Susan Shapiro

Susan Shapiro, an award-winning writing professor, freelances for the NY Times, NY Magazine, WSJ, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Elle & She's the bestselling author/coauthor of 12 books her family hates including Five Men Who Broke My Heart, Lighting Up, Unhooked, The Bosnia List & the new inspiring writing guide The Byline Bible. She and her husband, a scriptwriter, live in Greenwich Village, where she teaches her popular "instant gratification takes too long" classes at The New School, NYU and in private workshops & seminars. Follow her on Twitter at @susanshapironet, Instagram at @Profsue123 or email

THE BYLINE BIBLE coming out summer 2018

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“A brilliant, witty, and inspiring guide”
The Rumpus

Publishers Weekly review
The TUE/DO List
18 Ways To Write Funnier Faster excerpt
The Rumpus: Blood from a Door Nail

Shapiro, Susan.
The Byline Bible: Get Published in Five Weeks.
Writer’s Digest. Aug. 2018. 256p. illus.
ISBN 9781440353680. pap. $19.99. COMM

According to award-winning writing professor and best-selling author ­Shapiro (What’s Never Said), “The best way to break into publishing is with a great three-page double-spaced personal essay.” Combining hard-won experience, practical lessons from teaching more than 25,000 students (who have since published 150 books), Shapiro exemplifies the truism that simplicity is indeed the last thing found—and offers her own: “Instant Gratification Takes Too Long.” Considering the book’s subtitle, readers with impatient literary ambitions will learn not only how to identify and “target” editors but when, why, and what to pitch. Shapiro’s work is distinguished by providing actual student-written service pieces, op-eds, essays, plus the author’s own successful pitch letters. An oft-noted criticism is that few universities teach students how to employ writing and editing skills. And while the New School offered the author an opportunity to change that, she is quick to add that so long as one has a potent idea, three great pages, and a seasoned editor or guide, nothing else—higher education, experience—matters. The worst that will happen, notes New York Times editor Peter Catapano, is “No, thank you.” VERDICT For novice writers and professionals alike, this comprehensive desk reference will prove invaluable.
William Grabowski, Library Journal

Word Lovers' Valentine Publishing Panel
Susan Shapiro’s "instant gratification takes too long" classes, taught at New York University, the New School, and in private seminars, task her students with writing and publishing a piece by the end of the course—for added incentive, attendees are encouraged to pay the fee with newly earned funds from published works. The author will gather an insightful group of gatekeepers to share trade secrets on breaking into the magazine and publishing worlds. Speakers include the Times editor Peter Catapano, the Beacon Press book editor Rakia Clark, and the Rolling Stone editor Jerry Portwood.
The New Yorker
The Byline Bible: Get Published in 5 Weeks
by Susan Shapiro

Writer’s Digest, $17.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-44035-368-0
In clear, energetic, and forthright language, writer and teacher Shapiro (Only as Good as Your Word) provides a nuts-and-bolts guide to getting a piece of nonfiction writing published, whether in print or online. She focuses on producing short, confessional essays, which she proclaims are the “best way to break into publishing,” though she also includes advice on op-ed and humor pieces, among others. There are no shortcuts, however, despite the gimmicky subtitle. Shapiro constantly reminds her readers to do their homework and thoroughly read up on the genre they’re trying to break into, and the publications they’re planning on approaching. She emphasizes timeliness and originality in choosing subject matter, the importance of feedback and revising when writing, and openness to learning from rejection while approaching editors and publishers. Succinct lists throughout of dos and don’ts (“Don’t arrogantly tell the editor that his readers will surely love your brilliant piece”) will help the potential scribe keep all of Shapiro’s points in order and to hand. Her book is not a full substitute for taking a writing class and learning with a pro, but her insights are excellent starting points for beginners and good reminders for veterans. (Aug.)
Publishers Weekly

Copyright 2004-2018 Susan Shapiro and Relium Corp. All Rights Reserved.
Fix-Up Fanatic cover art by Mary Lynn Blasutta