How to write a non-fiction book proposal
Time: 10:30 - 13:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HW280
Duration: 2 sessions
What is the course about?
A proposal is a ‘selling document’, rather than a creative act, and is aimed primarily at attracting a publisher. On
this course you will learn how to make sure your proposal captures the form, feel and content of the intended book
in a way that allows a publisher to grasp how a book will be organised, how it will sound, and who will be interested.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
We will cover different types of structure, how to break down a proposal into clear sections, the attention that has to be paid to commercial issues from budget to market, and how to ensure that the writer’s voice is not lost.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- Organise your proposal so it appeals to a publisher.
- Find the right voice or style in which to deliver your idea.
- Identify the intended readers or markets.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This course is designed for writers who are currently working on a non-fiction project and are looking to attract a
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
This is an online course taught through a mix of pair work, group work, discussion and formal instruction from the
All writing courses at City Lit will involve an element of workshop. This means that students will produce work which will be discussed in an open and constructive environment with the tutor and other students. The college operates a policy of constructive criticism, and all feedback on another student’s work by the tutor and other students should be delivered in that spirit.
For classes longer than one day, regular reading and writing exercises will be set for completion at home to set deadlines.
City Lit Writing endeavours to create a safe and welcoming space for all and we strongly support the use of content notes in our classes. This means that learners are encouraged to make their tutor and classmates aware in advance if any writing they wish to share contains material that may be deemed sensitive. If you are unsure about what might constitute sensitive content, please ask your tutor for further clarification and read our expectations for participating in writing courses at City Lit.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
City Lit offers a range of courses for aspiring authors on topics such as novel writing, memoir, self-publishing and building an author platform. Browse the writing section of our website to find the perfect course for you.
All students are invited to join us at Late Lines, our regular performance night for City Lit writers. Students are also encouraged to submit their work to Between the Lines, our annual anthology of creative writing. For the latest news, courses and events, stay in touch with the Department on Facebook and Twitter.
Nick Barlay is the author of four acclaimed novels and one book of non-fiction. He has written award-winning radio plays, short stories and wide-ranging journalism. He has previously taught fiction, life writing and Guardian Masterclasses on writing family history.
Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.