Business of Books at Seattle Writing Class

Business of Books speaks at Seattle writing class
Jennifer Worick and Kerry Colburn of Business of Books speak at The Writer’s Workshop’s Seattle writing class

In my Seattle writing class, I teach the art and craft of writing as well as the publication process. As part of this, I bring in outside experts to talk about various aspects of writing as well as publication. The process of getting a book published always ranks high among the interests of my students. The process seems mysterious, powerful, and complicated, which it is, but if you have someone to guide you along its much more comprehensible. I help with some of this in my Seattle writing classes, but my latest guests provide a valuable service in packaging book proposals.

Jennifer Worick and Kerry Colburn, the dynamic duo behind The Business of Books (, are uniquely qualified to do this. Jen and Kerry have been “on both sides of the desk”— as both editors and authors. Kerry is the former executive editor of Chronicle Books and the author of a variety of titles, including How to Have Your Second Child First, Good Drinks for Bad Days, and Mama’s Big Book of Little Lifesavers. Jen, previously editorial director of Running Press, has co-authored or written more than 25 books, including her newest, Things I Want to Punch in the Face, and the New York Times best-selling Worst Case Scenario Handbook: Dating and Sex. During their publishing careers, they have reviewed many proposals and brought many successful books to market. They offer workshops, speak at conferences, and work with individual clients on book proposals.

“The benefit of self-publishing is that that you don’t have to pitch it and wait,” says Colburn. “But we’ve learned over the last few years, you still need a team of pros to make your book the best it could be. A lot of businesses have sprung up to help with that.

“With traditional publishing, you get a team, the expertise of the sales and foreign rights teams. Yes, they take a bigger piece of the pie, but it’s in their best interest to give your book a chance. :Your book will be assigned a marketing and publicity specialist and the publisher’s sales reps will take care of selling it to retailers all over the country. You’re part of this big machine.”

The downside is that you have to get your manuscript accepted by that company. I This is exactly where The Business of Books comes in.

“It’s like online dating,” says Worick. “Make your proposal specific.”

They’ll be teaching an intensive workshop on book proposals Saturday, May 14, 1–5 pm on Queen Anne hill in Seattle: