make writing a proposal more manageable.

  • Understand what goes into a meaningful marketing plan. Vague action points such as “get reviews” or “do book signings” or “promote the book on my website” don’t cut it.
  • Learn how publishing professionals research and evaluate book ideas and your platform.
  • For memoirists: There are many ways to go wrong when pitching or positioning their idea. We’ll cover what types of memoir typically get rejected, and how memoirists can set themselves apart.

Just because you’re fascinated by your subject matter doesn’t mean other people will get it. You have to know how to sell it. This course will help you not only adopt a business perspective on your current idea but also better evaluate all of your future ideas. You’ll know if you’ve really tapped into current trends and interests, and if you’re framing your book in an exciting way for both publisher and reader.

In this webinar, you will:

  • UNDERSTAND what makes a good comparable title
  • LEARN to research and identify a meaningful target readership
  • WRITE an effective About the Author section
  • DISCOVER different ways to demonstrate your platform strength (online and offline)
  • SEE effective action steps that go into a marketing plan

This webinar is ideal for:

  • Those who have a partial or finished nonfiction book manuscript are starting to consider their path to publication.
  • Those who have a concept or idea for a nonfiction book, for which they want to explore the market potential.
  • Those who have a completed memoir and want to write a book proposal as part of the pitch process to agents and publishers.
  • Those grappling with the book proposal writing process!

Closed captioning is available. ✔
All registrants receive the recording. ✔


Jane Friedman Headshot

JANE FRIEDMAN has spent nearly 25 years working in the book publishing industry, with a focus on author education and trend reporting. She is the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2023. Her latest book is THE BUSINESS OF BEING A WRITER (University of Chicago Press), which received a starred review from Library Journal. In addition to serving on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund, she works with organizations such as The Authors Guild to bring transparency to the business of publishing.


Questions? Please email


October 25, 2023
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT
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Jane Friedman
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