Description of Class
You’ve worked hard on your novel. Now get it out the door!
The world of agents and publishers can be overwhelming and inscrutable. Writers have to switch from writing to business mode: researching, pitching, and promoting their book. Instead of trying to figure out the rules alone, this special weekend intensive will set you up to submit your novel– and begin the path to publication.
Your guide is acclaimed author Rebecca Makkai, who over the course of two days will give you a solid understanding of the publishing industry and strategies for approaching agents. The emphasis is on getting it done: practical advice, interactive exercises, and a concrete plan for going forward.
You’ll also have a chance to talk with small press editors and agents—so get your questions ready!
The day begins with an overview of what it takes to get published, the state of the industry today, and the reality behind the submission process. You’ll identify your specific publication goals and tackle the important questions:
- How do you know when your manuscript is ready to submit?
- What are the different pathways to publication?
- What are the roles of agents and editors?
Lunch will be provided to keep students motivated (and fed!), and then it’s back to work!
The afternoon will focus on the query letter and its components, and how best to capture the attention of an agent with this brief but critical document. Students will have time to draft their queries and learn strategies for crafting an effective pitch.
All students have the option to finish the day with a happy hour.
The day begins with a book-pitch workshop, where students will have the chance to put their queries to the test! You’ll give and get feedback in an interactive discussion, practice your elevator pitches, and troubleshoot with the group. You’ll emerge with a stronger query that presents your book in a compelling and concise way.
The group will brown bag lunch together and recharge before the final session, when you’ll look at the best resources for finding agents and begin the actual research. The group will discuss common questions including:
- How can you tell the good agents from the bad?
- What’s the role of conferences and networking when finding agents?
- What are the mistakes writers make when submitting their queries?
Students will also explore alternatives to agents, such as small presses and contests.
The weekend concludes with students identifying an agent that fits their project– and maybe even sending off their first submission!
Saturday (10am – 4pm)
Morning session: 10:00am – 12:00pm
- Overview of the publishing industry
- Identifying publishing goals
- The role of agents and publishers
Lunch & Writing Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
- Boxed lunch provided
Afternoon session: 1:00pm – 4:00pm
- The structure and components of query letters
- Students begin drafting their queries
Happy Hour (optional)
Sunday (10am – 3pm)
Morning session: 10:00am – 12:00pm
- Students pitch their books in group workshop
Lunch: 12:00pm – 1:00pm
- Bring your own bag lunch
Afternoon session: 1:00pm – 3:00pm
- Strategies & resources for researching agents
- Identify an agent to contact
What You’ll Leave With:
- An understanding of the agent and publishing worlds
- A revised draft of a query letter
- Resources to use for finding agents
- One or more agents to target with your book
- A publishing plan for continuing to submit your novel
Students will be asked to bring a 1-2 page synopsis of their book to the first session.