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Meet the Teaching Artist: Book Proposal 101 with Tawny Lara

by Writing Workshops Staff

4 weeks ago


Meet the Teaching Artist: Book Proposal 101 with Tawny Lara

by Writing Workshops Staff

4 weeks ago


We're excited to introduce you to Tawny Lara, author of Dry Humping: A Guide to Dating, Relating, and Hooking Up Without the Booze and The Sobriety Deck: Practical Practices for a Booze-Free Lifestyle, and co-host of the Recovery Rocks podcast.

Tawny brings incredible experience to her upcoming seminar, Book Proposal 101: Stop Dreading It and Start Writing It. Tawny's class aims to simplify the book proposal process, offering practical guidance tailored for both nonfiction writers and creators of nonfiction card decks.

Participants can expect to gain essential skills such as identifying comparative titles, crafting an effective author biography, and developing a structured chapter outline. Tawny's approachable method ensures attendees leave with a comprehensive understanding of the proposal process and the confidence to tackle it head-on.

Whether you're a seasoned writer seeking to refine your proposal skills or a newcomer eager to start your writing journey, Tawny's seminar provides a supportive environment to learn and grow. Join us as we embark on this journey to demystify the book proposal process and take the first steps towards writing your book.

Hi, Tawny. What made you want to teach this specific class? Is it something you are focusing on in your own writing practice? Have you noticed a need to focus on this element of craft? Or is this just your jam and you love it?

Most authors I know hated writing their book proposal. I'm a weirdo who actually loved it. I have a business degree and a passion for marketing so that's how I approach writing these proposals: a business and marketing plan for your book idea or card deck idea.

Give us a breakdown of how the course is going to go. What can the students expect? What is your favorite part about this class you've dreamed up?

Hearing authors share their publishing stories is often my favorite part of taking a writing class. I'm excited to share my publishing journey with students. I think it's important for future authors to have realistic expectations while remaining low-key optimistic. It's a delicate balance, but that's my goal in teaching this course.

What was your first literary crush?

Jim Morrison! I know he probably doesn't "count," but I spent so much of my youth analyzing his lyrics and poetry.

What are you currently reading?

Commute: An Illustrated Memoir of Female Shame by Erin Williams

How do you choose what you're working on? When do you know it is the next thing you want to write all the way to THE END?

I'm a journalist, so I'm passionate about finding the objective truth, especially with taboo topics like mental health and intimacy. I spent years researching the intersection of sobriety and sex/dating which resulted in my first book. I knew I had to write Dry Humping because it was the book I needed to read in my early sobriety.

Where do you find inspiration?

Song lyrics were my first source of inspo and they remain at the top of my list today. Songwriting (like poetry) inspires me because word efficiency is such a fascinating skill. As an essayist and journalist, I often struggle with distilling my thoughts into 500-1,000 words. But the average song is just 100-200 words. That just blows my mind.

What is the best piece of writing wisdom you've received that you can pass along to our readers? How did it impact your work? Why has this advice stuck with you?

"Let yourself write bad." Poet Ruth Danon gave me this brilliant advice when I took a creative writing summer intensive at NYU. That advice completely changed my approach to writing. It gave me permission to get words on the page and out of my head. To me, letting yourself write bad means word vomiting on the page (or screen!) without editing in your head first.

What is your favorite book to recommend on the craft of writing? Why this book?

How to Write About Music by Marc Woodworth and Ally-Jane Grossan. I began my writing career in music journalism. This book helped me understand the basic elements of writing a profile, interview principles, album reviews, and much more. I recommend this book to anyone interested in journalistic writing or research. I also recommend Courtney Maum's Before and After the Book Deal and Jane Friedman's The Business of Being a Writer.

Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?

I mean, I wrote a book called Dry Humping! I like to have fun while talking about serious stuff. Let's get weird.

Learn more about working with Tawny:

You can sign up for Tawny's Zoom seminar, Book Proposal 101: Stop Dreading It and Start Writing It, and sign up now if interested!

 

Tawny Lara is the author of Dry Humping: A Guide to Dating, Relating, and Hooking Up Without the Booze and The Sobriety Deck: Practical Practices for a Booze-Free Lifestyle, co-host of the Recovery Rocks podcast, and co-founder of the vinegar-based botanical beverage, (parentheses).

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