In my 10 years in book publishing, from starting as an assistant at a literary agency to my current gig as a Senior Editor at HarperCollins, I’ve seen a lot of pitches—the good, the bad, and, occasionally, the perfumed. As a writer hoping to sell your first project, being able to query editors and agents in their own language is the most important tool in your arsenal.
This seminar will teach you how to describe your work in terms that will catch the interest of publishing professionals, using strong sales positioning and the right kind of details: the ones that will make insiders sit up and listen.
The first half of the seminar will be a detailed class on query craft, including key information on the life-cycle of querying and a paragraph-by-paragraph analysis of what makes a great pitch, with an emphasis on market positioning. The second half of the seminar will be a series of group exercises designed to help you shape your query and practice pitching your work.
Students will walk away from this course with the skills to craft a query letter from scratch, and enough knowledge about the industry to pitch editors and agents with confidence.
- A strong understanding of the ways a single pitch letter can influence the trajectory of your project from acquisition to publication
- An in-depth look at the key ingredients of a good pitch and intimate coaching on how to best showcase your project in a commercial light (yes, even you literary folk!)
- The skills to craft a kick-ass query from scratch
- A heads-up about the most common pitfalls that get great writers overlooked and tips on how to avoid them
- Resources on finding the right agent(s) for you and how to wield your query once you’ve created it
- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Emma Brodie is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and packager. She spent 5 years at Penguin Random House, where she wrote over 20 gift books and games, including Punderdome, Deal or Duel, Come As You Aren’t, and Dear Jane. As an editor, she’s published authors including Awkwafina, Anna Drezen, Nathan W. Pyle, Marlee Grace, Deborah Hanekamp, and Emma Gray. Currently a Senior Editor at HarperCollins, Emma acquires non-fiction for the William Morrow imprint and a variety of illustrated gift books and products for the Morrow Gift imprint, which she founded in 2018.
"Emma Brodie is the dopest editor in town. Without her, this book would be an incoherent rambling with nonsensical bullets and distasteful jokes about Monica Lewinsky."
"Emma took a google doc filled with run on sentences and vague ideas and sculpted them into a real book that makes sense. She is the grit behind my softness."
"I will be forever indebted to my brilliant editor Emma Brodie who took a lot of unbridled passion for the former Soviet Union and shaped it into a narrative. This book would not have been possible without her generous guidance, patience, kindness, and vision, and throughout the process she has been a snake charmer, coaxing out the best that I am capable of."
""I attended The Art of the Query with a few fellow Wing writers and we LOVED it! It was quick, VERY informative, and super helpful! We all came out of the event ready to sharpen our pencils and get started to writing query letters. It incorporated a quick, simple presentation that went deep and provided insider info that I could never find online. When I say it went deep, I typed up 15 pages of notes! I'd love to shout out to Emma Brodie for leading it—she was fabulous!!"
"The Art of the Query as extremely helpful, perhaps one of the best events I've seen at the Wing."
"I learned infinitely more about querying in those two hours than I had in months spent Googling the subject. Prior to last night, my query letters felt a little like disheartening stabs in the dark, but Emma's tips made so much sense—and made me realize all the things I was doing wrong. Now I'm actually excited to start querying again!"