You’ve finished your novel and have a polished manuscript—now what?
This 4-week class, fit for writers with all levels of workshop experience, will help writers learn how to navigate the querying and book-deal processes, how to work closely with an editor, and how to advocate for themselves throughout the post-deal process.
In-class discussions will often begin with a brief presentation by the instructor on the given topic. Our conversations will also be informed by readings (examples of successful query letters and plot synopses) assigned before class. These readings will serve as the basis for when we generate our own work. Reading will consist of either instructor-provided samples or work generated by the class. We will also leave room for thoughtful and spontaneous conversation.
Take-home work will consist of three significant writing assignments. Students will have the option to share all three assignments for feedback from the class. Regardless, all student work will receive written feedback from the instructor.
Prior to the first class, students will be asked to submit an author goal statement which will help them develop and refine their artistic and material goals for their book and writing career. This statement will also serve as a lodestar to the writer when deciding between hypothetical book deals posed to them at the end of the course.
After looking at some successful examples, students will be asked to write their own plot synopsis, which will help them consider the totality of their novel through the lens of character, plot, and the agent/editor point of view.
We will also consult examples of successful query letters. Then, students will compose their own letters based upon their novels, aiming to perfect their elevator pitches, striking the appropriate length and tone, and selecting the ideal comparison titles.
For our final class, students will be presented with three distinct book deals. After reviewing the deals, students will be asked to pick one and share their rationale with the class.
At the end of this course, students will have a better understanding of the following:
- Their goals for their novel and their writing career
- How to write a compelling and comprehensive plot synopsis
- How to compose an intriguing and concise query letter that will grab an agent’s attention
- How to navigate the deal-making process and working with editors and publishers
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Students will receive instructor feedback on their plot synopsis, query letter, and a better understanding of the book-deal process.
- Students will leave the class with a better understanding of the agent querying process as well as a few resources such as websites and databases.
- Students will leave the class with greater clarity about the overall book deal process.
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
Reading: students will be expected to read sample plot synopses and query letters in preparation for certain classes. Depending on class participation, students may also be asked to read plot synopses and query letters from their fellow students.
Prior to our first class, students will be expected to submit their author goal statement. Over the course of the class, students will also be expected to generate and submit a plot synopsis, a query letter, as well as a detailed response to hypothetical book deals.
Students will be encouraged, but not required, to submit their plot synopsis and query letter for verbal feedback from the workshop. Students will only be expected to provide verbal feedback during the workshop process. All students will receive detailed written feedback from the instructor on all assignments.
Lastly, students will be expected to share their answers to the hypothetical book deals in our final class.
Students will submit an author goal statement prior to week 1.
Week 1 – Plot Synopsis, Audience; students will write their own plot synopsis
Week 2 – Query Letters; workshop plot synopses; students will write their own query letters
Week 3 - How to Find and Choose an Agent; workshop query letters; students will respond to hypothetical offers
Week 4 - Navigating Deals and Working with Editors; workshop hypothetical deal responses
A native of Nyack, New York, Soon Wiley received his BA in English & Philosophy from Connecticut College. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wichita State University. His writing has been published in journals such as the Sonora Review, Harpur Palate, and JMWW, earning him nominations for a Pushcart Prize and fellowships in Wyoming and France. When We Fell Apart, his debut novel, will be published by Dutton (US) and Simon and Schuster (UK) in spring 2022.
“Propulsive and deeply felt, Soon Wiley’s phenomenal debut WHEN WE FELL APART takes on the friction between family bonds, cultural expectations, and personal desires in a way that feels both urgent and intensely real. Even as I raced through the pages to find out what happened to Yu-jin, for me the true heart of the book was Min, and his search for a sense of belonging that neither America nor Korea is quite able to offer him. His story is truly unforgettable.”
“In this gorgeous, poignant meditation on identity, love, and desire, Soon Wiley illuminates the liminal state of being biracial, of belonging but not, of desperately wanting the world to let you be as you are. WHEN WE FELL APART will stay with me for a long time.”
“Melancholic, atmospheric, and consistently surprising. Like NORWEGIAN WOOD, there is a minor key running through this love story played out on the frenetic and lonely streets of Seoul. WHEN WE FELL APART is a transportive and poignant debut.”
“A lyrical exposition on what it’s like to be biracial, with one foot firmly planted in two distinct worlds, never completely fitting in, but capable of seeing what others do not. A lonely, heartbreaking, spellbinding story of love, self-discovery, and belonging.”