How the Fiction Program Works

Learn advanced writing and business skills by working one-on-one with experts in the field.

Not A “One-Size-Fits-All” Teaching Style

The Conservatory is more like an apprenticeship program than a traditional college format. Our goal is to maximize how much personal coaching and feedback our students receive.

Here’s how the LIFT Model works:

  • Learn. Students go through several trainings to prepare for the next step they need to take with their writing or business.
  • Implement. Students “learn by doing” and work on practicing the skill they just learned with real-world assignments.
  • Feedback. Students bring their work to a writing or business professional for personal feedback and coaching. 
  • Try Again! Few students get it right on the first try. We have them bring their work to us as many times as necessary until they’re ready to move onto the next step. 

Here are some of the different ways our students receive professional coaching and feedback from our instructors:

Writing Feedback

Bring your writing to us once a week for live developmental feedback.

Business Coaching

Get weekly feedback and coaching on your business ventures.

Craft Feedback

Submit writing samples for feedback on your prose and style.

Instructor Office Hours

Get additional help & coaching multiple times a week.

Visiting Expert Office Hours

Receive additional advice from visiting industry professionals.

Manuscript Assessments

Receive full manuscript assessments from professional editors. 

Our Curriculum


Graduation Objectives

Our goal is for graduating students to have mastered the fundamentals of storycraft, drafted at least two full-length novels, launched a short story in an exclusive Conservatory anthology, worked with professional editors, learned to meet publishing-level deadlines, and gained the experience needed to pitch agents & publishers.

Year One Objectives

By the end of Year One, students will be able to:

  • Develop a high-concept story premise.
  • Craft a compelling story synopsis.
  • Outline a full-length novel using the Three-Act Story Structure.
  • Build compelling and memorable characters that stick with readers long after they finish.
  • Possess a deep understanding of pacing and building narrative stakes.
  • Learn how to reverse outline their novel to hone in on the problems.
  • Draft a 50K – 100K word novel from a comprehensive outline.
  • Receive and incorporate professional critique on their projects.
Year Two Objectives

By the end of Year Two, students will be able to:

  • Complete a comprehensive round of critique on their own novel, and also offer in-depth feedback (from story execution to craft skill) on other students’ projects
  • Receive and incorporate high-level editorial feedback from professional editors.
  • Develop their own unique writing voice and style.
  • Maintain deadlines and draft, polish, edit and revise a novel alongside other students in a Critique Group.
  • Craft and polish a short story they’ll publish in Year Three in one of our exclusive Author Conservatory anthologies.
    Year Three Objectives

    By the end of Year Three, students will be able to:

    • Have a professional query to pitch to agents and publishers that will stand out from the crowd.
    • Write a killer book proposal and practice pitching to agents.
    • Understand the ins-and-outs of working with an agent, editor, and publisher.
    • Navigate book contracts and learn the key elements of a fair deal.

    “Before I joined The Author Conservatory, I wasn’t confident about my direction and questioned where my focus should be. Now I am working through a solid, personalized, and specific plan. I know where I’m going and what I need to work on.”

    Hope D.


    Graduation Objectives

    Our goal is for graduating students to have put together a full financial strategy to support themselves as they write, and to already have a business they grew during their time in the program that they can use as a part of that strategy.

    Year One Objectives

    By the end of Year One, students will be able to:

    • Understand the value of entrepreneurship within the author business model and develop a solid career strategy.
    • Brainstorm viable business ideas, pick the right pricing strategy, and develop compelling key distinctions and an elevator pitch.
    • Perform professional market research and confirm market-demand for a product/service before launching a business.
    • Start a pop up business and actually get paid for their products and services.
    • Develop a marketing strategy and generate positive customer reviews/testimonials.
    Year Two Objectives

    By the end of Year Two, students will be able to:

    • Grow their pop-up business, implement good practices and manage both their money and customers with ease.
    • Implement a scalable marketing system that will double their business income from Year One.
    • Translate their business skills to book marketing skills and start building their author platform.
    • Learn the networking skills they’ll need for their writing career.
    Year Three Objectives

    By the end of Year Three, students will be able to:

    • Create and implement a high-level marketing plan as part of their Author Conservatory Anthology launch.
    • Understand key business models that can support a long term writing career.
    • Learn the tools and strategies needed to double, triple, even quadruple the revenue each book produces.
    • Brainstorm both low and high ticket offers and services to compliment their author business.
    • Implement nonfiction marketing strategies to grow their author platform further.
    • Develop a roadmap to turn their business into a full time income and take on a team to free up their time.
    • Build a kingdom business through generosity and a heart-centered vision.

    I’m making enough money from my cleaning business to allow me to take the time I need to get a book ready to publish. Without the Conservatory, I would have given up a long time ago, probably after the first rejection. I truly can’t believe this is the life I’m living!”

    Juliet Artman

    The Average Week

    The Conservatory isn’t like a traditional college program. So what does the average week look like for an Author Conservatory student?

    Each week’s schedule will depend on how much time you can invest and what specific goals you’re looking to meet, but the list on the right describes what you can generally expect.

    Students are expected to spend an average of 15-20 hours per week on the program (which includes personal writing time).

    However, the more time you invest, the more we can help you hone your skills and set you up for future success.

    First, you’ll watch pre-recorded trainings that will walk you through your next steps and introduce your assignments.

    You’ll then spend time implementing what you’ve learned and completing your assigned tasks (these are all real-world assignments, to help you write novels and start a business).

    Then, after you’ve worked on these steps solo, you’ll bring your work to your writing and business coaches to get their professional feedback on your work.

    You’ll also be able to attend Office Hours calls to get additional coaching and support from your instructors, or from outside experts (e.g. Christopher Paolini and Andrew Peterson).

    Finally, you’ll spend time engaging with the other students in the program, building lifelong friendships, and sharpening each other as storytellers.

    Browse Our Full Curriculum

    Download our syllabus for more details on what we teach.