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The Business of Creative Writing: Navigating Your Next Steps

Writing is a tough business with daunting odds. Yet in this digital age, when leveraged well, a writer has never had more power and opportunity. The Business of Creative Writing shows you how to identify your brand and build your platform, as well as to evaluate the commercial potential of your work and understand the paths toward monetizing your writing. Investing the time and work to make it as good as it can be, committing to the process, and persevering during the inevitable rejection you will encounter along the path are all crucial for success. So, too, is learning not to be defensive when criticized for the work into which you've poured your heart and soul.

This workshop will also cover traditional publishing vs. self-publishing and all the stops in between, including agents and query letters, rights and legal issues including copyright, tenacity vs. talent, formatting, content creation, social networking, writers conferences, author websites, blogging, the best ways to connect with other writers to create a support group, and embracing the writing life.

After this class, participants will be able to:

  • Identify their author platform and take the first steps toward building it.
  • Explain the differences between the various routes to publication.
  • Recognize pitfalls and scams associated with publication.
  • Access and use writing tools and resources, including blog and website-building, formatting and content creation tools.
  • Create a list of potential literary agents.
  • Write a polished query letter ready to be customized for each literary agent.
  • Build a support and/or critique group and learn how best to connect with the larger writing community.

Course Content

What will be covered:

Lesson 1: Author Platform

  • Beyond the book: build your brand
  • Authenticity and platform
  • Tools: website, blog, email list, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more
  • Original content vs. curating
  • Copyright and fair use
  • Blogging a book

Lesson 2: Assessing Publishing Readiness
  • Polishing and formatting your manuscript
  • Submission timing
  • Understanding copyright
  • Narrowing down your primary market
  • Identifying similar books and authors

Lesson 3: Understanding Current Paths to Publication
  • Traditional publishing with advance and royalties
  • Traditional publishing without advance, higher royalties
  • Digital first or digital only
  • Self-publishing with assistance
  • Solo self-publishing
  • Recognizing scams

Lesson 4: Finding a Literary Agent
  • Do you really need one?
  • Understanding the ground rules
  • Insider tips for locating the right agent
  • Compiling a list of agents
  • Exclusive or multiple submissions
  • Keeping track of submissions
  • What an agent should and shouldn't do

Lesson 5: Writing a Query Letter
  • Developing your elevator pitch
  • Length, voice, essential elements
  • Individual agency submission guidelines
  • Writing and polishing your letter

Lesson 6: Dealing with Rejection
  • Surviving the tough stuff
  • Recognizing the golden nuggets
  • Tenacity and staying positive
  • Fear of failure and success

Lesson 7: Debrief and Critique
  • Polishing your platform
  • Paving your path
  • Fine-tuning your agent list and polishing your query letter
  • The long haul: building a body of work

Lesson 8: Staying connected
  • Platform, your next steps
  • Writing conferences
  • Building your lifeboat