AUTHORS LAB: The best way to get your book written, once and for all

You know that book you have inside you? Let a coach and a cohort help you get it on the outside.

What is Authors Lab?

Charlotte Lit’s Authors Lab program helps you to get that book out of your head and onto paper. Our model: Coaching + Classes + Community = Creative Success.

While a member of Authors Lab, you will:

  • Write your book, helped along by regular editorial support, and deadlines to keep you on track.
  • Belong to a cohort that will travel with you, providing you with support and getting your support in return.
  • Learn to be a better writer, in monthly training sessions, through individual coaching, and from each other.

Authors Lab is a customizable program that we fit to meet your specific needs.

  • It’s open-ended. New cohorts begin in January, and you stay in for as long as you need. When you join, you will meet with your coach to decide your target time frame, usually from 9 to 24 months.
  • It provides the right coaching at the right time. The type and amount of coaching you need depends on where you are when you enter the program, and how long you plan to stay. (Some examples are shown in the FAQs, below.)

At the end of your chosen time frame, if you follow the plan, you will have either a completed first draft, or, if you began with a completed first draft, a final draft that is ready for submission or self-publication.

Benefits: Why should you join Authors Lab?

Writing can be a solitary process, but Authors Lab is a community. During the year, you will make the writing journey alongside your cohort companions: learning together, writing together at scheduled write-ins, socializing and talking writing, and forming accountability and critique groups. You will also work closely with Charlotte Lit’s staff and with your assigned coach. During your time in the Lab, all the following will happen:

  • You will imagine and then clarify your book’s purpose and target audience, with the help of your coach and cohort.
  • You will create an outline of the book that is solid, achievable, and editorially-sound.
  • You will write, and you will have deadlines to meet. (And you will learn how to make time for your writing.)
  • You will have regular one-on-one editorial meetings with your book coach..
  • You will attend monthly writing workshops designed especially for Authors Lab writers, and have discounted access to all of Charlotte Lit’s workshops. (See below for a list of planned workshops.)
  • You will belong to a vibrant cohort community, which will include both informal and formal support. Formal support includes weekly writing socials, workshopping groups, and accountability partners.
  • By the end date you choose, if you follow the program and do the work, you will have a completed draft of your manuscript.

Learning Opportunities: Monthly Writing Workshops

Authors Lab includes monthly writing workshops created especially for you, progressing though the year as your needs progress. (Note: this list is subject to change, but not greatly.)

Click to see the workshop list
  • Jan: Planning Your Project
  • Feb: Scene Study
  • Mar: Creating Time to Write
  • Apr: The Art of Dialogue
  • May: Vision and Revision
  • Jun: The Shape of Stories
  • Jul: Show and Tell
  • Aug: Putting Poetry in Your Prose
  • Sep: Creating and Strengthening Characters
  • Oct: Finding Your Voice
  • Nov: Effective Use of Symbolic Language
  • Dec: How to Read Your Work

Authors Lab Faculty

We’re building a great lineup of coaches and teachers to work with you. Here’s who we can tell you about so far: Becca Worthington, Bryn Chancellor, Cathy Pickens, Irene Blair Honeycutt, Jeff Jackson, Jenny Hubbard, Jessica Jacobs, Jodi Helmer, Judy Goldman, Kathryn Schwille, Kim Wright, Kristin Sherman, Nickole Brown, Pat MacEnulty, Paul Reali, Paula Martinac, and Sarah Creech. You can read their bios here.

Your Investment

Your investment has two parts:

  • Your time and energy. You must be willing to do the work required, which for most book-length works means a minimum of four hours per week for writing alone (with more, of course, being better). Expect an additional 1-4 hours for participation in the cohort community, one half-day per month to attend a writing workshop, and three hours per quarter for your editorial meeting. In addition, there will be regular opportunities for cohort social and writing events.
  • Program fees. The base fee, which includes classes, community, and the first level of coaching (approximately two hours per month), is $150 per month, usually from 9 to 24 months. Most Lab participants will have a secondary, in-depth coaching relationship, with fees ranging widely (see the FAQs for examples.) After your primary work is complete, you’ll be a part of an Authors Lab alumni group as part of your regular Charlotte Lit membership, which begins at $75/year.

Authors Lab FAQs (Note: 2018 FAQ’s in progress)

Click here to read the FAQs…

How do I know if I’m right for this program? Do you want to write a book, but don’t know where to start? Have you tried to write a book, and stalled? Do you want the support, encouragement, and accountability from other writers? Do you want to get it done, once and for all? Any of these are reasons to join the program.

Don’t most writers do this on their own? Many do, but that doesn’t mean that you have to. Writing a book is a difficult, nuanced, complex process. It can be immensely helpful to have professional guidance and peer support. And, our expectation is that you will write a far better book this way.

What if I’ve written and published books in the past? Authors Lab is designed to meet you where you are, taking advantage of your experience. What’s different about writing a book while in the Lab is that you’re not isolated, not going it alone. You will have teachers, coaches, and a cohort of writers to guide and support you. And, your prior experience will be very valuable to you and to the others in your cohort.

If I want in, am I’m automatically in? Spaces are limited, so there is an application process. We will evaluate your book idea and writing samples, and look for a fit with other members of the Authors Lab cohort and our coaching team.

What if I don’t live in Charlotte? Authors Lab is structured to accommodate those who have to travel a bit to get here. The monthly workshops are on Saturday, and there will be an online component so that you’ll still be connected to the cohort.

What if I can’t attend some of the workshops? Because conflicts are inevitable, our expectation is for each participant to attend at least eight of the 12 weekend workshops. Workshop materials will be available to cohort members who cannot a session in person.

Who is running the program? What are your credentials? Paul Reali, co-founder of Charlotte Lit, will be program lead and coordinator. In addition to his work here, Paul is the managing editor of ICSC Press, the imprint of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at SUNY Buffalo State, which publishes books and journals with a creativity focus. At ICSC Press, Paul runs a distance version of the Authors Lab program, which currently has eight authors working on their first books. Paul has a B.A. in Journalism and an M.S. in Creativity, both from Buffalo State. He has written and edited professionally for more than 25 years, with four books and dozens of magazine articles to his credit. Among other works, Paul is the co-author of Creativity Rising, and the co-editor of two editions of the annual Big Questions in Creativity collection (2013 and 2016).

Who are the writing coaches and mentors? The coaching team will be selected based on the needs of the Authors Lab writers. You will be matched with a writer who has extensive experience in your genre or format.

What if I have more questions? Contact Paul Reali at paul@charlottelit.org.

How to Apply

The application process allows us to assess whether the program is a good fit for you, and to help us manage the cohort size. During the application process, we will learn more about you and the book you want to write. In addition to the application form, we’ll also ask you to provide a writing sample and to attend an information session. To begin the application process, click here.

Thank you for your interest in Authors Lab. Questions? Email Paul Reali at paul@charlottelit.org.