The Well-Crafted Proposal: Nonfiction Book Proposal Boot Camp

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Thank you for your interest in our workshop, The Well-Crafted Book Proposal: Nonfiction Book Proposal Boot Camp. This workshop is sold out. Please add your name to our waiting list and a member of our team will contact you immediately should a spot open up.

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About the event

The Well-Crafted Proposal

Nonfiction Book Proposal Boot Camp


If you’ve decided to turn that idea you’ve been working on into a book, the very first step in finding a publisher isn’t finding an agent.  It isn’t even writing a proposal.  The first step should be to start to think like a publisher.  After all, the proposal you write should anticipate what editors and publishers are looking for when they consider proposals.  What are the questions they ask?  What information do they need in order to make a decision?  Keeping in mind that they read many proposals and only a few of them clear the bar, what characterizes the proposals that work?


The Well-Crafted Proposal is a day-long seminar in which you’ll learn how editors decide which proposals to pursue, what happens in an editorial meeting, and how proposals get read, reviewed, and evaluated.  We will look at the elements of a book proposal – how to get an editor’s attention in the overview, develop the ideas in the descriptive table of contents, position the book in the market in the comparable books analysis, and present your credentials in the author bio.  How do these pieces add up to put your book in the best possible light? Why do some proposals work (and others don’t)?  Join publisher David Miller and agent Lisa Adams to explore the role that the proposal plays in the publishing process and how to make yours as successful as it can be.




9:30 – 10:00 a.m.

Registration and Coffee


10:00 – 12:30.

What a book proposal should do, and how editors read them, think about them, and make acquisitions decisions based on them.


12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Lunch with David and Lisa – Looking behind the publishing curtain.

(Lunch provided.)


1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Developing a book proposal:  The elements of a proposal and the characteristics of successful (and unsuccessful) ones.



3:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Q & A with the presenters.


David Miller is the President of Island Press, the world’s leading environmental publisher. He began his career in publishing at Addison Wesley Longman, where he published numerous New York Times bestsellers and three National Book Award finalists.  The list included highly-regarded books by T. Berry Brazelton, Susan Love, H. G. Bissinger, and Melissa Fay Greene. David founded Helix Books, a science imprint where he published books by Richard Feynman, John Holland, and Sir Martin Rees. As executive vice president and president of trade, professional, and international publishing, he had responsibility for the international sales of all the company’s products and all local publishing activities around the world. David has served on the Executive Board of both the Trade Division and the International Division of the Association of American Publishers


Lisa Adams is a literary agent and the co-founder of the Garamond Agency, where she represents authors of idea-driven nonfiction in fields ranging from history, psychology, and economics to science, technology. Lisa worked for publishers in New York and Boston for over fifteen years before she started representing authors. She began in the subsidiary rights department at Random House and worked in a variety of capacities for Basic Books (where she was Associate Publisher), Newmarket Press, and Addison Wesley Longman.  Before launching the Garamond Agency with David Miller, she was a founding partner of the Boston Literary Group. She served as the Chair of the Board of The New Press and the Treasurer of the Board of Curbstone Press.


Co-sponsored by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, the Creative Nonfiction Foundation, and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society.

All funds will be deposited with the ASU Foundation for A New American University, a nonprofit organization that exists to support Arizona State University (ASU). Gifts in support of ASU are subject to foundation policies and fees. Due to the fair market value of benefits received, only payments in excess of fair market value may be considered a charitable contribution. Please consult your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of charitable contributions.

When & Where
Feb 25
25th February 2017
10:00 AM - 04:00 PM
Washington, DC
2017-02-25 10:00 AM 2017-02-25 04:00 PM America/Phoenix The Well-Crafted Proposal: Nonfiction Book Proposal Boot Camp 1834 Connecticut Avenue Northwest Washington, DC, United States 20009

ASU in Washington, DC