Keys to the Kingdom

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 

-Maya Angelou

8 Writers. 8 Weeks. 8 Polished Proposals for Pitching.

We’re demystifying the publishing process, revealing all the secrets, and giving you a step-by-step road to the bookshelf!

Classes Start Tuesday, November 12th!

Do you…

  • Have a great book idea, but just don’t know where to start with it? Who to even send it to, or how to translate it to the page?
  • Feel like the publishing gatekeepers are a mysterious fortress you can never quite get through?
  • Feel like everyone is always telling you to write a book, but you don’t know what the next steps are? 

If this is you, you’re not alone! It’s a totally mysterious and seemingly impenetrable book world out there! No one knows how to break in or where to begin. The good news is getting a book deal is much more about preparation than luck, and preparation is something you can take into your own hands and do something about now.

On a daily basis, an array of established writers, memoirists, chefs, stay-at-home moms, doctors, yogis, wellness experts, history buffs, teachers, and funny dads are constantly asking me about the publishing process. They’ll ask, how does it work, where would I even send my work, and what should I send?

Did you know that even the biggest celebrities and foremost experts need to pitch and package their ideas properly?

When I realized that I was explaining the same checklist for getting published over and over to those who wanted book deals, I decided to condense all my knowledge, tips, and tricks into one amazing class!  Enter Keys to the Kingdom: Insider Secrets to Nonfiction Publishing, my step-by-step 8-week course that unlocks all the secrets of – and demystifies – the entire publishing process. We’ll seamlessly walk you through the process from ideation to reality by helping you craft a killer query letter and detailed book proposal that will open all nonfiction publishing doors – from landing a hotshot agent to having your pages grace the desk of a top editor. I’ll be sharing all my insider information from years of reading, writing, editing, and selling book proposals for bestselling books to major publishers in one class.

In Keys to the Kingdom, you’ll get clear on your book concept – how to package it, how to talk about it, and exactly where to send it. By the end of this class, you’ll be armed with a straightforward, comprehensive understanding of the publishing process, and you’ll be on a fast track that allows you to focus on the pages, not the red tape.

Want to…

  • End the frustration of surfing the internet trying to piece together the steps to publishing?
  • Stop going to massive conferences or downloading “how-to” books that garner no results?
  • Quit sending emails that get no response?
  • Finally get your idea on paper and get this accomplishment under your belt?
  • Share your life story, expert advice or research with the world?

 You can take this class. You can show up for your idea, and you can make it happen.

In This Class, You’ll Get:

  • Comprehensive, intensive instruction with a top industry professional in an intimate, interactive online group setting
  • Weekly, step-by-step instruction on how to build each element of a successful proposal
  • Secret tips and tricks to getting published that only industry insiders know
  • A behind-the curtain-glimpse into the book world and how it really works
  • Weekly assignments and feedback on your individual work
  • A polished, professional proposal that will get the attention of the world’s biggest publishers and most prominent editors
  • A small group setting capped at eight people so you get personal attention to your project every week

This one-of-a-kind class will set you on the path of the critical first step to having a book with your name stamped on a book spine and sitting on the shelf.

Are you ready to make your book dreams a reality?


Autumn Sessions Begin Tues. Nov 12th

  • Tuesday, November 12th 6:30-8:00pm EST
  • Tuesday, November 19th 6:30-8:00pm EST
  • Tuesday, November 26th 6:30-8:00pm EST
  • Tuesday, December 3rd 6:30-8:00pm EST
  • Tuesday, December 10th 6:30-8:00pm EST
  • Tuesday, December 17th 6:30-8:00pm EST
  • Two Week Holiday Break: Get your final ideas together!
  • Tuesday, January 7th 6:30-8:00pm EST
  • Tuesday, January 14th 6:30-8:00pm EST

Overview

Week 1

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night: The Intro

Welcome to the first step in writing that book! In this first class, we’ll dive right in and discuss why a proposal is a necessary first step to getting any nonfiction book published. Whether you’re planning on pitching a big-time agent, sending straight to a small publisher or even self-publishing, you’ll get your feet wet in this first class. From learning what a proposal is, and why we need to create one, to understanding the goals of a proposal, we’ll cover it all. Most importantly, I’ll listen to your idea, and we’ll make sure your concept is on solid ground. We’ll confirm it has an audience and “legs” to carry an entire book, that way we can ensure that you’re beginning your publishing journey with a strong foundation.

Week 2

Setting the Scene: The Overview

In this class, we’ll tackle the first page of the proposal: the overview. We’ll discuss overviews as sales material and learn why they need to start with catchy lines to sell your book. We’ll go over deceptively “good” overviews (hint: don’t tell us the whole book) and why they don’t actually work and compare them with successful proposals that sold! Lastly, you’ll write an overview and set the stage for your whole proposal in a way that would make anyone want to read more.

Week 3

The Main Character: Bio & Portrait of a Reader

Now is when we learn the difference between a publishing bio and other bios.
You might have the right idea, but why are you the perfect author to write this book? We’ll make you sound like an author, and I’ll pull out those special parts of your story that you didn’t even realize were important. We’ll talk about key buzzwords to use and angles to explore. I often speak to clients who offhandedly mention they’re the recipient of an esteemed award and then say, “Should I mention that?” Of course! This is no time to be humble. It’s a brag, brag world out there. At the end of this class, you’ll be writing your own bio and singing your own praises.

Week 4

Shelf Life: Marketing Plan & Comp Titles

This week is all about that “p” word you keep hearing again and again—platform. What is it? What’s the magic number of Instagram or Twitter followers you need to really sell books, and how do you get a platform/following? We’ll also talk about how to create a marketing plan that publishers will love. I’ll show you why you have more media contacts than you think. You’ll also realize that you know your audience better than anyone. In fact, you are your audience! How do you find books? We’ll explore the books that would live on the shelf with yours (also known as comparison titles) and add them into our proposal for a well-rounded picture of how your title will live in the world.

Week 5

The Spine: Table of Contents

This is where we really test the solidity of your concept. Your table of contents should live in a neat container, and we’re going to decide what yours looks like. We’ll learn to think about books architecturally and mathematically so that they feel less daunting and easier to tackle. You’ll imagine the reader’s experience of journeying your book and make sure your audience will be satisfied. Every book has a beginning, middle, and end, and this is where we’ll create a narrative arc for yours. We’ll look at examples of good and not-so-good tables of contents in both published books and proposals, and by the end of the class, you’ll be an expert in book building. Writing a book is easy to tackle when you follow the formula!

Week 6

Cover to Cover: Chapter Summaries

In this class, we’re going to look at your table of contents and build it out into paragraphs. These are your mini overviews like the sweeping one you did in the beginning, but they’re overviews of each chapter. If you really want to show off your writing skills, you can propose a first paragraph of the chapter with bullet points of what’s to come after. We will look at examples of successful chapter summaries and others that don’t work and why. Remember your overview is the foundation of the house. Are these chapters successful rooms? Are they building out your narrative arc? These summaries will become markers on your road map when you begin to write your book.

Week 7

Pen to Paper: Sample Chapters

The proposal is meant to illustrate the depth and breadth of your book, and here you’re able to show off your depth. What kind of voice do you have? Are you going to win them over with humor? School them with science? Inspire with anecdotes? This is your chance to show editors (or just yourself) how engaging you can be. This part of the proposal is so important that many editors tell me they often flip right to the sample chapters and start reading that first. Many will only go back and read the remainder of the proposal if the sample is working. Usually, these are chapters one and two. I call the first line of your sample chapter beachfront property and the first paragraph prime real estate because these are the most valuable sentences in your book. It sets the mindset for the rest. (Hint: read the first two chapters of five books in your category before you sit down to write yours). Learn from books you love. All the work you’ve done up until now from your table of contents to your portrait of a reader is prep work for this.

Week 8

Book Binding: Putting It All Together 

Here’s where we take a step back and admire our good work! At this point, you have a solid, polished piece of work that will garner the attention of any agent or set the stage for you to write a killer book with ease. We can talk about design formats and graphics to put the final touches on your work and dust off that query letter you wrote in the first class. We’ll also discuss any final questions, exchange emails so you can keep the party going, and talk recommendation and next steps for how you should be submitting this gorgeous package you’ve just created. Happy graduation!


Still not sure if this is right for you?