I am thrilled to announce that my 24-lecture series on how to publish your book is now available from The Great Courses. It is the closest I have ever come to offering an A-to-Z comprehensive course for writers who want to learn as much as possible about the publishing business and career-long strategies for successful authorship.
The course is available in several formats:
- audio download (least expensive)
- video download
- DVD (most expensive)
All formats come with streaming access to the course, as well as a printed or digital 192-page guidebook. The course is also available to Audible users.
Here’s a 3,000-word description of the course; below is a quick overview of each lecture, each about 28-30 minutes in length.
1. Today’s Book Publishing Landscape. Take an in-depth look at the world of writing and getting published: the history of the business, the competition in the modern market, and the major and minor players in the industry.
2. Identifying Your Fiction Genre. Understanding where your fiction book falls in the general categories of literature is an essential step to getting published, as there is a plethora of genre-specific publishing houses.
3. Categorizing Your Nonfiction Book. Delve into the various genres of nonfiction writing, and learn how to determine which publishing house best aligns with your nonfiction manuscript.
4. Researching Writers’ Markets. The modern publishing markets are far more complex than they were even a few decades ago. Learn about the different agents and publishers, and discover the tools out there that can help you find the right ones for you.
5. What to Expect from a Literary Agent. Learn how to acquire an agent, what to expect from an agent, and what standard and non-standard practices you may encounter if you choose to go that route.
6. Writing Your Query Letter. The query letter is your first impression and often what catches an agent or publisher’s attention, so it’s important to create a memorable one. Learn what elements comprise a good query letter, what components the publisher or agent requires, and how to stand out from a sea of queries.
7. Writing Your Novel or Memoir Synopsis. Once you’ve nailed a query letter, you will need to provide a synopsis. Condensing your entire story into a one-page overview while still keeping it compelling and intriguing is not easy. Learn what your synopsis needs to focus on and accomplish to be successful.
8. The Importance of Author Platform. A platform generally refers to an author’s visibility and reach to a target audience: who is aware of your work, where does your work appear, and how many people see it.
9. Researching and Planning Your Book Proposal. A book proposal is essentially a business plan that persuades a publisher to invest in your book. Publishers look for a viable idea with a clear market, paired with a writer who has credibility and marketing savvy.
10. Writing an Effective Book Proposal. Once you’ve completed the research required, analyze how to effectively incorporate your findings in a compelling manner.
11. Submissions and Publishing Etiquette. While each publisher and agent has their own requirements for you to follow when submitting your work for consideration, there are rules that apply universally and will often result in rejections when not followed.
12. Networking: From Writers’ Conferences to Courses. Just like with a job search, networking can be an important and useful component to getting published.
13. Pitching Your Book. Learn the three types of pitches you should have ready, examine strong and weak pitch examples, and get tips on how to prepare for pitches without succumbing to nerves or stage fright.
14. Avoiding Common Manuscript Pitfalls. Many agents and editors rely on their experience and instinct and can tell within the first page whether or not a manuscript is worth reading further.
15. Hiring a Professional Editor. Explore the different stages of writing and reviewing, examine the different types of editing you can consider, and learn what an editor can and can’t do to make your work publishable.
16. How Writers Handle Rejection. Learn why you might be rejected, even if you’ve done everything correctly. Dissect some of the common reasons for rejection, how to let go of rejection or react to it in a constructive manner, and what your options are if you’ve been rejected
17. Overcoming Obstacles to Writing. Rejections are not the only obstacles to becoming a published author. Look at common dilemmas writers face, and learn how to create time for writing no matter what your daily schedule looks like.
18. The Book Publishing Contract. If you get to the point of the process where publishing contracts are being drafted, it’s important to understand the terminology and protect your rights.
19. Working Effectively with Your Publisher. While most aspiring writers are thrilled to get to this point in the publication process, it’s also important to know what will be expected of you once a publisher agrees to move forward.
20. Becoming a Bestselling Author. Marketing your book is a huge part of becoming a bestseller, and much of the onus of marketing will fall on you.
21. Career Marketing Strategies for Writers. Author websites, blogs, newsletters and emails, and social media will be your responsibility.
22. The Self-Publishing Path: When and How. When is self-publishing a viable option for your book? Learn what steps you should take if you choose to self-publish, and learn about the tools you will need to succeed.
23. Principles of Self-Publishing Success. Understand the role of metadata, pricing, and reviews to help your book get noticed.
24. Beyond the Book: Sharing Ideas in the Digital Age. Consider the many ways besides a book to write, publish, and share ideas in the digital age.
The Great Courses has made this course available at a significant discount upon its release, but the discount doesn’t last forever. Visit their site to purchase or find out more.
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.