Online | Nonfiction | Workshop

How to Turn an Essay into a Book Proposal

“Elizabeth's valuable insight, mastery of craft and true passion for her students makes her a rare find and a great teacher.” - Lisa Selin Davis, author of Lost Stars

It’s every nonfiction writer’s fairy tale. You write and publish an essay (quite possibly about the worst thing that ever happened to you), comment wars ensue, and the next thing you know you have a book deal and live happily ever after.

Except, as in all fairy tales, it doesn't really work out like that. What’s missing in the easy narrative: the process. Which includes (but is not limited to): writing an essay that is rich enough to expand into a book; transforming that essay into something more universal and powerful via research and reporting; creating a detailed outline and chapters for your potential book before you have done most of said research and reporting; selling the damn thing.

In this online workshop, we’ll read essays that became great books, and discuss and draft the essential building blocks of a book proposal overview. By the end of course, students will have a draft of their own overview section, as well as an understanding of the structural components necessary to complete a full length proposal. 

Prerequisite: a finished essay and the desire to expand it into a book-length work.

During this six-week intensive workshop, each student will workshop twice and meet (or Skype – details TK) once with the instructor for an individual conference.

Elizabeth Isadora Gold

Elizabeth Isadora Gold’s writing about motherhood, books, music, and feminism has appeared in the New York TimesSalon, The BelieverTin HouseThe RumpusTime Out New York, and many other publications. Her piece about her postpartum anxiety, “Meltdown in Motherland,” was featured on the New York Times’ Opinionator blog. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and young daughter.


“Elizabeth Gold gives amazing feedback. She has deep respect and understanding of the author and her work, and her many years of experience as both a writer and a teacher come through in everything she says. You will get wonderful, useable and illuminating insights from Elizabeth. She also knows the publishing world very well and will help you understand how your work could fit within it. She is savvy, smart and empathetic - pretty much everything you could ask for if you want to learn about memoir. I highly recommend her.”

Nancy Rawlinson

“This vital, comprehensive book is effectively a mommy group unto itself: a glorious, harmonious, companionable chorus of voices. It’s a consciousness raising, a rallying cry, the drum of our collective heartbeat. It’s also an essential reminder that the struggle for reproductive justice encompasses much more than birth control. Gold has done humankind a solid. Are you a mother? Did you have a mother? Read it.”

Elisa Albert author of AFTER BIRTH

“There’s a lot of humor in THE MOMMY GROUP…, but Gold has a serious message too. By telling our stories, she argues, women can not only support each other but push for political change as well.”


“THE MOMMY GROUP lays bare the importance of female friendship during parenthood and serves as a much needed antidote to the mommy wars.”


“Elizabeth Isadora Gold writes vividly and humorously about the trials and trip-outs of new-motherhood.”


“Elizabeth's valuable insight, mastery of craft and true passion for her students makes her a rare find and a great teacher.”

Lisa Selin Davis author of LOST STARS