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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.

This workshop will 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; author websites as well as tips on how to connect with other writers to create the support you need to embrace the writing life.

After this class, participants will be able to:

  • Identify your author platform and take the first steps toward building it.
  • Create an author website. To blog or not to blog.
  • Identify the best social media platform(s) for your audience.
  • Develop a social media plan: original content vs. curation.
  • Access publication readiness. Use writing tools and resources.
  • Identify the differences between the various routes to publication.
  • Recognize pitfalls and scams associated with publication.
  • 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