Authors Lab Application Help

Applications are open June 1 to August 1. This page helps you prepare for filling out the Authors Lab application. This is a fairly lengthy process that includes two document uploads; please review this page before starting. When you’re ready, you’ll find the applications here:

Application, Part 1 (questions about you and your book project)
Application, Part 2 (writing sample and book outline, plus $20 application reading fee)

Tip: Each part must be completed in one go; you can’t save your progress and return. If you’d like to pre-write your answers then copy and paste, refer to the questions below.

[Return to the program details page]


COME TO AN ONLINE INFO SESSION! One hour, led by Authors Lab program leads, covering everything you need to know. Find a session and register here. Note: You can apply any time, but attending an info session is REQUIRED for application review.


Part 1 Application Questions

You’ll need to complete Part 1 in one sitting; you can’t save your work and come back to it. To help you prepare, here are the questions for Part 1:

  1. Your name
  2. Your email address
  3. Your mobile phone number
  4. Your postal address
  5. Next, we have questions about the book you plan to write, and which brings you to Authors Lab. Is it a novel or memoir, or something else?
  6. How much work have you done on the book so far? (For example, “I just came up with the idea yesterday,” “I have six false starts and 20,000 words,” “I’m at 75,000 words and stuck,” “I have completed a first draft.”)
  7. Why do you want to tell THIS story? (That is, what is your inner motivation for telling this story? Why are you called to write this?)
  8. Who is the audience for this book? (For example, “My kids and grandkids,” “People who read cozy mysteries,” “Beach book readers.”)
  9. What book serves as inspiration or model for yours?
    That is, what “comparable title” (in industry speak) is most like the book you want to write? (This needs to be a book you’ve read, as you’ll see in the next question.)
  10. Tell us how that book is important to you and in what ways it’s like yours.
  11. Have you completed a book before? If so, what was it and what became of it?
  12. Describe your writing experience. (You might include education, publications, contests, blogging – anything to give us a sense of your writing history.)
  13. What are your strengths as a writer and what skills would like to develop?
  14. What do you hope to gain from the Authors Lab experience?
  15. What is your plan for the finished book? (Possible answers include: to self-publish, to seek a traditional publisher, to print copies and staple them together, to figure that out when I get there, etc.)
  16. Is there anything else you would like us to know about you or your story?
  17. What questions or concerns do you have?
  18. In our experience, you will need to commit 7-10 hours each week to participate fully in the Authors Lab program. This almost certainly means giving up or cutting back on something you’re doing now. Are you able to commit to making that change?

Part 2 Application Uploads

The application requires two uploads. Here’s some guidance.

1: Please upload your book’s summary. A summary is a written narrative that tells as much of the story as you know so far, from 500-1500 words. You could write this as if you were telling a friend about the story, or you can choose a more formal synopsis format. Technical specs: .doc, .docx, or .pdf format; Times Roman 12 point; double-spaced; 1-inch margins; pages numbered; your name and the working title on the first page.

2: Please upload one draft scene or chapter from your book (generally 750-1500 words). To serve as a writing sample, upload one complete scene or chapter from the proposed book. The best choice would be a scene that contains live action and conflict; that is, not a scene that is all exposition. (If you haven’t started writing, this is a good time to begin. Alternately, you can upload a polished work of creative writing in the same category as your proposed Authors Lab book: fiction or memoir.) Please do not upload an unedited first draft; you should take several editing passes so that you can put your best work forward. Technical specs: .doc, .docx, or .pdf format; Times Roman 12 point; double-spaced; 1-inch margins; pages numbered; your name and the working title on the first page.

Application Fee

Charlotte Lit collects a $20 application fee to offset the cost of reading and evaluating applications and writing samples.


COME TO AN ONLINE INFO SESSION! One hour, led by Authors Lab program leads, covering everything you need to know. Find a session and register here. Note: You can apply any time, but attending an info session is REQUIRED for application review.