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. She is happy to give you the benefit of her vast contemporary reading and enormous network of fellow writers. I learned more from her in 9 months than from all my previous teachers.
— Julie Hart
Leigh Stein is just such an overwhelmingly generous, thoughtful thinker and writer and teacher!
— Beth Boyle Machlan



September 8 and 15, 2018, 1–5pm
Registration now open

If you want to be a writer, 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? Not necessarily. An author platform is basically a combination of visibility and expertise: what are you known for and who is your audience?

This 2-day master class takes the fear and anxiety out of building a platform by starting small: one great essay at a time. Building a strong portfolio of published essays is one of the fastest ways to attract the attention of a literary agent, and increase your chances of landing a book deal, and we'll teach you how and where to pitch your best ideas. This class is perfect for emerging writers who are just starting to think about their platform, as well as writers with books coming out this summer or fall who want to start pitching essays for publicity.

Through in-class writing exercises, engaging discussion, and non-boring homework assignments, we'll teach you 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

At the end of two sessions, you'll have:
- a bundle of new essay ideas
- a 1500-word draft of a personal essay, critiqued by Leigh
- two complete pitches, vetted by Laura
- new insight into online media and the path to publishing 

10-Week memoir proposal generator

Tuesday nights, 7-9pm, September 11—November 13
Applications currently being accepted

Literary agents increasingly prefer to submit memoirs to publishers on proposal (rather than completed manuscript) and this 10-week workshop and craft class is designed to help memoirists develop a strong proposal that is ready for agent attention. This course will be most helpful for those who already have a concrete idea for a book-length work and are eager to begin creating the scaffolding for a formal proposal.

The class will alternate between craft and student workshops. For the first few weeks, we will primarily focus on what goes into a book proposal. Students will study sample proposals that led to book deals and hear from guest speakers from the publishing industry, as they learn the components of a successful proposal. We will also work on refining the ideas for our books, testing our preconceived notions about the limitations and scope of our projects and hopefully expanding our sense of what these ideas might mature into. In this phase of the class, writers will develop a detailed chapter outline for their nonfiction projects, as well as a comprehensive proposal overview; both the outline and overview will be submitted to the group for peer and instructor feedback.

In the second phase of the class, writers will have the opportunity to submit a sample chapter or chapters (6,000-8,000 words) for workshop. These submissions will be workshopped as well, with special attention paid to how sample material will fit into the larger framework of the proposal and articulate its goals, as well as what the submissions reveal about the writer’s style, mission, and their book’s narrative arc.

Writers will graduate this class with a thorough understanding of what a persuasive book proposal looks like, and several components of their own book proposal written and workshopped, including sample chapters.

Pawleys Island Writers' Conference (South Carolina)

 I'll be on the faculty at the next Pawleys Island Writers' Conference in South Carolina.  Details and registration info here!

I'll be on the faculty at the next Pawleys Island Writers' Conference in South Carolina. Details and registration info here!

Are you a writer who has trouble overcoming doubts, staying focused, and producing your best work? Sign up for my weekly newsletter where I share my best tips for being more productive, silencing your inner saboteur, and finishing the book that could change your life (you know what it is!).

* indicates required