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‘Voice’ in Nonfiction Writing

Saturday, August 13, 2016
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Garden A

Voice? In nonfiction? You bet!

Voice is crucial to nonfiction success, whether you’re writing a personality-driven memoir or a straightforward cookbook. Voice is what publishers seek and laud. An authentic voice makes you feel good about what you’re writing and draws readers to your work. Yet the concept is elusive: what is this thing called voice, anyway? How do you find yours? Join literary agent and publishing consultant Jody Rein in this 90-minute workshop. Jody will provide concrete answers, examples and instruction. Students are encouraged to bring a page of their own writing, which will be discussed as time allows.

Topics include:

  • What’s the difference between the writing voice and the conversational voice?
  • Does the voice in a nonfiction book have to be yours, or can it be created for the book?
  • Are there objective expectations or requirements for voice in nonfiction?
  • How can there be a voice in third-person writing?
  • When should you worry about voice in the writing process?
  • How does voice work in a query letter for nonfiction? What do agents and editors look for?


Jody Rein

Jody Rein is a literary agent and publishing coach, and former executive editor with divisions of The Penguin Random Group and HarperCollins in New York. Agency projects include bestseller and Fox Studios movie The Big Year by Mark Obmascik, bestseller and sitcom 8 Simple Rules for Dating my Teenage Daughter by Bruce Cameron. The Jody Rein Books agency is small and select, primarily representing nonfiction writers who have established careers in journalism or deep subject matter expertise. Jody also occasionally co-agents literary fiction and crime novels. Publishing coaching, platform and website development and editorial services are offered separately through Jody’s consulting company, AuthorPlanet.®

Looking for:

  • Narrative nonfiction (journalism, science, history)
  • Commercial nonfiction (business, instructional, other practical subjects)
  • Memoir
  • Literary fiction
  • Self-published books
  • General publishing questions, if author would rather get a question answered than make a formal pitch