Pia Owens

Negotiation Skills for Writers

Gain confidence to negotiate your next contract or agreement


Pia Owens


Live on Feb. 22, 2023, or watch recording


Writers who have little or no training in negotiation


Closed captions by Otter; transcript provided with recording

The writing life can be a beautiful dream of creativity and flow—until you want to publish, collaborate, or get paid. Then you’re forced back to reality, where you’ll need to deal with other people.

Negotiation can feel daunting for writers, even those quite advanced in their careers, because of power imbalances between themselves and editors/publishers. Writers often have limited knowledge of what’s happening at publishing companies behind the scenes, yet such knowledge can be essential for successful negotiation. There might also be time constraints that make it harder to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Despite these challenges, you can learn to be your own best advocate and position yourself for the best deal possible. This class, taught by negotiation coach, attorney, and writer Pia Owens, will help you achieve your writing career goals by teaching you to negotiate with confidence. 

In this class, you will learn:

  • To think differently about negotiation. It doesn’t have to be an adversarial argument. It can be a mutual problem-solving exercise.
  • To identify and manage your own personal obstacles around negotiation. Do you fear conflict? Or feel you should accept what you’re offered because you don’t deserve more? We’ll discuss common issues and ways to overcome them.
  • To prepare for a negotiation by clarifying your own goals and priorities; researching the other party’s interests and negotiating position; and learning about the larger situation or industry.
  • To conduct a negotiation by opening strong, asking questions that enhance your understanding, and proposing creative solutions.
  • To conclude a negotiation by confirming a mutual understanding of everything that was agreed and how it will be implemented.

You can use these skills in any part of your life where you interact with other people. In this writing-focused class, we’ll discuss examples like placing a piece in a magazine or journal, and negotiating an agent or publisher contract.

Supplementary materials: As part of this class, with the follow-up materials, you’ll receive Jane’s Contracts 101 series for writers, which explains common language you’ll find in book and magazine publishing contracts.

Who should take this class

  • Any writer, at any career stage, who wants to improve their negotiation and business skills

This class isn’t suited for

  • Writers who want expert or insider knowledge of what’s in a book or magazine publishing contract. While there will be examples and discussion of contract terms, this class isn’t focused on training you on specific points of any industry contract. Instead, it offers evergreen principles that will help you negotiate for yourself no matter how contracts change and evolve.
  • This class is intended for people without formal negotiation training. If you are already an experienced negotiator, you may be familiar with many of the concrete skills taught in this class.

What’s included in all of Jane’s classes

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology (see system requirements). You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. If you don’t receive it within 1 hour of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023
  • Time: 1:00–2:00 p.m. Eastern / 10:00 a.m. Pacific
  • Fee: $25

The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Closed captions are provided during the live class. We use Zoom’s automated closed caption service (powered by Otter), which is about 80%+ accurate. We also use Otter AI to generate an unedited transcript, provided with the recording.

About the instructor

Pia Owens is a negotiation coach, attorney, former mediator, and writer. She is an alumna of Harvard Law School and the Harvard Program on Negotiation. Pia began teaching negotiation to writers in her role as ombudsperson for the Periplus Collective, a mentoring program for writers of color. Read an interview with Pia about her negotiation approach, or learn more at www.piaowens.com.

All students receive the following

  • Access to the live class. After roughly 45-60 minutes, the instructor will take questions during class using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 1 hour.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 30 days. You do not have to attend the live event to access the recordings.
  • Presentation slides. All registrants receive a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.
  • Jane’s Contracts 101 series. After class, you’ll receive a PDF that helps you decipher common language in book and magazine publishing contracts.

Event Attendance & Anti-Harassment Policy

We strive to provide an environment where all present—whether attendee, presenter, or staff—can feel supported. In order to ensure a welcoming event, here is what we expect from all who participate.

  • That the presenter and the presenter’s work be treated with respect by attendees and that all attendees treat each other with respect and a generosity of spirit.
  • That attendees will refrain from harassment of any sort including (but not limited to) comments or questions of a racist, homophobic, sexist/sexual, or threatening nature. This includes actions that disrupt or interfere with anyone’s ability to participate. Offenders will be disconnected from the live event.