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Meet the Teaching Artist: Art of the Query with Emma Brodie

by Writing Workshops Staff

A month ago

Meet the Teaching Artist: Art of the Query with Emma Brodie

by Writing Workshops Staff

A month ago

Introducing Emma Brodie: Mastering the Art of the Query with an Industry Insider

We're thrilled to welcome Emma Brodie, a distinguished writer, editor, and packager based in Martha's Vineyard, as the newest teaching artist at With a remarkable career spanning 15 years in the publishing world, Emma has acquired an impressive roster of authors, including the likes of Awkwafina, Anna Drezen, and Nathan W. Pyle.

Currently serving as an Executive Editor at Chronicle Books, Emma brings her wealth of experience and insider knowledge to her engaging seminar, Art of the Query.

This three-hour masterclass offers invaluable insights into the intricate world of query letters and the art of captivating publishing professionals. Emma's seminar delves deep into query craft, covering essential topics such as market positioning and the elements that make a pitch truly compelling. Through a series of group exercises, Emma will guide participants in shaping their own queries and perfecting their pitching skills.

By the end of the course, students will possess the confidence and skills necessary to craft a powerful query letter from scratch and navigate the industry with finesse.

Hi, Emma. Please introduce yourself to our audience.

I'm an author and editor who is obsessed with her dog and lives on Martha's Vineyard.

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?

I've been obsessed with query craft since my first job in publishing, sifting through the slush pile at a New York literary agency. It seemed like a huge injustice to me how many quality manuscripts got passed over because their authors didn't know how to query, and I've been passionate about the subject ever since.

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?

The Art of the Query starts with a brief get-to-know-you chat, which is one of my favorite parts of the course because I get to hear what people are working on, and every group of students forms a different mosaic of interests and categories. The bulk of the class is a lecture on query craft, with frequent stops for questions and discussion. We finish with an open forum for questions and trouble shooting.

What was your first literary crush?

Mr. Darcy/ Harry Potter/ Sydney Carton

What are you currently reading?

I'm in a very fun season: Emily Henry, Mikki Brammer, Ali Hazelwood

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?

Stephen King likens finding story to archeology, and I couldn't agree more. Often a tingle of excitement indicates that I've wandered near a fossil, and this is usually a reason to pause a while and explore a subject, a character, or a situation. Sometimes this exploration can lead to the discovery of a larger fossil, and from this point, I go by feel--if I can extract one full act, that usually means I can get a sense of the full piece. From there, it's a matter of commitment to the idea. I have written and discarded full-length projects because I don't feel strongly enough to do the substantial lift it would take to edit them into shape.

Where do you find inspiration?

Anywhere--overheard conversations, television, old magazines, a text from my best friend. We're constantly getting little pings from the universe--the amount of inspiration I feel is often directly proportionate to how quiet and receptive I am.

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?

Just do a little. This is a fundamental truth of the writing craft. It's very easy to get daunted for a variety of reasons, and often the best way to keep going is just to agree to work on something for ten minutes--motivation follows action, and one you start, suddenly you find you've been at it for half an hour, an hour, two hours.

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

This answer is constantly changing (I love craft books!), but the one I'm really into right now is Finding Water by Julia Cameron.

Bonus question: What’s your teaching vibe?

Info dump meets art therapy meets Taboo

Learn More About Working with Emma:

You can learn more about Emma's upcoming seminar, Art of the Query, and sign up now!

Don't miss this extraordinary opportunity to learn from one of the industry's brightest minds and elevate your chances of success in the publishing world.

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