Nonfiction Book Writing

Draft your book and get it published

  • sections:
  • Discussions Tuesdays 9-10pm ET, 12 sessions full schedule

In this class, you will learn how to manage the tricky process of writing a nonfiction book from an instructor who has overseen the development of nonfiction titles of all kinds, including memoir, narrative journalism, self-help, social and political issue, business, and narrative nonfiction.

Find out where to start, how to stay motivated, how to write for a specific audience, and how to establish a powerful voice. You'll get guidance while receiving invaluable feedback on your writing. Class will be a combination of lectures and weekly manuscript workshops.

In this class, you will learn how to:

  • Research your topic efficiently and effectively
  • Create a dramatic structure that makes your book a page turner
  • Find and sustain the right voice
  • Distinguish your book in a crowded marketplace
  • Navigate the publishing industry

By the end of class, you will have:

A draft of your nonfiction book manuscript, an outline for completion, and an understanding of how to navigate the publication process.

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