The Business of Books: What Writers Need to Know

Four horizontally lined up books (from left to right: light green, red, purple, and yellow) on top of a dark red background. The cover of the yellow book reads “The Business of Books” in red

This event is part of You Are A Writer, a series of free online workshops on the business of writing. Inspired by beloved components of the Emerging Voices Fellowship, the series will provide an introduction to four topics that are foundational to launching a literary career.

The complexity and exclusivity of the publishing industry is a significant barrier for aspiring authors. Join PEN America for a free workshop on the business of books. This workshop will present an overview of how books are created and sold; key industry roles and career paths; the taxonomy of publishers; publication and pay timelines; an author’s marketing responsibilities; life after the book deal; and developments in diversity, equity, and inclusion in publishing. This workshop aims to empower writers to identify and develop their own path into the world of writing and publishing. ASL interpretation is provided by Pro Bono ASL.

This digital event will start at 5pm PT / 7pm CT / 8pm ET.


In order to ensure an optimal experience for our speakers and all participants, please be advised that You Are A Writer: A Career & Craft Workshop Series is limited to 1,000 registrants per workshop. Unfortunately, recordings will not be available following the event. However, please return to for information regarding future workshops and events, or fill out this form to stay connected.

Nicole Counts headshot: Nicole looks at the camera while sitting outside on a fall day. Nicole is wearing glasses and a black blouse.Nicole Counts (she/her) is a senior editor at One World, an imprint of Random House, where she works with Fatimah Asghar, Morgan Parker, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Donovan X. Ramsey, Brittany Packnett, Danielle Geller and Gabi Burnham among others. She started her career in marketing and publicity at PublicAffairs and Nation Books. She is a freelance writer, on the advisory board of Well-Read Black Girl, and a member of PubWorkers for Justice. A Jersey native and Philly lover, she lives in Brooklyn.

Eric Smith headshot: Eric leans against a grey brick wall. His hands are in his pockets, and his gaze is downward. He is wearing a beard, glasses, a dark gray hat, and a graphic t-shirt.Eric Smith (he/him) is a literary agent and author living in Philadelphia, and is likely playing Animal Crossing as you’re reading this. What are your turnip prices like? An agent with P.S. Literary, he’s worked on New York Times bestselling and award-winning titles. As an agent, he focuses on young adult books, genre-blending literary fiction, and nonfiction of all kinds, from memoir to cookbooks. In his author life, his latest novel, Don’t Read the Comments, was published with Inkyard Press in January 2020.

Daniel Vazquez headshot: Daniel is smiling and looking at the camera on a sunny day outdoors. He is wearing glasses, a brimmed cap, and a t-shirt.Daniel Vazquez (he/him) is from Queens, NY. He is an associate editor at Astra House, an imprint of Astra Publishing House, where he’s focused on acquiring genre-bending literary fiction and narrative nonfiction representing strong, underrepresented voices and bold, progressive ideas. Previously, he worked in editorial at MCD x FSG and at HarperCollins, and in publicity and marketing at The New Press. He is a graduate of the publishing certificate program at the City College of New York.

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