The Business of Writing

People ask how I got started in the writing business all the time and here’s my answer, “I took a class.”  Yep, ten years ago, I signed up for a continuing education class on writing for magazines and that’s where I learned what I needed to know about the business.  It’s also where I made invaluable connections that I still have today (except today, those connections are called friends!).  Jodi Helmer is a talented Charlotte-based writer and she’s offering some classes this fall that you might want to check out.  Here are the details: 

Writing for Magazines: 

If you want to see your name in print but don’t know where to start, this workshop is for you. In this six-week class, you’ll learn how to develop ideas for articles, the best way to break in to a publication, the basics of working with an editor and how to sell yourself as a writer. In class exercises will have you on the way to seeing your name in print. Students from past classes have had their work published in Natural Health, Parents, Portland Tribune, Natural Home and Chicken Soup anthologies. Cost: $110

Dates: September 14 to October 19 from 10 a.m. – noon

Location: The Warehouse Performing Arts Center in Cornelius (9216-A Westmoreland Rd., between I-77 exits 25 and 28).   

Achieve Your Creative Dreams: If you want to take your love of jewelry-making, pottery, painting or fabric art to the next level, this class is for you. No matter where your creative passions lie, this class will show you how to start turning your passion into a profit. Learn the basics of launching a creative business, including setting prices finding customers, selling your work in galleries and getting the attention of the media. At the end of the 5-week class, students will host an art show to sell their work to the public. Cost: $175

Dates: September 14 to October 12 from 7 – 9:30 p.m. (The art show will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on October 19).

Location: The Warehouse Performing Arts Center in Cornelius (9216-A Westmoreland Rd., between I-77 exits 25 and 28).    

Get Published: Writing & Selling Your First Book

You’ve dreamed of writing a book but have no idea how to turn an idea into a published book that’ll be on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. This workshop will help turn those dreams into a publishing contract. Spend a day unlocking the secrets of book publishing with veteran author Jodi Helmer.

You’ll learn to: 

* Tailor a book idea so it’s irresistible to editors and publishers

* Hook an editor with a well-written book proposal

* Create a platform that has agents and editors approaching you

* Determine whether to work with an agent (and how to find one)

* How to negotiate a great advance

* Examine the pros and cons of self-publishing

The workshop will provide detailed information on how to craft a winning book proposal from the writing the overview and analyzing the competition to selling yourself as the author. Through writing exercises and personalized feedback on your idea, the workshop will provide you with the tools to pursue a publishing contract.

The workshop is open to those who are dreaming about a writing a book and want some information to get started as well as those who have written chapters and aren’t sure what to do next. Please bring a journal and pen (or laptop) to class.

Get Published: Writing and Selling Your First Book will be held at Starette Farm, a tranquil retreat center and homestead in Statesville, North Carolina, just a few minutes from I-77 and I-40. Your registration fee will include a light breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks.

Saturday, October 9

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The registration fee is $150 before September 15. Registration goes up to $175 after September 16. Space is limited to 20 participants. E-mail for more information or to reserve a spot.

About the instructor: Jodi Helmer is a freelance writer, author, speaker and teacher. Her work has appeared in Women’s Health, Shape, Family Circle, Backpacker and American Way and she has published three books, including The Green Year: 365 Small Things You Can Do to Make a Big Difference. She has taught writing workshops at Central Piedmont Community College, The Center for Excellence in Writing at Portland State University, Portland Community College and Sensoria Arts & Literary Festival. Students who have taken her classes have been published in regional and national magazines and books, including Natural Health, EatingWell, Natural Home and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Learn more at


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