make this the year you publish your best work yet.

If you’re writing a memoir or an essay collection or a novel, you’ve probably heard that you need to “build your platform.” What does this even mean? Should you follow 10,000 people on Twitter and hope that 5,000 follow you back? Should you finally get around to starting a blog? Do you need a professional headshot? A content strategy?

An author platform is basically a combination of visibility and expertise: what are you known for and who is your audience?

And the best way to prove that your work deserves representation and publication is by starting small.

I'm excited to offer a brand new online course, co-taught with freelance journalist, social media strategist, and former editor at Fusion, GOOD Magazine, and VICE, Laura Feinstein, that will take the mystery and anxiety out of platform-building by focusing on writing, pitching, and publishing essays with reach.

You're a writer, not a social media manager or a graphic designer. So write. Over the course of six weeks, we'll look at how to:

  • discover your unique expertise
  • master the art of the personal essay
  • generate and pitch ideas beyond the personal
  • find your audience and capture their attention
  • deal with the business side of freelance writing

Each session is a live, interactive video conference, where you can ask questions right to our faces. No pre-recorded videos to watch, no message boards or Facebook groups to check. We'll give weekly writing assignments and fun challenges to push you outside your comfort zone and stay accountable to your own goals.

At the end of six weeks, you'll have:

  • a bundle of new essay ideas
  • a 1500-word draft of a personal essay, critiqued by Leigh
  • a pitch for a mixed personal/reported feature, vetted by Laura
  • a supportive community of writing peers
  • new insight into online media and the path to publishing your first book

When: Tuesdays, 8:00—9:30pm EST / 5:00—6:30pm PST
January 30—March 6 (6 weeks)

Where: An online video conference platform called Zoom (free and easy to set up and use, all you need is a computer that has a camera built in)

Class size is limited to 12 students

$349 to enroll

Registration is now closed. To find out more about my upcoming in-person workshop at the 92nd Street Y, and my book coaching services, click here.


"Leigh Stein is just such an overwhelmingly generous, thoughtful thinker and writer and teacher!" — Beth Boyle Machlan

"As a reader, Leigh is a dream. Her line notes and end comments are among the most comprehensive and incisive that I’ve ever received (and this from someone who has an MFA and has taken numerous workshops)." — Maggie Levine

“Leigh Stein is proof that we write because we must. And when you answer that call, Leigh helps the words arrive and find the best place on the page. ” — Cynthia Manick

“Not only is Leigh a sympathetic reader, an excellent and super fast editor, but she also has great ideas about where your work could find a good home and shine there. I learned more from her in 9 months than from all my previous teachers.” — Julie Hart


leigh stein

Leigh Stein is the author of three books. Her début novel The Fallback Plan made the "highbrow brilliant" quadrant of New York magazine's "Approval Matrix," and her poetry collection Dispatch from the Future was selected for Publishers Weekly's Best Summer Books of 2012 list, and the Rumpus Poetry Book Club. Land of Enchantment, her memoir about young love, obsession, abuse, and loss, was selected by Junior Library Guild as an adult book with teen appeal. She has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, AllureELLE, Poets & Writers, BuzzFeed, The Cut, Salon, and Slate. She teaches for the 92Y, Catapult, and Brooklyn Poets. 

Laura F (1).png


A freelance writer and editor, Laura covers the intersection where art, technology, and global culture meet. Past roles include Head of Social Stories/Sex & Life Editor at Fusion, East Coast Editor at GOOD Magazine and Editor in Chief of The Creators Project at VICE. She has also contributed to such diverse publications as The Guardian, T/The New York Times, GQ, Harper’s Bazaar, Salon, Vogue, Paper Magazine, Travel + Leisure, Refinery29, BOMB Magazine, and CityLab at The Atlantic (among others). Based in BK, she's always on the look-out for the new and unboring.