Success Stories

In recent years, many Business of Books alums have landed book deals, agents, and/or published books on the shelves. We are proud to have been a part of their process, and honored that they credit us with helping them realize their longtime dreams. Let them inspire you to turn that idea into a winning proposal!

Victor Rodriguez, who took our proposal-writing class at the University of Washington, shared this with us: “I just wanted you both to know; since I took your class, my short fiction has been accepted by three different publishers! I owe that success to you and the art of the well-crafted proposal. Thank you! What you taught us works like a charm.” It’s tough to place short fiction, and we are thrilled for Victor’s success.

Anne McTiernan’s memoir Starved was published by Central Recovery Press to terrific reviews. Author Claire Dederer says, “Starved is an absorbing, and sometimes shattering, primer on abuse and resilience. Anne McTiernan mines her past to bring up the painful, real details that make this memoir sing—even as it breaks our hearts.”

Geraldine DeRuiter, otherwise known as The Everywhereist, published her memoir All Over the Place in May 2017. You can read more about Geraldine’s path to publication here on our blog.

Mike Curato, a Seattle-based illustrator and winner of the 2012 SCBWI portfolio award, signed a three-book deal in August with Henry Holt for a picture book series starring Elly the elephant. A former attendee at our proposal workshops, Mike sold his series at auction after several offers from major houses. The first book debuts in fall 2014.

John Clifford came to us for a 2-on-1 proposal review in the spring, and by summer he had sold his book–an anthology of contemporary graphic designers and their influence on the world of design–to Peachpit Press/New Directions. He says of our services, “You really made the proposal much stronger and more engaging, and helped to make the book itself better. I truly appreciate your input.”

Todd Rendleman is a SPU film studies professor who was our first attendee to get a book contract. His nonfiction book on Roger Ebert and his influence on film, Rule of Thumb: Ebert at the Movies, debuted in Spring 2012. Here’s his testimonial on The Business of Books: “Jen and Kerry are invaluable resources. Their publishing workshops feel more like late-night conversations with trustworthy friends who are rooting for your success. Their detailed feedback, packed with wisdom and wit, will demystify the publishing process. It certainly did for me.”

Ellen Bremen was initially rejected by agents, and on our advice began a blog. Soon she sought out and signed with a lecture agent for the college market, landed a literary agent, and has now realized a lifelong dream—a published book called Say This, Not That to Your Professor: 36 Talking Tips for College Success. Of our workshop, she said, “I walked in sad over my first agent rejection, but left inspired, encouraged, and educated regarding how to move my query to full proposal. Jen & Kerry are personable, warm, and offer a comprehensive, step-by-step approach to the seemingly behemoth world of publishing and getting started.”

Elizabeth Guizzetti took our proposal series and alerted us that her first science fiction novel is under contract to be published. Here’s what she had to say about The Business of Books: “Since I write fiction, I sent mostly queries to publishers and agents, but by having my proposal ready–specifically the part about marketing/promotion–I was ready to go when I got my first ‘Send me the full manuscript.’ I can honestly say that helped sell the book just as much as the story and since I had a plan, it keeps me on task now as I am trying to promote the novel.”

And a few testimonials…

“I just wanted you both to know; since I took your class, my short fiction has been accepted by three different publishers! I owe that success to you and the art of the well-crafted proposal. Thank you! What you taught us works like a charm.” -Victor

“‘Crafting a Winning Proposal’ is a great starting place in the quest to write a book. With lots of ideas, thoughts, concepts, and questions running around my brain, this session has helped me to envision a roadmap and plan to actually get going on my book!” —Cliff

“Thanks for presenting Publishing in English. For the longest time, I thought you needed to learn a special brand of industry-Greek to understand how it all works.” —Mike

“Kerry and Jennifer demystify book publishing with their humor and relevant knowledge. Their combined experience makes their classes and the info provided priceless.” —Ali

“Practical, personable, and to the point. Best of all, tips on what to do. Bestest of all, tips on what not to do.” —Jay

“This is a friendly way to learn about an industry that can be very intimidating. The information is presented in a way that can easily be absorbed by the layman.” —Tino

“Kerry & Jen provide transparency into the world of publishing through both an enlightening and informative lens. I learned a lot!” —Patricia


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