You're serious about the craft of fiction.

It's time to get serious about the business of publishing.

Count me in!

You could spend $40K on an MFA and still have no idea what agents and editors are really looking for in a submission—or even how to find the right pros to query.

You could spend a lot of time on the internet trying to make sense of contradictory advice without getting much farther.

Or you could work with a professional editor and coach (that’s me!) in developing those query materials, and learn how to find the people who are looking for exactly what it is you write.

If you’ve put in your 10,000 hours on the craft of fiction but have not yet broken through with your first published novel, it’s time to stop spinning your wheels.

In this course, you will learn:

  • How to read your work the way agents and editors will—before you submit
  • How to create powerhouse opening pages that will leave agents and editors with no choice but to read on
  • What it really takes to craft a strong query letter
  • How to write a synopsis without losing your mind!

The goal of this class is simple: to help you beat the odds with publishing and establish a career as an author.

You’ll leave with a complete, professionally edited submissions package (query, synopsis, and opening 10 pages), as well as a submissions strategy designed to help you break through with your first published book.

Register Now

Frequently Asked Questions

Covered in this course

Section One: How Editors (and Agents) Read

The way you read your work is not the way editors and agents do, and learning to see your work the way they'll see it is half the battle.

In this section of our course, I’ll show you how to avoid the most common mistakes writers make with their opening pages, as well as:

  • The two things that MUST happen on the first page of your novel
  • What editors are really talking about when they talk about “presence on the page”
  • How to create a connection between your reader and your POV character, right out of the gate
  • The number one thing that gets readers hooked and turning the pages—and how to use this to create a sense of strong pacing in your opening
Section Two: Selling It

Query letters and synopses can be maddeningly hard to write—but they’re a lot easier if you understand what agents and editors are actually looking for when they read them.

In Section Two of our course, you’ll learn:

  • What to include in your synopsis and query, and what to leave out
  • Where specifics really matter (and where they really don’t)
  • The differences between fictional prose and sales copy (hint: your query is sales copy)
  • The number one thing agents and editors must see in your query and synopsis
Section Three: Increase Your Odds

It’s no secret that traditional publishing is more competitive than ever. The good news is, taking the time to do your research up front can dramatically increase your chances of being offered agent representation or a book deal.

In this section of our course, I’ll share:

  • Strategies for researching (and vetting) agents and editors
  • How to keep abreast of trends and current desires in the industry (without making it a full-time job)
  • Databases and directories to bookmark (these are not all created equal!)
  • How to create a targeted list of dream agents/presses
  • How to use social media to stay on top of fast-action opportunities and cultivate personal connections with publishing pros
Section four: The Emerging Author

In this final section of Final Draft, I’ll share case studies of revisions that led to the publication of an author’s first book, as well as some research, goal-setting, and visioning tools to establish:

  • Your long game as an author
  • Where your work fits into the market, and how to capitalize on this
  • How to use contests and awards to build your author platform
  • How to leverage the power of conferences, seminars, residencies, and other “in-person” writers’ events

Praise for Final Draft

"I took this class with Susan DeFreitas two years ago, and it REVOLUTIONIZED my novel. I've now published the first chapter as a short story and landed an agent. Susan ROCKS."

—Emily Wortman-Wunder, represented by Kiele Raymond of the Thompson Literary Agency

“This entire course is extremely helpful, and your recommendations are spot-on. My gut was already telling me where the trouble areas were, but until now, I didn't have a framework to guide me in revising. Extremely valuable!”

—TK Greenleaf

"This class has been such an eye-opener. I've always wondered what made one story stand out from another from the get-go. I get it now.  Priceless.”

—Hugh Dufour


Praise for Other Courses

~Anatomy of the Novel~

"This course is just tremendous!  When I started this story, I had a character voice, some thematic ideas, and some snippets of scenes.  Now I have a clear path for a novel. I’m over the moon!"

—E. Carruthers

"Your course has helped me understand the rules of long-form fiction in a much deeper way. Your knowledge of the writing process—and your passion for sharing it—are exceptional."

—A. Kenyon

"Can your story hold a reader’s attention for 300 pages? Even if you’re a terrific writer with a fabulous idea, probably not. What Susan has developed is as close as I’ve seen to the holy grail of a process for making that happen."

—P. Kealey

~Being Scene~

"This class is a revolution."

—A. Burns

"Sincerely, this has been the single best investment I’ve made in a craft class."

—C. Wilcox

"Thank you so much for how clearly you outline everything in these emails and on Teachable. Having the written material (and in a format that can be printed) as well as video and live lecture is super helpful. I’m finding the way you’ve organized all of the material very accessible for someone who normally struggles with the online format."

—M. Clifton

~Voice and Vision~

"Thank you so much for this class. It has been galvanizing for me, in many ways. I feel as though you've given me a map for revision. And I don't feel so overwhelmed—or solo—anymore."

—L. Porter

"Thank you so much for this, Susan. I've learned so, so much from this course."

- K. Saxby

“This was a great class! I look forward to using what I've learned in future writing.”

- A. Eberly

About Your Instructor

An American of Indo-Guyanese descent, Susan DeFreitas is the author of the novel Hot Season, which won a Gold IPPY Award, and the editor of Dispatches from Anarres: Tales in Tribute to Ursula K. Le Guin, a finalist for the Foreword INDIES. Her work has been featured in the Writer’s Chronicle, LitHub, Story, Daily Science Fiction, Portland Monthly, and High Desert Journal, among other journals and anthologies. An independent editor and book coach, she specializes in helping writers from historically marginalized backgrounds, and those writing socially engaged fiction, break through into publishing. She divides her time between Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Portland, Oregon.

"Thank you so much for Final Draft. Everything you shared with us was so useful, and I'm already returning to your lecture notes to help hone my pitch.”