Writing the Non-Fiction Book Proposal...not just talking about it

Writing the Non-Fiction Book Proposal...not just talking about it

Writing the Non-Fiction Book Proposal...
not just talking about it, July 14-16

led by Glenn Stout

You've already got the idea, but if you want to write a book, the next step is writing a book proposal that will attract the attention of an agent and publisher.  A hands-on workshop on the practice and purpose of a nonfiction trade book proposal, designed for both the experienced or emerging writer finally ready to write that book, and for published authors who simply want to write a better proposal.

Over the course of three days I’ll provide hands-on instruction and feedback supplemented by Skype interactions with other authors, agents and editors.  Mornings will unfold in a seminar setting as we discuss and analyze different aspects of the entire proposal writing process, from idea and query letter through a complete proposal, discuss samples and do brief exercises to illustrate proposal elements. The instructor will provide a basic descriptive proposal template, successful samples, discuss elements needed in a proposal, the goal of each element and provide a realistic hands-on guide to how to shape that rough idea into something that might make a reader turn the pages. Attendees will spend afternoons on working on drafts of proposal components and then receive supportive and instructive feedback, both from the instructor in private and in a workshop setting with other attendees. Evenings are open, but there will be plenty of opportunity to interact with the instructor and other attendees informally at the hotel in a supportive and respectful setting.

By the end of the workshop, attendees will have a clear notion of the steps required to create a successful proposal, and an outline and a plan going forward, beginning with a query letter to an agent.  All attendees should bring multiple book ideas and/or a draft proposal – or part of a proposal - to discuss. Subsequent to the workshop each attendee will have the opportunity for limited additional consultation and remote feedback from the instructor as part of the program at no extra cost.

For those who have a proposal already in process or are prepared to begin writing, an additional three-four day working residency is available immediately following the three-day workshop, with the instructor on hand to provide immediate feedback and further instruction as needed. For those planning to attend the Mayborn Narrative Nonfiction Conference the following weekend, agent consultations are available (registration through the Mayborn).

The workshop is designed for non-fiction proposals of narrative journalism, history and/or memoir – not “how to” or DIY titles.  Admission is open, authors should provide a brief paragraph loosely describing the idea they intend to pursue. Attendees may be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect the confidentiality of book ideas discussed.

DATES:  Attendees should prepare to arrive in Archer City by noon on Friday, July 14.  Formal workshop to take place Friday 1:00 pm – 5pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9 am -12 and 1:30 -5 p.m. Coffee provided, access to refrigerator and microwave. Dining options include several small area restaurants, more options available 30-45 minutes distant in Wichita Falls.

COSTS, including accommodation at the Spur Hotel, home of the Archer City Story Center $595 by May 1, $695 thereafter.

APPLY: glennstout(at)fairpoint(dot)net

ADDITIONAL WORKING RESIDENCY, Monday July 17 through Wednesday July 19  $450

Instructor Glenn Stout is the author, editor or ghostwriter of more than ninety books for both the adult and juvenile audience, including biographies, current events and history, as-told-to third person narratives, and oral histories.  He has written dozens of (mostly successful!) book proposals for himself and consulted on many others. His books include “The Selling of the Babe,” “Nine Months at Ground Zero” and “Young Woman and the Sea: How Trudy Ederle Conquered the English Channel and Changed the World,” currently under development at Paramount Pictures. Glenn teaches at the narrative writing workshop at the Archer City Story Center and has given workshops on book proposals and other aspects of writing for the New Hampshire Writer’s Project, the Brattleboro Literary Festival, Midwest Literary Festival, the Get Lit Literary Festival and others.  In his 30-year career as a professional writer and author, Glenn has also worked as a narrative non-fiction editor, and has consulted privately with dozens of authors on longform narrative journalism, book proposals and book manuscripts.  For more see www.glennstout.net 

Here’s what others have said about working with Glenn

As a well-known and well-respected agent recently wrote a previously unpublished client after accepting a book proposal written under Glenn’s direction: “…You’ve written a first-rate proposal that needs very little work. This puts you in a notable minority among my stable, as I typically get closely involved in helping clients revise. You don’t need much, not at all.”

 “Glenn treats the words that make it into print like an inheritance, like objects that are being passed down. And I believe he wants, more than anything, for those words to be good—to be worthy—and for them to continue to be good. I don’t know anyone who’s done more to seek out and highlight bright new talent… - Chris Jones, National Magazine Award winner in Feature Writing

“Conversations with Glenn Stout rival any writing workshop in the country…I get LOTS of credit for my work on race, sport, society. Who have I conceptualized EVERY idea with for the past 20 years? Glenn Stout” – Howard Bryant, ESPN, author of The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron, and 2016 finalist National Magazine Award in Commentary

“I’ve written 47 books and hundreds of articles. I’ve never – and I mean never – had an editor who challenged me in a more positive way than Glenn Stout did. – Thomas Hauser – Author of “Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times” and “Missing” (Academy-Award-winning film starring Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek)

“Glenn Stout is, hands down, the best editor I have worked with in my nearly 20 years as a reporter. When you work with Glenn, you work with an editor who cares more about the story you’re telling, and how you’re telling it, than anything else. He gives his reporters wide latitude to explore the possibilities, while also gently pulling you along a path that leads to great stories.”– Matt Tullis, assistant professor, Fairfield University author of the forthcoming “The Ghosts I Run With”


Literary Non-Fiction Workshop

Literary Non-Fiction Workshop

Literary Non-Fiction Workshop, July 23-30

led by Kim Cross

This week-long workshop is designed to provide professional journalists and writers the opportunity to learn and practice the craft of long-form literary nonfiction. Unlike other writing workshops that offer group feedback on existing stories, this immersive program requires active, hands-on practice in a real-world environment. Think of it as Spring Training for the sport of storytelling.

Here's how it works: Participating writers (no more than 12) stay at the Spur Hotel. Each day begins with an interactive discussion about a specific element of the craft (for example, dialogue), guided by our Writer in Residence. Well before noon, writers are dispatched into the town of Archer City to practice that element (in this example, by recording and writing a short scene involving dialogue). By suppertime, the group reconvenes to read and workshop their assignment and discuss what they learned in the process. The Writer in Residence and at least one mentor are available throughout the day to field questions.

The point of this workshop is not necessarily to publish. It's to learn and grow as storytellers. The program exists to give working writers a chance to practice the craft and experiment without the pressure of publishing. If individuals desire to create a publishable piece through the exercises, we support that. But it is not an expectation. In fact, we want to liberate our writers for one full week from the burden of expectations.

This program would not exist without the vision of George Getschow, founder of the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference and the Archer City Writers Workshop (a graduate-level college course by the University of North Texas). A mentor of generations of writers and a fine author himself, George created a "Tribe of Storytellers" that includes the best and brightest contemporary writers of literary nonfiction. Through this program, books were born, careers were launched, and lifelong friendship established. In 2014, George passed the responsibility for organizing this workshop to author Kim Cross, who wishes to carry it forward with his enthusiasm and spirit and make it available to professionals nationwide.

To be eligible for a professional spot in this workshop, applicants must be 21 or older and posses a strong command of the fundamentals of writing. Ideally, they have at least five years of professional experience in journalism, publishing, or creative writing. Reporting experience is recommended, but not required. Graduate students in journalism or creative writing will be considered based on writing samples and recommendations. Even more than clips or experience, we're looking for candidates with a strong desire to learn, grow, and venture outside their comfort zone. 

The workshop fee is $1,000, which includes tuition and 7 nights' lodging (a modest room with private bath) at the Spur Hotel. Participants are responsible for their meals (Murn's Cafe is right across the street. There's a small grocery store in town and hotel kitchen available for use). This workshop is limited to 12 participants, and $400 deposit required to hold a spot.  Cancellation policy: 100% refund before May 1; 75% by June 1; 50% by July 1; no refund after July 2.

Participants are selected by nomination. Read more about Kim on our coaches page. For more information, contact Kim Cross at kimhcross (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Podcasting Workshop

Podcasting Workshop

Podcasting Workshop, August 11-13, 2017

led by Matt Tullis

The reach and influence of podcasts as a storytelling genre is expanding rapidly. In 2016, 21 percent of Americans said they had listened to a podcast within the last month, up from 12 percent three years earlier. And every year, the number of podcast episodes is increasing on podcast web hosting sites like Libsyn, who in 2015, had more than 28,000 shows that were downloaded a combined 3.3 billion times. Hosting a podcast can serve as a great way to establish your expertise in a particular field, raise your own profile, and connect to a target audience. They offer amazing networking opportunities and add a valuable skill set valued in today’s multimedia world.

In this two-day, hands-on workshop, you’ll learn everything you need to produce a top-notch podcast, from concept to distribution. You will record, edit, and produce a short segment and learn how to interview and connect with subjects, whether over the phone or in person. No fancy equipment necessary—all you need is a smart phone, a laptop, and some free audio editing software. We will, however, bring and demonstrate professional-grade recording equipment and software that you can add at any time to enhance your working audio production studio.

Learn how to…

• Develop and refine great podcast idea

• Turn that concept into something people want to listen to

• Record, edit and produce audio

• Find a host for your podcast

• Hook up with iTunes and other podcast distribution systems


Instructor Matt Tullis, host and producer of Gangrey: The Podcast, has interviewed noted journalists including New York Times best-seller Chuck Klosterman, Pulitzer Prize winner Lane DeGregory, and National Magazine Award winner Tom Junod in a series of more than 50 podcasts. He is an assistant professor of digital journalism at Fairfield University.

Cost: The $500 fee covers tuition and two nights’ lodging at The Spur, a historic hotel in Archer City that serves as headquarters for the Archer City Story Center. You may purchase additional nights for $85 per night, paid to The Spur. A $100 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot in the class. Refunds for cancellations will decrease as the date of the workshop nears. Cancel 3+ months prior to workshop: 3+ months or more before workshop ($400 refund); 2+ months before workshop ($300 refund); 1+ month before workshop ($200 refund); less than one month ($100 refund).

Questions? Contact Matt at MattTullisWriter (at) gmail (dot) com.