Getting Your Book Published: A Year-Long Master Class with Jane Friedman
January 12, 2019 @ 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
One event on October 20, 2018 at 2:00pm
One event on November 10, 2018 at 2:00pm
One event on December 8, 2018 at 2:00pm
One event on January 12, 2019 at 2:00pm
One event on February 9, 2019 at 2:00pm
Instructor: Jane Friedman
$1,200 Members* | $1,200 Nonmembers*
Select Saturdays, 9/22/18 – 2/9/19**(see below) | 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM
*Payment plans of $287.50 per quarter will be available to students accepted into this program.
In this comprehensive masterclass, you’ll learn not just the foundational principles of getting your book published, but you’ll also gain expert insight into the changing landscape of the publishing industry, and how you can navigate your own path toward success. Learn what it takes to capture the attention of a New York publisher or literary agent, what expectations you should have when it comes to the marketing and promotion of your work, and how to determine which publishing option is best to achieve your goals.
At the end of the year, you’ll have a comprehensive, business understanding of the book publishing industry and an author’s place in the ecosystem of agents, publishers, and retailers. You’ll gain a deep understanding of the commercial publishing business model, how books get bought and sold in the US today, and how authors can approach the process with the right expectations and mindset.
This master class will cover the following:
- Query like a pro. Your one-page query letter should be short and sweet and pack a punch. Learn what it means to sell your story, and how to avoid problems that plague (and sabotage) writers in this critical document. We’ll workshop your letters together to ensure you have a solid query to send by the end of the course.
- Conquer the dreaded synopsis. Few, if any, writers enjoy writing a synopsis of their book, but agents like to see how you’ve structured (and ended) your book without reading the manuscript. Understand how to pull it off without everything sounding dead on the inside. We’ll workshop these until they’re submission ready.
- Plan and write a professional book proposal. Nonfiction writers may have to submit a full book proposal in lieu of or in addition to a full manuscript. This is one of the more challenging business documents you’re likely to tackle, and you’ll learn a 10-step process for making it easier to write and more persuasive when you finish. If you decide to write one during the course, we’ll workshop it once you have a draft ready.
- Practice your pitch. If you attend a writing conference or workshop, you may have the opportunity to pitch your work directly to an agent or editor. But if you’re nervous (and who isn’t?) then you can make a bad first impression. We’ll write brief pitches and do some role playing so you’re more comfortable if you take advantage of a pitch opportunity.
- Get a handle on agents—who they are and what they do. If you want to sell your work to a major New York house, you’ll need an agent. You’ll learn what the standard agenting practices are and why you might want one—and how to make sure you don’t get involved with a bad one.
- Research markets (agents and editors) for your work. Together we’ll look at the major tools and resources for identifying the right agent or publisher for you, and go through parts of the research process together.
- Explore traditional publishing options outside of New York. The world of independent publishers—including university presses, small presses, and regional presses—is vast and can sometimes be more challenging to understand than New York publishing, as they all operate a bit differently. Learn how to assess the strength and position of any book publisher.
- Start an author platform. Not too far into your publishing journey, you’ll hear agents and editors talk about platform. Is it necessary to have one to get published? How big does it have to be? There aren’t easy answers, but you’ll be able to walk away with next steps appropriate to your publishing goals.
- Crack the bestseller lists. How do they work? Is it all rigged? How do authors manage to reach New York Times bestsellerdom? We’ll look at how publishers market books (or not) and the role that authors play in sales success.
- Dive into Amazon and the role of algorithms in book retailing, sales, and marketing. Amazon is the biggest book retailer in the US and is by far the strongest player on the book publishing scene. You’ll learn what you can and can’t control here, and how to play the best game possible without breaking the rules.
- Know your rights. You don’t have to be a lawyer to learn how to spot a bad publishing or agent contract. Before you sign on the dotted line, each writer should know what contract language is standard or exceptional, and how to negotiate for themselves when necessary.
- Plan ahead for your business model. Few authors ever make a living from book sales alone. By studying a P&L for a traditionally published book, we’ll see what earnings you might get for a debut work, as well as discuss what advances look like in publishing today. Since you may be disappointed by your potential income, we’ll talk about other ways of funding a writing career.
**Meeting Dates (Others to be agreed upon by class participants): 9/22/18, 10/20/18, 11/10/18, 12/8/18, 1/12/19, 2/9/19.
- 1-page query letter, single-spaced
- synopsis of your project, no more than 2 pages, single-spaced
- $100 nonrefundable deposit. Deposits will be applied to the cost of tuition for students who are accepted in this program.
Application Deadline: August 20, 2018
This class is limited to 10 students. Acceptance letters will be emailed by 8/29/18. Upon acceptance, the remaining balance of program tuition will be due. Payment plans will be available for students who are accepted into this program; the first payment will be due on 9/4/18.
About the instructor
Jane Friedman spent 15 years working inside the traditional publishing industry and is the former publisher of Writer’s Digest. In addition to being a columnist with Publishers Weekly and an instructor with the Authors Guild, she is a professor with The Great Courses on the topic of how to get traditionally published.
Her most recent book is The Business of Being a Writer (The University of Chicago Press, 2018), a comprehensive guide on how to make a living as a writer. She has been a full-time freelancer and publishing consultant since 2014 and maintains an award-winning blog for writers at JaneFriedman.com.
Jane’s speaking engagements have taken her around the world to BookExpo America, Frankfurt Book Fair, the Dubai Knowledge Summit, SXSW, and hundreds of writing conferences and creative writing programs. Her expertise on the publishing industry and the future of authorship has been featured by NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, PBS, The Washington Post, and the National Press Club. She has also served on grant panels for the National Endowment for the Arts.
Mail-In Registration Option: Please mail application materials and check for $100 (made payable to WriterHouse) to P.O. Box 222, Charlottesville, VA 22902.