Topics

“Thanks for your work with us on Story Week. The students loved you (we all did, frankly) and appreciated your candidness and enthusiasm. You set the tone right from the first afternoon—letting us all know that you were there to help, to be a part of things, and to have fun as well. I know that many people have turned to your handout and the notes from your seminar a dozen times by now as they consider their own work and its place in the world.”—Patricia Ann McNair, Artistic Director, Story Week Festival of Writers, Columbia College of Chicago

Before You Send It Out
Agents and editors don’t have time to read entire manuscripts. So how do they choose which writers they want to work with? Proposals. Regardless of whether you have a book for adults or children, in fiction or nonfiction, you need a strong proposal. But while many writers invest a significant amount of time, energy, and money in crafting their manuscripts, few know how to compose a proper proposal. In this class, you will learn: why 90% of submissions are rejected based on the cover letter alone; the single most reliable—and free!—resource for finding a good agent; three common, yet easily avoidable, mistakes writers make; a proposal’s true purpose (hint: it’s not to demonstrate talent).

Fix Your Pitch
Pitching a book idea is an essential skill most writers lack and need when submitting their work to agents and editors. Topics discussed include: why pitching is important; how to formulate a winning pitch; and the three most common mistakes writers make when pitching their book ideas.

How Editors Think
Do you think editors spend their days reading manuscripts? Think again! If you want to understand why editors choose to publish certain writers and reject the rest, learn how they think. Topics discussed include: the three most common mistakes writers make when trying to get published; the two most important jobs of an editor (editing isn’t one of them!); and the number one quality editors look for in a writer.

Publishing for Latinos: Knowledge is Power Only When Shared
Finding the right publisher is difficult for any writer, but Latinos face unique challenges–and opportunities. Topics discussed include: the significance of Latinos to mainstream publishers; writing in Spanish vs. English; dealing with the label of “Latino Writer”; overcoming cultural and social barriers, especially for Latinas; and the most important thing you can do to ensure the future success of Latino publishing.

Query Letter Clinic
Writing a winning query letter requires a completely different skill set than that required for writing a manuscript. In this workshop, you will learn: the essential components of a query letter; the dreaded phrases agents and editors hate; and the one sentence that will reveal whether you’re agent-worthy. Depending on the size of the audience, each writer who brings a copy of his/her query letter will have the opportunity to receive verbal feedback.