Nonfiction Book Writing: Master Class

Polish your sample chapters or manuscript for publication

  • sections:
  • Discussions Tuesdays 9-10pm ET, 8 sessions full schedule

You've taken your nonfiction book manuscript or sample chapters as far as you can, but there's another level to reach before securing a book deal. This workshop is for writers who are seeking to do the serious revision that can bring a good idea to its fullest realization.

In this intensive workshop -- limited to 12 students -- hone your story arc, character development, setting, voice, point of view, level of diction, and every element of your manuscript. Each week you will receive detailed feedback from the instructor and your classmates as you work toward polishing your sample chapters or manuscript for submission to agents and book publishers. You'll learn how to navigate the publishing world to be in the best position to get published.

By the end of class, you will have:

Up to 80 polished pages of your nonfiction book and next steps for submitting it to literary agents.

This class is purely workshop-based and does not contain written lectures.

Admission requirements

This class is for students working toward a polished manuscript. Apply with a note to explain your interest in this topic and goals for the course. Please include a two-page writing sample.

Leslie T. Sharpe is the author of Editing Fact and Fiction: A Concise Guide to Book Editing, which has been regarded as a "modern editing classic" and the industry standard. Leslie started her editing career at Farrar, Straus & Giroux and has been a senior editor, managing editor, and editorial consultant in book publishing, specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction. She was a regular contributor to Newsday's "Urban 'I'" column, and her essays and articles have also appeared in The New York Times, Village Voice, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, International Herald Tribune, Christian Science Monitor, Psychology Today, and Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine. She teaches nonfiction writing at Columbia University.

  • "Leslie is the writing teacher you've always dreamed about -- smart, supportive, and supremely helpful. She's better than any writing coach I've ever used!"

    Jeremy Hunter

  • "I thoroughly enjoyed the wealth of knowledge Leslie shared with us. This class is by far the best I have ever taken."

    Sarah Francis

  • "Leslie is a fantastic teacher, editor, and writer. I was amazed at her passion and knowledge and the personal effort she put into each student."

    Kevin Begos

  • "Leslie's class has been a tremendous help in providing a road map for putting together a proposal. Her experience and feedback have been invaluable in helping me polish my writing."

    Irene Thompson

  • "Learning how to complete a book with Leslie is like learning how to host a talk show with Oprah. She is phenomenal. You'd be lucky to experience just how insanely good Leslie is at her craft."

    China Okasi

  • "Leslie gave me the tools and encouragement to organize my project to complete a book proposal. She was both a no-nonsense instructor and a gentle and encouraging mentor. Her best asset was her tremendous editing talent! I wholeheartedly recommend this class to any writer working on a nonfiction book proposal."

    Chris Blackwood

  • "Leslie was one of the best instructors I've had. She was always accessible. While always kind and encouraging, she also pointed out problems when necessary. Her feedback was invaluable, and if I'm fortunate enough to obtain an agent for my book, I have no doubt that it will be in large part due to Leslie's guidance in the writing and structuring of my proposal."

    Natalie Reeves