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EGL 28 W — From Writer to Author: Navigating the Twisty Path to Publication

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Jun 24—Jul 26
Drop Deadline: Jun 27
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $225
Instructor(s): Malena Watrous
Limit: 125
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is June 27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is July 2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Jun 24—Jul 26
5 weeks
Drop By
Jun 27
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Malena Watrous
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is June 27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is July 2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
The difference between a writer and an author is that the latter has published a book. After finishing a manuscript, writers often ask: How exactly do I get this thing into print? Is an MFA crucial? How about an agent? What’s the difference between an editor you pay to work on your book, and an editor who pays you to publish the manuscript? If you choose to publish on your own, how do you make the public aware that your book exists? No wonder writers are confused!

In this course, we will dedicate each of the five weeks to one key aspect of the process: getting the manuscript into shape; querying agents; how agents send books out to publishers; working with an editor at a publishing house to get a book ready for print; and publicity, or making the world aware of your book. To illuminate this process, you will read five books (one each week) by successfully published authors. Each week, there will be a 75-minute videoconference session that will include class time and a conversation between the featured author and an instrumental member of the team who helped them on the path to publication. During this time, you will also be able to ask these authors and their “teammates” any questions you have, illuminating the path to publication and leaving you better able to navigate it on your own.

Tentative guests include: Curtis Sittenfeld (author, You Think It, I’ll Say It), Lillian Li (author, Number One Chinese Restaurant), Barbara Jones (executive editor, Henry Holt), Marcy Dermansky (author, Very Nice), Gregory Henry (former HarperCollins publicist), Deborah Johnson (author, The Secret of Magic), Harvey Klinger (agent), Martha Conway (author, The Underground River), and Heather Lazare (developmental editor).

There will be one live videoconference session each Wednesday from 12:00 – 1:15 pm (Pacific Time). In these sessions, the authors and their teammates will discuss how they work together, and students can ask questions about the book or the working relationship. These will serve as part book group, part information session about how publishing works with the featured author’s book as the model.

There will be supplemental discussion threads where students can talk about the books and class on their own, but there will be no writing assignments.

Malena Watrous, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford; Online Writing Lead Instructor, Stanford Continuing Studies

Malena Watrous is the author of the novel If You Follow Me, and co-author of the novel Sparked. She has contributed to The New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle, among other publications. She received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Curtis Sittenfeld, You Think it, I'll Say It (ISBN 978-0399592867)
(Required) Lillian Li, Number One Chinese Restaurant (ISBN 978-1250141293)
(Required) Marcy Dermansky, Very Nice (ISBN 978-0525655633)
(Required) Deborah Johnson, The Secret of Magic (ISBN 978-0399157721)
(Required) Martha Conway, The Underground River (ISBN 978-1501160202)