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Want to Write a Nonfiction Book? Come Learn the Ropes!

Saturday, May 12, 10 am to 4 pm
$95 members/$110 others
  Berkeley
Student Testimonials

Have you always dreamed of writing a nonfiction book, but have no idea of how to go about it? In this class, you’ll learn what goes into writing a book, particularly figuring out the right idea. Maybe you’re a passionate rose gardener or pasta cook and want to show others how to do it as well as you do. Or maybe you’d like to write a memoir about your life as an ER nurse, firefighter, inventor or school janitor. Any topic is possible.

Once you’ve pinpointed your subject, Dianne Jacob will help you narrow and sharpen your idea. You’ll learn how to mold and shape a book concept, then distill it into what’s called the “hook,” where you describe your book effectively in one sentence. “A great hook answers what agents want to know:  ‘Why now?, ‘Why this book,’ and ‘Who cares?’” says Dianne. “You’d be surprised how long it takes to answer these questions. The value of the answers cannot be overstated.

“We’ll also cover what happens after you nail the idea. First you’ll need to decide whether to self-publish or go the traditional route. Self-publishing involves deciding whether the book is just for you and a few others, or whether you want to market the heck out of it for a larger audience. How much will you want to spend on it?  Will you use print-on-demand, conventional printing, or e-books? These are the kinds of questions we’ll discuss.

“The traditional route, on the other hand, involves writing a dynamite query letter and a book proposal that includes sample chapters. It also entails finding an agent and planning what your own role will be when it comes to marketing and PR.”

But in the end, says Dianne, most of what goes into writing nonfiction books is a lot of perspiration and determination. So come find out how to do whatever it takes to make your dream a reality.

Dianne Jacob is an editor who works with both beginning and established writers on books. She coaches clients on book proposals, helps them find agents or self-publish, and edits manuscripts. Her proposal for her own book, Will Write For Food, attracted interest from four New York publishing houses and offers from three. It was published in 2005 and in 2010 in a second edition and has won two international awards. She co-wrote a second book in 2008, Grilled Pizzas & Piadinas, with a chef. An editor and writer for more than 30 years, Dianne has been published in Salon.com and many magazines and newspapers, including Writer’s Digest and The San Francisco Chronicle.


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