The Art of the Nonfiction Book Proposal: 6-Week Lab

Demystify the non-fiction book-proposal process by writing your own, with the guidance of a prolific nonfiction author

Registration for this course is full.
Email us to add yourself to the waiting list in case someone cancels.
Wednesdays, 7pm–9pm ET (4pm–6pm Pacific)
Apr. 20 – May 25, 2022

Before you write a book of non-fiction, first you have to write the proposal. Award-winning author Michael Hingston has written many of these proposals over the years. In this course, he’ll teach you all of the pieces that make up this elusive document—from the overview to market research to the table of contents—and then help you write your own proposal that will make your idea shine. Through lectures, roundtable discussions, real-world examples, and personalized written feedback from Michael, you will gain a variety of knowledge about book proposals and the publishing industry as a whole.

PREREQUISITE : This course is intended for experienced, committed students. Students should arrive to the first class with an idea for a non-fiction book already in mind. If you’re unsure whether this course is for you, ask us at

SOLD OUT (Waiting List Only)


Apr. 20 – May. 25, 2022
Wednesdays, 7pm – 9pm ET (4pm – 6pm Pacific)

  • Class 1 (April 20): Introduction: What is a non-fiction book proposal, and how does it work?
  • Class 2 (April 27): The overview and art of the title
  • Class 3 (May 4): Selling yourself
  • Class 4 (May 11): The table of contents
  • Class 5 (May 18): Finding and writing the best sample chapter
  • Class 6 (May 25): Pitching the proposal

Michael Hingston is a writer and publisher in Edmonton, Alberta. He is the author of a history of Calvin and Hobbes called Let’s Go Exploring (ECW) and the novel The Dilettantes (Freehand). His journalism has appeared in National Geographic, Wired, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic. He is also the co-founder of Hingston & Olsen Publishing, the outfit responsible for the Short Story Advent Calendar and the Ghost Box. Hingston’s new book, The Kingdom of Redonda, will be published by Biblioasis in fall 2022.


This is a course for intermediate writers looking to move to the next stage of their careers. Students will learn what goes into a non-fiction book proposal and then write their own, one section at a time, under the guidance of author (and proposal veteran) Michael Hingston. Students should arrive to the first class with an idea for a non-fiction book already in mind.

Please be on time. If you’re going to be late, email your instructor and T.A. as soon as possible. The course is intended for live participation; however, if you can’t be present for a class, or must leave early, a recording will be provided in the student folder the morning after.

You’re expected to be present and intellectually curious during class time. In addition to attending each class, you are expected to be available across all dates to complete your writing assignments. If your work is more than 48 hours late, however, you may or may not get feedback.


Pandemic University is committed to offering a fulfilling and inclusive education. Classes are held via Zoom with Closed Captioning features enabled through auto-transcription technology. The course includes workshops and class discussions, thus students are required to participate through audio; accommodations can be made for people with speaking or other disabilities if they inform us ahead of schedule. Video is encouraged of all students in order to optimize everyone’s virtual classroom experience.


After checkout, you’ll receive a receipt with a link to download your syllabus, which will include Zoom passcodes, pre-class homework, and additional course information. You will also receive an emailed reminder a few days before your first class.


Space is limited to 12 students. Anyone wishing to cancel their registration have until Apr. 12, 2022 to receive a guaranteed refund. If you cancel between Apr. 12–19, 2022 we will only offer a refund if and after the vacated spot is filled. No refunds whatsoever will be offered after the course begins on Apr. 20, 2022. Violations of the Code of Conduct may also result in your removal from the course without compensation.


Although PanU is technically a fake university, we’re committed to high standards of artistic integrity, quality education, and maintaining a safe virtual environment for students. Abusive behaviour toward classmates or instructors will not be tolerated at any point during the course, including in private messages, and will result in expulsion without refund.

Other violations that could have you expelled from this course include: refusing to participate in group workshops; plagiarism and misrepresentation of others’ ideas as your own; racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia either in your notes (written or spoken) or in your work; sharing recordings of classes; sharing classmates’ work without their consent.

The final say on whether or not you continue in class belongs to the instructor alone. If you have any questions, email