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Ways of Being Published

Lesson 1 of 6

Class Introduction

Michelle Tea

Ways of Being Published

Michelle Tea

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Do any of you want to get published? Like, yeah, yeah of course you do. I first didn't think that I could be a writer because I had no idea how people got published. And then I learned that you went to a really good school and you had a really influential professor who recognized your genius right away and sort of passed you off to their really good friend, the powerful New York City agent and then you got a huge book deal and you lived happily ever after. And that's how you got published. So I still didn't think that I could be a writer. But I've written a ton of books. That's not true as it turns out. There are so many different ways to get published. Everything from doing it yourself which I did in a very old school way. There's lots better ways to do that today, to publishing with small presses, big presses, all the presses in between. So today I'm just going to give you a lot of knowledge that I've learned throughout my publishing career and hopefully it will make sense to you. Pl...

ease ask questions. Okay let's go. So firstly, has everybody finished their book? (audience chuckles) You really don't need to worry about this until you've finished your book. So I have found that thinking about publishing when you're still sort of in that creative phase is a huge distraction and you should just finish your book. But you're here, we're all here, so we're gonna talk about it. So you're just gonna kind of remember all of this and then you're gonna forget it and you're gonna write your book and then you'll bring it back up when you're done with your book, okay? But you really just wanna finish your book. That is the most important thing to do as a writer. Alright, has anybody been working with or thinking about doing book proposals to sell their book? Okay, so there's some interest in that? I'm going to talk about book proposals. It's one way that you can sell your book before you've actually written your book which is like the dream right? But you can only do this for some kinds of books. It's not as, it's kind of more rare I think than people realize. You really can't do it for fiction if you're writing fiction. It's also really tricky to do it for a memoir. Even though I've published a whole bunch. Right now, I'm like 50 pages into a young adult fiction book that I thought, I got my 50 pages, go sell that for me agent and she's like you gotta finish that book before I can sell it. I was like, what? You know, some books it doesn't matter, you just have to do it like that. If you're writing a nonfiction book, you can do a proposal. If it's your first book and you don't have much out there to sort of show publishers like what you're about, it's going to be hard for you. But if you've done some things, if you have an initial book out already, maybe you're a blogger and you have a lot of followers, if there's something that you can show people like, I mean I doubt this is anyone's situation, but like you're a surgeon in the E.R. and you're gonna write a book about like life in the E.R. you can sort of point to your experience as a surgeon to put that in your proposal and then sell your proposal. But it's kind of specialized sort of thing. Does anybody wanna know if I think you can, if you need a proposal? Does anyone wanna share what they're working on proposal wise? Yeah sure. So I am writing nonfiction, business genre, specifically aimed at women entrepreneurs so it's an interactive workbook called Business Plan You and it is really designing your business from the inside out so using head, heart, and knowing. I have 20 years as an executive in corporate America and then I've spent the last five years as a coach so I'm kind of hybrid-ing my experience in corporate America with the business plan and then bringing in the life coaching personal development side as well. Okay, so that's great so you probably could sell. There's a big chance you can sell your book on the strength of your proposal because you've got all this life experience to back up what you're putting forward. So that's the kind of scenario that if you haven't already written a book first that can get you in the door with a proposal.

Class Description

Those working on or about to complete their first book are likely wondering what comes next. How will you go about getting your work published? What are the various options available? And what are the steps for each pathway to publication?

Michelle Tea is an award-winning author, editor and teacher who’s published her work in every conceivable way. She’s placed works with the help of an agent and on her own, and she’s published with tiny independent presses as well as major imprints of Penguin and HarperCollins.

This class will demystify the publishing process, present the pros and cons of the different ways to publish, and help you figure out the method that’s right for you. It will also address what happens after publication, including the promotion of your book.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Create a book proposal, including the introduction, pitch, sell, bio, table of contents and sample chapters.
  • Figure out if you need an agent by looking at what agents do and don’t do for you.
  • Acquire an agent and let one go.
  • Self-publish your work as a zine, chapbook or blog.
  • Join or build a literary community.
  • Choose between a small or large publisher.
  • Understand book deals, including royalties, two-book deals and right of first refusal.
  • Promote your book with blurbs, galleys, online content, social media, essays and tours.


Maya Beck

These were very helpful videos-- I think it especially cleared up what an author might want from a publisher based on their preferences and how they would exploit certain connections they might have. Tea presented a lot of good ideas and thoughts about book touring and the pros and cons of different types of publishers (indie v. big corporate publishers) too. I think it's good for writers who are mystified at the process of agents, publishing, and advances.

Michelle Mealing