How Should a Writer Be?

A Workshop for Emerging Writers: October 22 - November 2

Trust us, we know. Writing isn’t easy, and becoming an author might be even tougher. We want to share what we’ve learned as a publisher who has worked with a lot of emerging writers. While we can’t publish all the incredibly talented writers we meet, we wanted to come up with other ways to support them. This course is the result.


“How Should A Writer Be?” is a 2-week online workshop led by Unnamed editors and co-founders Chris and Olivia. Comprised of video seminars and live workshop chats, it will begin Monday October 22nd and end Friday November 2nd. It will be focused on bringing together a diverse group of talented writers, and encouraging them to forge relationships beyond the course.

The Course Includes:

  • A BS free breakdown of the literary publishing industry, and how to navigate it;
  • Tips for mapping (and honoring) your own path as a writer;
  • Strategies for creating literary community and making connections;
  • Query workshop and feedback;
  • First chapter workshop and feedback;
  • An ongoing chat for all participants to connect;
  • Insights from guest agents and book editors;
  • The lowdown on Bookscan, and a lot more...

Who Should Apply:

Have you worked really hard on your book and are finally ready to part with it? Have you heard a lot of conflicting information about the publishing industry? Do you believe in your writing but maybe not so much in how to go about being a writer? If you said yes to any of the above, and have completed a novel or book-length nonfiction narrative, then this course is for you.

We’re selecting a small group of emerging writers from all over the country to participate. The course fee is $425 and will cover financial assistance for at least two applicants.

How to Apply:

  • Send a one-page description of your book, as well as the first twenty manuscript pages in a single PDF document to info (at) Please include the course title in your subject line.
  • In the body of the email, tell us a bit about yourself, and what you would contribute to a workshop that brings together writers from all around the country.
  • If you would like financial assistance, please let us know and we can discuss further.
  • We will be making our final selections by September 7th. If you are selected, we will notify you immediately with further information.

What Our Authors are Saying:

“I felt closely connected to my editor as the final version of my book took shape; Olivia definitely had a sense of the big picture – and helped me see it. Unnamed Press led me through the publishing process with expertise, encouragement, and a spirit of collaboration. They had an informed plan for my book and were also open to any ideas that I had.” — Rebecca Entel

“The Show House was missing something but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was, but then Unnamed Press suggested adding a new character to balance some of the darker elements. It was like a lightbulb going on above my head. I instantly knew exactly what I had to do to pull everything together. And over the next several months as I worked to integrate the new character into the manuscript, Olivia and team were always there to encourage me. I’d published one small book of short stories before The Show House, but I had very little idea of what launching a novel entailed. Olivia and team provided a helpful timeline for the various steps and shepherd me through the process. Once the book was out they continued supporting it by helping me secure readings and appearances. Without Unnamed Press, The Show House would’ve never found its audience.” — Dan Lopez

“The editors at Unnamed are exceptional readers who appreciated the beauty of my novel and provided provocative notes to push me to dream into its beauty even further. Their great care made my novel better. The team at Unnamed was an enthusiastic partner in publishing. They engaging me at all levels—from cover design to preferred events to securing effective publicity for my novel. I felt cared for and respected as an author at every step.” — Stephanie Ash

“The advice of the editor who will also be your publisher is invaluable. Olivia Smith and Unnamed Press came into the life of Mother of All Pigs when I didn’t really believe the novel would ever be published. After reading a draft of it in 2015, Olivia Smith’s belief in the story was unwavering. More importantly, her comments and editing showed to me how not to dilute the space around the story. She was also open to discussion and an argument that made sense about a character could change her mind. Through Olivia and Unnamed’s involvement I became more confident. On the tour for Mother of All Pigs, people of all ages asked me questions about the process of writing fiction and publishing. There is a lot of advice about writing available in publish yourself books and on the Internet but nothing takes the place of personal and professional involvement. And when the advice rings true, it can be seen and heard on the page but it can also linger in the mind and soul.” — Malu Halasa

About Chris and Olivia:

Chris Heiser and Olivia Taylor Smith began the Unnamed Press in 2014 in order to bring exciting and diverse new voices from around the world to readers in the US. With an emphasis on editorial development and engaged publicity campaigns, Unnamed Press books have earned Starred Reviews from Kirkus and Library Journal, and been featured and reviewed in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, SF Chronicle, NPR, BuzzFeed, VICE, The Financial Times, The Nation, and many other places. The Unnamed Press has published over 50 titles.