During this seminar for nonfiction writers, we will take a practical look at how to create a nonfiction book proposal that sells.
I’m a former book proposal coach who specialized in helping those new to the publishing world create and sell their nonfiction books. Along the way, I learned the ins and outs of writing nonfiction book proposals—and I want to share that information with you.
This three-hour seminar, during which I’ll walk you through a book proposal and answer questions about traditional publishing, is intended for those who are inexperienced with the book proposal process. We will also have a guest who knows the answers to the things I don’t: Calvert Morgan, Executive Editor at Riverhead at Penguin Books, who specializes in literary nonfiction (one of his most recent projects is Eula Biss’s newest book, Having and Being Had).
“I was a bit anxious going in, seeing as I haven't attended live webinars before and was afraid it would be awkward. But I needn't have worried, as you created a very welcoming and warm atmosphere.”
During this craft seminar for fiction writers, we will take a practical look at how to use our personal and creative obsessions to fuel our fiction and break through writer’s block on a daily basis.
I’ll be sharing with you my method of finding the power source behind your fiction: obsessions and themes. The next time you’re stuck on a project, you’ll know where to turn. You’ll have pages and pages of information that inspire you, and only you.
"I wanted to express how much I enjoyed this workshop. Your approach and tone was surprisingly warm for a Zoom workshop—it’s such a hard thing to pull off when you don’t necessarily get the immediate feedback on how certain points are landing, and I felt like you pulled it off beautifully, making us feel like we were in the room with you… It feels empowering, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have taken this workshop. I have a feeling it’s going to have an immense impact on my writing process going forward."
During this craft seminar, we will take a practical look at how to use index cards to brainstorm, write, and revise creative nonfiction
When used as writing tools, index cards can not only retain facts and ideas, but can also keep track of important bibliographic and structural information for an essay or book; once collected, cards can then be spread out to visualize the shape of a written project, see what is missing, and envision what needs to be added.
"I loooooooved that class at Lighthouse in Denver... wanted to tell you, the method helped me write an essay that ended up landing me a teaching fellowship at Colorado State University! So yes, by all means teach it!"
Love analogue planning, or wish to figure out how to start? Are you an ambitious person living with limitations, such as chronic illness, mental health challenges, or caretaking responsibilities? This elegant workbook will show you the methods I use to do my morning planning and journaling. & once you’ve received Productivity Journaling with Limitations: The Morning Ritual, you’ll also receive With Love & Squalor—monthly love letters from me about life, resilience, and making the most of our days.
"The [workbook] is amazing, and I genuinely mean that. I think writing down what I’ve done each day and accomplished will help with my mood massively. I also love the 1-3-6 thing; I had never heard of that before, but will definitely be following it from now on.”
In late November 2015, after a year of stress and illness, I decided to create a free resource called the Encouragement Notes. The Encouragement Notes would comprise encouraging emails, sent from Monday through Friday, every day in December—a month that’s often considered to be celebratory and exciting, but is also hugely stressful for many. The Encouragement Notes also came with a community known as Keep Going, You’re Doing Great, a private Facebook group of wonderful men, women, and gender non-conforming individuals who supported one another and built a sense of camaraderie in the dimmer months (even calling themselves Encouragers at one point). In total, over 300 people signed up for the inaugural version of the Encouragement Notes. The Notes and the group are now available to everyone—and still for free.
"The best part of the Encouragement Notes was that I knew that every morning, I had something to look forward to in my inbox. Mornings are very difficult for me health-wise these days, and it was incredible to be able to go to bed knowing I had a reason to get up the next day and keep going. I will sorely miss the solace I found everyday in these little notes, which I would always read a few minutes upon waking up, and reread throughout the day for a little extra boost. Thank you, Esmé, for this thoughtful initiative!"
A New York Times bestseller. Powerful, affecting essays on mental illness, winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize and a Whiting Award.
An intimate, moving book written with the immediacy and directness of one who still struggles with the effects of mental and chronic illness, The Collected Schizophrenias cuts right to the core. Schizophrenia is not a single unifying diagnosis, and Esmé Weijun Wang writes not just to her fellow members of the “collected schizophrenias” but to those who wish to understand it as well. Opening with the journey toward her diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder, Wang discusses the medical community’s own disagreement about labels and procedures for diagnosing those with mental illness, and then follows an arc that examines the manifestations of schizophrenia in her life. In essays that range from using fashion to present as high-functioning to the depths of a rare form of psychosis, and from the failures of the higher education system and the dangers of institutionalization to the complexity of compounding factors such as PTSD and Lyme disease, Wang’s analytical eye, honed as a former lab researcher at Stanford, allows her to balance research with personal narrative. An essay collection of undeniable power, The Collected Schizophrenias dispels misconceptions and provides insight into a condition long misunderstood.
“[The Collected Schizophrenias is] resoundingly intelligent, often unexpectedly funny, questioning, fearless and peerless, as Wang makes for brilliant company on 13 difficult walks through largely uncharted territory.”
An epic tale of one iconoclastic family’s inheritance of madness in Brooklyn, Taiwan, and Northern California.
In booming postwar Brooklyn, the Nowak Piano Company is an American success story. There is just one problem: the Nowak’s only son, David. A handsome kid and shy like his mother, David struggles with neuroses. If not for his only friend, Marianne, David’s life would be intolerable. When David inherits the piano company at just 18 and Marianne breaks things off, David sells the company and travels around the world. In Taiwan, his life changes when he meets the daughter of a local madame—beautiful, sharp-tongued Daisy. Returning to the United States, the couple (and newborn son) buy an isolated country house in Northern California’s Polk Valley. As David’s mental health deteriorates, he has a brief affair with Marianne, producing a daughter. When Marianne appears at their doorstep, the couple’s fateful decision to take the child as their own determines a tragic course of events for the entire family. Told from multiple perspectives, The Border of Paradise culminates in heartrending fashion, as the young heirs to the Nowak fortune must confront their past and the tragic reality of their future.
"The Border of Paradise is shaped by darkness and the kind of delicious story that makes for missed train stops and bedtimes, keeping a reader up late for just one more page of dynamic character-bouncing perspective… It is the author’s stunning introduction to the literary world."
Rawness of Remembering is a self-paced, multimedia course about restorative journaling through difficult times, built by someone who’s been in the trenches — and tested by students who experienced its power in a six-week class. Walk away with a journaling habit, a toolbox of photography and writing techniques designed for those working through mental illness, loss, and/or a variety of tough transitions, as well as connections through our ongoing private online community. Learn to see your journal as a powerful balm, especially when used in conjunction with therapy and other forms of care.
"Rawness of Remembering shifted, for me, learning how to love my journal, creating a daily space for introspective rather than ‘active body focused’ self-care, and realizing that writing down my insights and reflecting actually creates more change than trying to pull action points from experiences."
My Bookshop library is home to some of my most treasured and recommended reads.
These are the books that I turn to, find comfort in, and continue to enjoy. Within this collection, you’ll find books written by authors such as Toni Morrison, T Kira Madden, Ilya Kaminsky, and Leo Tolstoy (to name a few), and when you purchase through my Bookshop page, you are directly supporting independent bookstores, as well as myself. I also encourage sure you check back in from time to time, as it is inevitable that my collection of recommended reads will grow.