How to Write a Book Proposal in Four Weeks

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TypewriterThis summer, I’ll be teaching a four-week Master Class at the Richard Hugo House. Normally, I focus on food writing but so much of what can be said about food writing and the process of story and book development applies to general non-fiction as well.

When trying to sell fiction, the industry expects a completed manuscript. With non-fiction, about 95% of titles are sold via a book proposal. A good proposal is part business case, part sales pitch and relies on a great concept, solid writing and concise execution.

The class will meet each Thursday for four weeks beginning July 10. Cost is $148.50 for Hugo House members, $165 for non-members. Titled, “The Art of the Non-Fiction Book Proposal,” we’ll learn the fundamental components of non-fiction proposals, what agents and editors are looking for and how to hone and clarify subject matter. You’ll have access to actual book proposals that earned six-figure advances, learn from interviews with top New York publishers and even read a top secret missive about why book proposals fail from one of the industry’s most ruthless agents.

The goal of all this? To help you develop a working draft of a book proposal by the end of the course that you can continue to hone into a valuable tool to selling your first book.

You can sign up online here at the Hugo House web site. Not in Seattle? Fear not. I’ll be offering the same class online this summer for $159. That class will include weekly “lectures” and assignments just like the live class. Email me for details and to get on the list. Both the live and online class are limited to just 15 students, so don’t miss out!

About katflinn

Kathleen Flinn is the author of “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry,” “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School” and “Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good.” All are published by Viking/Penguin.


  1. I’m hoping that you will be teaching this again soon!

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