Writing professor Susan Shapiro is a master in the art of the essay—both writing them and selling them to paying outlets. In her book, THE BYLINE BIBLE—Get Published in 5 Weeks, she teaches writers her secrets to not only writing killer essays and articles, but how to pitch them to editors.
Shapiro’s coaching in narrative technique, laser-focused pitching, and common-sense publishing practices have not only led her students to write and pitch essays and articles published by such luminary outlets as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, Esquire, Slate, and The Wall Street Journal, but have resulted in over 100 published books.
Peter Catapano, editor of the Opinions Section at The New York Times, states in THE BYLINE BIBLE’s foreward that “Sue’s classes—and by extension this book—are like journalistic and literary boot camp. They provide a set of rigorous practical steps that few new writers would ever dream up themselves. All the things I never learned but should have when I was starting out as a writer.” And as Catapano notes, THE BYLINE BIBLE is meant to produce writers who can create skillful copy on time and conduct their business professionally—“an editor’s dream.”
Early in her writing career and while teaching journalism at NYU, Shapiro was told the university’s program didn’t care about publication or payment. “They were not a trade school,” they said. Realizing she needed to fill the gap between what top educational institutions taught and how to engage in a profitable career that could pay the bills, she launched an alternative method of essay writing and pitching—Instant Gratification Takes Too Long. Her focus is on not only whether her students’ essays are good but whether they are publishable.
Shapiro also considers herself a “literary matchmaker,” almost psychic in how she can determine what essays should be pitched to which venues, with a resulting yes from editors. After spending 25 years teaching the writing class she wishes she could have taken, she wrote THE BYLINE BIBLE as a guide to her inside secrets in landing an impressive byline.
THE BYLINE BIBLE provides readers with enlightenment, enthusiasm, and energy, and gives us a step-by-step process to land paying bylines. After reading this book, I registered for Shapiro’s course and will soon start counting my five weeks.
Shapiro has authored thousands of essays and articles—most featured at well-known mainstream outlets—and 14 books. She teaches classes at The New School, NYU, Columbia University, and in private workshops & seminars. You can find out more about her, her work, and her classes at www.susanshapiro.net.