Online | Fiction | Workshop

6-Week Online Publishing Workshop: Preparing Your Novel for Submission

This class will tackle the process of preparing your work for submission to agents and eventually, editors. Writers with a manuscript that is ready or nearly ready for submission will get the most out of this class – but anyone interested in learning more about the publishing process is welcome to enroll. (Please note you will need to have fifteen pages ready for workshop by the start of class, along with a solid sense of the stakes of your book in order to position and pitch it.)

We’ll begin with the beginning of your book – polishing and tightening the first fifteen pages of your novel. This section is absolutely critical; these early pages must be some of your strongest writing and storytelling if you expect agents, editors, and eventually readers to continue through the whole of your novel. We’ll focus on first sentences, first paragraphs and eliminating anything that may drag your story down, workshopping the first fifteen pages of your book.

Once you have a beginning that is exactly right, we can move into the technical process of finding representation. We’ll focus first on researching agents and agencies to find the person who will be the best fit for you and your work, and then we’ll discuss the formal (and usually unstated) expectations for a successful query letter: elevator pitch, comp titles, bio, “voice” and personalization. At this point, you’ll have the chance to workshop your own query letter, and we’ll discuss how best to get your submission out of the slush pile. Finally, we’ll conclude by putting together a plan for submission and getting organized to send out your work.

At the end of this class, writers will have a strong opening to their manuscript, a polished query letter that is ready for submission and an organized plan for submitting to agents.


- intensive peer and instructor feedback on the first 15 pages of your manuscript and your query letter

- greater knowledge of literary agencies and how to get representation for your project

- a solidified plan for submitting your work

- access to a nurturing community of writers and readers

- exclusive access to our alumni newsletter, a monthly roundup of submission opportunities (prizes, residencies, lit mags, grants, and more), plus a 10% discount on all future classes

- more confidence as a writer, on and off the page!


Week 1: Introduction
Week 2: The First 15 Pages
Week 3: Researching Agents and Agencies
Week 4: The Query Letter
Week 5: The Query Letter Perfected
Week 6: Submission

Caite Dolan-Leach

Caite Dolan-Leach is a writer and literary translator. She was born in the Finger Lakes and is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the American University in Paris. Dead Letters is her first novel.


“The disappearance of Ava’s wild-child twin is just the beginning of this roller-coaster read that’s as enthralling as it is WTF?!”


“Dolan-Leach’s clever thriller explores the fraying ties that bind twin sisters. . . . Readers will enjoy this full-bodied novel about a family of vintners.”


“Dolan-Leach’s debut is a smart, dazzling mystery with a twist that not only shines a new light on the novel’s title but also leaves the reader hunting for the next clue. Dolan-Leach revels in toying with both Ava and her audience, placing small hints and red herrings throughout her text, and the result is captivating.”

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY starred review

“Considering questions of identity, loyalty, and reliance, Dolan-Leach’s tautly crafted crime debut will resonate with fans of Gillian Flynn’s and Paula Hawkins’s domestic psychological thrillers.”


“Caite Dolan-Leach’s debut reads like an Agatha Christie novel set in a world with internet access. . . . The action unfolds with a kind of playful theatricality and cleverness that is totally and utterly engrossing.”

i-D (VICE)

“We do love a good mystery, and Dolan-Leach’s debut novel is a prime example of the form. . . . DEAD LETTERS centers around the most dysfunctional of families, and reading it feels like embarking on a literary scavenger hunt that you never want to end.”


“Ava, the star of this atmospheric debut, isn’t convinced her calculating twin sister, Zelda, is really dead—especially after she starts getting enigmatic emails from Zelda’s account, propelling her on a complicated hunt for the truth.”