My name is Adam, and I am an executive editor at William Morrow Books (a division of HarperCollins Publishers). I titled my discussion, “The Art of the Proposal: Creating an inspired project outline” mainly because, let’s be honest, “The Art of” in front of anything makes a subject sound philosophically profound. In truth though, as human beings, we spend every day, every conversation, trying to strike a balance between passion and practicality, and I believe that creating a non-fiction pitch is an art that has to be equal parts hot and cold. The hot is the actual writing–the overview and the sample chapters, for example–while the cold is the marketing pitch. The hot is the author’s most authentic and artistic voice while the cold is easy to digest platform information that will demonstrate to a publisher that you bring with you the right support system to make your book a good investment. The hot is your pure passion for the subject about which you are writing. The cold is the manifest understanding that non-fiction readers are extremely selective and thus want their information to come from the highest authorities on any given subject–health, science, politics, business, sports, the arts, etc. My personal archetype, and that of, dare I say, most editors, naturally gravitates toward great storytelling. There’s nothing I love more than someone who can spin a yarn. But as big business is a highly developed system of checks and balances, publishing houses have a diverse team of authorities in place meant to evaluate a proposal’s true commercial viability. When a guy like myself falls in love with a voice, a more practical colleague might politely inquire about whether or not that voice will garner enough support from booksellers to justify the full commitment of the publisher’s vast team of marketers, publicists, and salespeople. In a nutshell, the proposal itself has to win hearts and minds. Our discussion on October 20th at SCWW will be about crafting a treatment that will strike a balance between passion and self-promotion. I look forward to seeing you there!