Getting Your First Essays Published: How to Crack the Code and See Work in Print
March 9, 2024
Getting your first essays published can feel like the ultimate catch-22: editors want samples of
published work before commissioning your writing, but how do you obtain your first samples?
For many aspiring writers, navigating the publishing landscape can be as big of a hurdle a
getting great ideas on the page. It can be especially difficult for those of us living in Berlin, far
away from Anglophone publishing networks.
This one-day workshop will drill down into the mechanics of getting non-fiction essays
into print. How do you take a subject you’re passionate about — politics, books, music, culture,
cities — and turn it into something editors want to publish? How do you craft the perfect pitch?
How do you reach out to editors?
Participants will bring their sock-drawer ideas and develop strategies for getting them in print.
We’ll analyze early-career resumes of successful writers and look at numerous examples of
effective cold pitches. We’ll go in-depth into the art of “pegging” an essay concept to a current-
events topic. We’ll discuss finding editors’ emails and identifying the best publications for your
writing. After a break, we’ll workshop transforming essay ideas into the perfect pitch.
This class is ideal for writers with big ideas and little publishing experience, as well as more
established writers who want to rethink their approach to the pitching process or break into
new genres. Writers of personal essays and memoir are more than welcome, but the focus will
be on subject essays and non-fiction.
Rob Madole spent his twenties in Berlin wanting to be a writer but uncertain how to get his
ideas in print. In his thirties, he’s written for outlets such as the New York Times Magazine,
Texas Monthly, The Baffler, The Point Magazine, The Los Angeles Review of Books, Spike Art
Magazine, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. He’s a former editor of the Berlin-based architecture
journal ARCH+ and has translated a variety of art and architecture publications. In 2023, he
received the “Berlin Senate Grant for Non-German Authors” for a novel-in-progress.