How to Publish Your Personal Stories

  • Three Thursdays: March 8, 15, 22. Noon to 2 p.m.
  • Lilly Dancyger
  • Three weeks, $150

Do you write memoir, personal essays, blog posts, or other non-fiction stories about your life? Would you like to learn how and where to package, publish and get paid for your stories, including in and beyond the list of usual suspects? If so, this mini-workshop is for you!

Led by an assigning editor and prolific freelance writer, this three-session workshop serves any writer of personal narratives who’s ready to send out their work. Publishing can be a vast and opaque world, but this workshop will demystify the process as much as possible, leaving participants with clear and executable plans to publication.

We’ll unravel the differences between literary magazines, glossy mainstream magazines, and online outlets, as well as the different procedures and etiquettes for submitting to each. We’ll talk about how to find new places to submit your work, how to tailor your pitch to that specific publication, when it’s better to send a pitch vs. a completed piece, how to build your own niche in a corner of the market that best suits your writing voice and interests, and much more. We will help you get the most value possible out of your published pieces – in terms of negotiating higher pay as well as situating your work in prestigious publications that will open more publishing doors for you down the road.

In addition to the why’s and how’s of submitting finished personal pieces, we’ll explore how to mine your longer work-in-progress for excerpts and essays, helping you build the ever-elusive “author platform,” if that’s your goal.

By the end of three sessions, participants will have a list of goal publications, and clear and executable plans to package, publish, and get paid for their stories in a wide variety of outlets, as well as a workshopped and fine-tuned “elevator pitch” to use in emails to editors.

Instructor Lilly Dancyger is the deputy editor of Narratively, where she oversees the memoir section. She is at work on her first memoir. Lilly’s personal essays have appeared in Psychology TodayThe Washington PostThe Guardian, the Jewish Daily Forward, Ravishly, Narratively, and more. She teaches memoir and personal-essay writing at Gotham Writers’ Workshop and Catapult, in addition to the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio. Her students have published work in publications including Rolling Stone and Longreads. Learn more about her at Follow her on Twitter here.

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