Most of the time, writing a pitch is just writing an email. So why be intimidated? Learn how to get out of your own way and turn your ideas into bylines.
This six-week online course will strengthen writers' pitching muscles: how to convince an editor, agent, or anyone else that your idea is compelling, relevant, and deliverable. We’ll take a holistic approach to self-presentation that includes introducing yourself with confidence, optimizing your social media and web platform, networking effectively, writing great queries and pitches, avoiding the slush pile, and perhaps most importantly, persevering through the inevitable self-doubt and rejection. Confident pitching transcends genre and experience level, so writers of all disciplines and career stages are very welcome.
Offering specific pointers and assignments for every stage, we’ll closely examine:
- Assembling a strong author bio and online platform
- Summarizing your longform project (novel, memoir, screenplay) in one line, one paragraph, and one page
- How to target and query agents, with emphasis on writing a query letter
- How to target and pitch editors on shortform pieces (personal essays, news stories)
- Mastering the art of networking, negotiation and getting paid
- Setting goals, tracking pitches and payments, and staying organized
In addition to our real-time online group discussions, students will receive successful examples of all the materials mentioned above, pitch-to-byline roadmaps of personal and critical essays, and numerous suggestions of influential people and publications to follow. Each student will also conference individually with the instructor with the option to receive feedback on an agent query letter or pitch to an editor, and/or specialized guidance for their career goals. Please note: this is a seminar of the business of writing, not a traditional writing workshop.
Laura Goode is the author of a collection of poems, Become a Name (Fathom Books, 2016), and a novel for young adults, Sister Mischief (Candlewick Press, 2011). She co-wrote and produced the feature film Farah Goes Bang, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival and won the Nora Ephron Prize. Her nonfiction has appeared in BuzzFeed, Longreads, ELLE, Refinery29, New Republic, New York Magazine, Fusion, and Bright Ideas, where she is a contributing editor. She received a BA and MFA from Columbia University and lives in San Francisco. @lauragoode / tinyletter.com/lauragoode
"So much of learning to pitch is confidence. As an instructor, Laura is an all-out punk-rock-cheerleader in your corner. She takes a chat room with a handful of remote strangers and turns into a sparkling soiree where you learn something profound from each person you chat with, and discover in yourself unknown powers. With grace, wit and attitude, she guides each person to find the best in themselves. Taking a course with her is not only learning to pitch, it's watching a master class in teaching itself. And to boot, as a writer, she touches the soul of what it means to be a human, a woman, a mother, a wife, in this most interesting of times, with a genuine humor that brings you from tears to laughter in one sentence. Don't miss out! "
"This is unprompted, but I wanted to write to say how wonderful Laura was in the pitching class I took with Catapult in January and how supportive she continues to be. I'm really glad I took the leap and signed up for her class. Also, it's worth noting that the class has already paid for itself—only because I've been able to follow her advice so exactly... I'm a big fan."
"Welcome to the Queer Hip-Hop Revolution, young-adult-style...Being a huge supporter of grrrl rockers, I fell hard for Laura Goode’s SISTER MISCHIEF (Candlewick Press), which centers on a swaggering, all-chick teen hip-hop group from the mean streets of, um, a wealthy, super-Christian suburb of Minneapolis. You can’t help but cheer as Goode’s crew—starring Esme, a Jewish lesbian songwriter who goes by 'M.C. Ferocious'; D.J. SheStorm, a badass breeder; and M.C. Rohini, a hot desi chick and Ferocious’s love interest—take over a pep rally, read Diane di Prima, and throw down rhymes."
"Goode’s debut is a provocative, authentic coming-of-age story that explores of the power of language in shaping identity, structured around the subversive, expressive nature of hip-hop music….Esme’s flowing, slangy narrative is expressive and idiosyncratic, and her relationship with Rowie is sweet and seductive. All of the girls realistically defy stereotypes, and their strong relationships with each other and their families are the linchpin of the story...the slang may trip up some readers, but overall this debut is full of big ideas, big heart, and big poetry, with a positive, activist message."
"Goode excels at describing love in melodic terms and music in romantic ones...Similarly, Goode’s ability to interweave Esme’s inner world of writing with her outer world of rap is one of the novel’s strong points. In addition to its sophistication of thought, the searing beauty of certain sentences of SISTER MISCHIEF rescues it from the trenches of teen melodrama...Perhaps the book’s most important work of activism is reminding us of words’ capacity to enact change—even of other verbal ills. As Esme recognizes, 'The language hip-hop uses to describe women is really messed up, but don’t you think that if enough women rappers break through, it’s something that we can reclaim?' What constitutes the unlikely connection between Goode and artists like Jay-Z is their giving underrepresented people voice through the medium of language. Like the best rappers and artists, Goode turns a challenging premise with ample potential for failure into a well-observed and at times poignantly beautiful outsider’s manifesto."
"To call Laura Goode an 'effective teacher' would be to understate things miserably. It is with no hyperbole that I write that, out of all the extraordinary teachers I have had, Laura has had a singular impact on my development as a writer. Laura's ability to transcend, in her teaching, the barrier between the old and the new not only set an example for my reading; it also gave me the courage to avoid a prejudice for either classical or experimental categories in my own work. That approach helped me toward the writing of a novella that was eventually published the following year, thanks in large part to Laura's steady encouragement and guidance. She managed, somehow, to maintain both towering standards and a forgiving, gentle atmosphere in which we felt comfortable exposing all varieties of work. Our collective attitude toward Laura could best be described as awe—for her fierce devotion to art, her humor, her warmth, and her inexhaustible effort to help us toward braver modes of expression."