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Writing Workshops

How to Write a Book Proposal with Seth Kaufman


2 Sessions

Out of stock

Saturday & Sunday 11:30 am EDT - 2:30 pm EDT April 27 to April 28, 2024

Online via Zoom

The goal of this course is to help writers understand what proposals are, their role in the publishing industry, and the best practices for authors to convey and present the book they envision. Doing that means being aware of the obstacles and the market realities that face all prospective authors and all book proposals. In a competitive, overcrowded market, how do proposals find agents that “get it” and book editors that want to buy in? What sets a work apart? And what and why will a proposal appeal to one agent or editor and not another?

Our two-day bootcamp is open to writers of all levels. It will lay out the nuts and bolts of a traditional proposal. Zooming in on the most critical components—The Overview, the Chapter Summary and the Sample Chapter or Excerpt — writers will hone presentation strategies to help them convey the hook and arc of their book. The class will use quick role-playing sessions and short, five-minute writing drives to identify and share key ideas. As detailed in the course outline, we will examine different tactics and approaches to constructing these elaborate, 30- to 50-page show-and-tell documents. We’ll also discuss promoting each author’s own expertise and look at other proposal mainstays, including marketing plans and comparative sales.

Course Outline
  • Session I
    • Introductions. Elements of the Proposal Slide Show. Breakout session. Exercise: write an opening paragraph with the Madlib format as a guide, and then share their work. Discussion: Additional overview elements. Who is the Audience?
  • Session II
    • Outlining. Breakout session: hone one-sentence chapter descriptions and give shape to our visions. Discussion. Marketing.
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Led by

  • Kaufman headshot - Seth Kaufman

    Seth Kaufman

    Seth Kaufman

    Seth Kaufman is a ghostwriter and novelist. He is the author or co-author of six book proposals purchased by publishers, including autobiographies of basketball legend Rick Pitino, video game designer John Romero, and his own collection of music essays. He has collaborated on bestselling memoirs, biographies, current affairs, political and sports books. His work, under his byline or a clients’ byline, has been published by the Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker online, LitHub, Publishers Weekly, and many other national publications. His satirical work, The King of Pain, was called “one of 2012’s most enjoyable novels” by the New York Times. And Bleacher Report scribe Mike Freeman called Eat My Schwartz, the autobiography Kaufman co-authored (and also wrote the proposal for), “easily, one of the most unique and well-done books about NFL life I’ve ever read.”