What’s Wrong With This Work? Turning Rejections into Publications

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021 @ 2:00 pm - 3:15 pm Eastern

Agents, editors, publishers and readers often accept or reject your work based on the first page. Learn how to make them read on.

Additional Information

Your book or essay feels ready…but it keeps getting rejected. What’s wrong? In this webinar, we’ll look at what your first pages or first paragraph MUST have to catch an agent, editor or publisher’s eye; how to decide if you’re at the level of the venues you want to publish in; and how to tailor an essay or humor piece for a better chance of acceptance.

We’ll explore key principles and consider published examples from work that was accepted at McSweeney’s, the New Yorker, Penguin Random House, Knopf, and by agents on the “first try.” Then, we’ll live-edit participant work to show how to establish voice, intention, purpose, and story from the very first sentence. You’ll learn a fast, easy way to see if your memoir is starting in the right place; the fundamental element every humor piece needs; and how parallel structure can get your guest essay accepted at an A-list media outlet.

In this webinar, you will:

  • LEARN the key elements of strong opening pages and how to express them in your own work.
  • DISCOVER a three-step process for analyzing whether a media venue or literary journal is a “good fit” for your own work.
  • UNDERSTAND how deliberately paralleling an existing structure can get your editorial or guest essay accepted.
  • SEE participant work live-edited to increase the chances of acceptance, and learn to apply those edits to your own work.

There will be time for a Q&A at the end of the presentation.

This webinar is ideal for writers of all levels who have submitted or are ready to submit work for publication.

All registrants receive a recording.

Course Presenter

Course Registration


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Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

Hear from our Students

Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

Read Success Stories


I enjoyed reading other peoples work and getting feedback about my own work– the handouts/video links and class lessons were also very informative and relevantly paced to the give structural guidelines.

Catherine O’Neill

Webinar FAQs

  • Will there be closed-captioning or a transcript of the webinar?

    We will provide closed-captioning upon request. Please contact us at least a week prior to the webinar to allow time for scheduling with a captioner.

  • Will I need to install any software?

    The webinar link will prompt you to download the GoTo Opener. For troubleshooting questions, please refer to GoTo Webinar’s support page: https://support.goto.com/webinar

  • What video conferencing program does CNF use for their webinars?

    We use GoTo Meeting. After you register for the webinar, you will receive an email with a link to the class.

  • Is there a preferred browser for viewing the webinar?

    Yes: Chrome tends to work best with the GoTo Webinar software.

  • I’d like to attend a webinar but have a conflict. Will the program be offered at another time?

    Our webinars are usually presented on Wednesday at 2:00 pm Eastern time. We rarely repeat webinars, but we do send out a recording of the program to everyone who registers, and you may watch the program at your conviencence.