Novelists at Work: Crafting Your Pitch to Sell Your Story

July 26 - August 20, 2021


  • Online recordings released on July 26 and August 2 with lectures and writing prompts
  • Two live Zoom sessions on July 30 and August 6 to discuss recorded material, review exercises, and provide an open Q & A
  • Written feedback on the first 40 pages of your novel + a 20 minute 1:1 Zoom consultation




You’ve written the novel. You’re revising.

Or maybe you think it’s ready to go.

What comes next?


Work with literary agents Jennie Dunham and Gina Maccoby to understand how the publishing process works and where your book fits in the publishing ecosystem.

Then fine-tune your synopsis and pitch for submission to agents and publishers.

You’ll receive feedback on the first 40 pages of your novel and cover letter, in a 20-minute 1:1 consultation with either Jennie or Gina at the close of the course.

Note: You must have a completed novel to participate. You will be asked to submit the first 40 pages of your novel plus cover letter by July 16.


  • You have a completed first draft of your novel.
  • You’re a published or pre-published novelist.
  • You are looking for next steps in your publication journey.
  • You’re in need of support and guidance about submissions.


This course is best experienced if you can watch the recorded lessons within the week of their release, and complete the relevant assignments before the corresponding live sessions.

Please be prepared to discuss assignments during the live sessions.

Note: If your schedule does not allow you to attend the live sessions and you would still like to register, that’s OK! You’ll have access to the recordings. They’re usually posted the day after the session, and they’ll be available through September 30, 2021.

Pre-workshop needs:

  • Upon registration, please fill in the details about your work-in-progress, including a one-page synopsis of your work.
  • Prior to the first live session, please have your first novel draft completed to use with writing exercises.
  • You will have access to our virtual classroom where you can familiarize yourself with the course layout and introduce yourself to fellow novelists.
  • By July 16, 2021, you will submit the first 40 pages from your novel and your cover letter. (Details about submissions will be sent to you after registration.)

Post-workshop critique:

  • Between August 6 – August 20, individual consultations will be scheduled to review feedback on your submission. Consultations will take place via Zoom at mutually convenient times for reviewer and writer.


There will be deep-dive lectures each week, along with hands-on assignments to help you examine and identify strengths and weaknesses in your narrative. Finding the heart of your story and making sure the elements of your novel are all on solid footing is essential to crafting a compelling pitch. Time in our live sessions will be spent discussing the week’s lectures and sharing your written assignments. Additional hand-outs, resources, and open forum for questions will be included as well.

Monday, July 26
Pre-recorded content release, Part 1

  • Introduction
  • Essential Conversations and Responsible Representation module from the Highlights Foundation (videos, handouts, links)
  • Lecture 1: What you need to know about the publishing process and where you and your book fit
  • Exercise 1: Structure Writing Prompt (Reverse-engineer your narrative)
  • Additional handouts

Friday, July 30
Live Session: 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Eastern

  • Welcome from the Highlights Foundation
  • Introductions
  • Discussion of Lecture 1
  • Review of Exercise 1 (3-4 examples with feedback)

Monday, August 2
Pre-recorded content release, Part 2

  • Discussion with Jennie and Gina: What about COMPS?
  • Lecture 2: How to talk about your story
  • Exercise 2: Write your pitch
  • Additional handouts

Friday, August 6
Live Session: 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm Eastern

  • Brief check in and hello
  • Discussion of Lecture 2
  • Review of Exercise 2 (3-4 examples with feedback)
  • Open Q & A with Jennie and Gina
  • Closing

Between August 6 – 20, 2021
1:1s with Jennie or Gina to be scheduled individually to review feedback on your submission.

Throughout the Workshop

  • Participation in the chat and live sessions
  • Community forum to engage with peers and ask questions
  • Open Q & As


You want your book to find its readers. Industry professionals can help to make this dream come true. This program will help you get to the heart of your work and talk about it with industry professionals who can help you bring the book to readers.



Judy Blume’s Advice for Aspiring Writers
Find the Ending Before You Return to the Beginning
Is Your Novel Opening As Strong As It Can Be?
Visual Outlining


Jennie Dunham

Jennie Dunham has been a literary agent in New York, New York for 8 years before she founded Dunham Literary,…
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Gina Maccoby

Gina Maccoby is a New York literary agent representing authors of literary and commercial fiction and nonfiction for adults and…
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