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Taos Publishing Retreat

At the famed Mabel Dodge Luhan House

April 15-20, 2018


Register Now!

Join writing coach Judyth Hill and literary agent Katharine Sands for an in-depth retreat focusing on both craft and career. We’ll explore all aspects of your writing and book project, from powerful beginnings and plot to query letters and the business of publishing. You’ll attend classes and roundtable discussions in an intimate setting, fine-tuning your writing and laying the groundwork to sell it.

Our retreat will take place at the historic Mabel Dodge Luhan House in the magical mountain town of Taos.

Mabel Dodge was a prominent figure in the arts and society of New York City. She left her home in the 1920s to settle in Taos, marrying a full-blooded Taos Pueblo man by the name of Tony Luhan. D. H. Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, Willa Cather, Ansel Adams and others found inspiration that would shape their lives’ work while visiting Tony and Mabel’s home. And you will too!

Bring your manuscript, your ideas and your dreams and leave with a personalized plan for success, all while enjoying the cuisine and culture of New Mexico and Mabel’s. Personal mentoring time with each of our instructors is also included.

Ready Your Work for Agents, Editors, Publishers and Producers!

Working with Katharine Sands, literary agent and creator of Pitchcraft

Writers are welcome at many stages of creation and in many formats, whether developing and marketing material for print, digital or other media. During our time together, we’ll discover all the many ins and outs of the publishing universe.

Getting Ready, Getting Read and Getting Readers

Literary agents are always on a treasure hunt. But few writers know what it takes to make agents yell at first glance: “Eureka, I’ve struck gold!” And a first glance is all that most writers will get before the agent moves on without ever reading further. In this class, Katharine shows you the best ways to showcase your writing as a bold, new entry into this category—and yourself as a potential author with an intriguing book poised to spring forth.

From First Writes to Last Rights

Delve into trends in publishing, expanding digital markets, and the actual business of books—and its quirks and processes and challenges. Tour the submissions and acquisitions process of getting-an-agent/submitting-to-editors, focusing on fundamental guiding principles behind all successful authors and the author-agent-editor relationship, including how to identify and develop your selling points and sales engines

Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye

The best pitches give off sparks, create a moment, or pose a provocative question just to give a taste of the project. Learn what to do--and what not to do--when summarizing your book: How to get an agent from the get-go; start in a logical place, yet from a compelling perch; how to encapsulate in clear core points; ways to create coming attractions that whet the reader’s appetite for more—and how to avoid "Querial Killers": the easy-to-fix mistakes writers make. This class cuts through the mystery of getting an agent to want YOU, to read YOU, and to say YES to YOU.

Your Best Path to Publication

Learn the pros and cons of different paths to publication. In addition to traditional and self-publishing, discover what partnership publishing is, along with hybrid authorship, and cooperative publishing. Learn how to choose the right path for you and your work, and how to develop a publishing strategy and approach that meets your goals, dreams, timetable and budget.

Learn more about Katharine here.

Working with Judyth Hill, master teacher and poet

We’ve written and re-written, but are we there yet? How, indeed, can you know when your book is ready to hit the BigTime? In our four sessions together, we will work with my ARE YOU REALLY FINISHED Checklist, and, no matter where you are starting from…we will get you to the finish line.

Plan the Work, and Work the Plan

Guided by our Checklist, we’ll go through all the nuts and bolts that comprise Done. This will be a time of describing your project, and your goals, asking questions and getting super clear about where you are on your journey to Ready.

First Responder on the Plot Scene

Even a memoir must be plotted, yup, even a collection of poems needs a captivating thread. What to tell and when, how to pace your story, find and follow your arc, engage your reader, and keep ‘em right in there. This is a function of plot, and we’ll look at the many juicy possibilities for your project: not rules: but Radar, ways to see the most compelling way to tell your story. And then…

Bring Us There: Location, Location, Location

Reader Drift is often caused by our not pulling them into Place, and locking that attention down by vivid, all-five-senses-on-deck descriptions. We’ll have fun, focused writing practices to get a grip on this skill.

Essential Steps to Promoting Your Book

Whatever the way you are published, you’ll need to spend money to make money. We’ll look at a range of project budgets and outcomes as well as discuss how to reach prospective readers in a variety of ways from social media to bookstore placement. Create successful events and readings, get reviews and generate buzz for your book.

Dynamite Readings that Sell Your Book

You’ve given your book your best – now, let’s learn to perform it with verve and passion. Engage your audience, and bring YOUR unique style fully forward.

Learn more about Judyth here.


Day 1

Welcome to Taos! Arrive to the Mabel Dodge Luhan House. In the evening, we'll gather for cocktails and a traditional New Mexican dinner at one of Taos's most spectacular private homes: the town's former Distillery.


Plan the Work, and Work the Plan. Explore all the nuts and bolts that comprise a ready-to-sell manuscript. Roundtable discussion on First Pages. Free evening.


Getting Ready, Getting Read and Getting Readers. In-depth discussions on creating your own plan for success, including looking into all your different options for publication. Evening cocktail party at the Distillery.


First Responder on the Plot Scene. Today we'll focus on What to tell and when, How to pace your story, Find and follow your arc, and Engage your reader. Afternoon roundtable: Build your Writing Platform. Evening readings.


Fine-tune the details of your book with vivid, all-five-senses-on-deck descriptions. Afternoon roundtable: Ready Your Work for Agents, Editors, Publishers and Producers. Evening readings with coffee and dessert buffet.


Departure. After breakfast, return to the airport or stay a few days and continue exploring New Mexico.

During the retreat you'll meet with each instructor for a private one hour mentoring session.



Juniper House:
$1850, double occupancy
$200, single supplement
$500, bring a companion*

Main House (one room left!):
$1950, double occupancy
$300, single supplement
$500, bring a companion

Mabel’s Room:
$2400, double occupancy
$300, single supplement
$600, bring a companion

Included in the price are 5 nights at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House, daily breakfast and lunch as well as a welcome dinner, a cocktail party and farewell coffee and dessert buffet. Also included are 16 hours of class and roundtable discussions, plus one hour private mentoring with each of our instructors.

Not included: Airfare and transportation to and from the Taos.

*Companion price includes all of the above, except for classes and mentoring.


To get the most from your retreat experience, we offer the following add-ons:

Line-Editing & Personal Coaching: $95/ 25 pages of line-editing with a ½ hour meeting.

Crafting Your Most Compelling Structure & Sequence:
$85/hour, submit 1 or 2 page synopsis.

Creating Vivid Characters, Vibrant Settings, Dynamic Description: $85/hour, submit one character and one setting description, and a list of your project’s 5 most important characters and settings.

Your Needs, Your Questions!: $95/hour, submit 5 questions with first 20 pages or synopsis.

Designing YOUR Unique Plan: $95/hour, submit first 20 pages or synopsis.


Query Letter Consultation: $50, 1/2 hour

Marketing and Content Strategy Session: $85/hour, submit first 20 pages or synopsis.

Your Needs, Your Questions!: $95/hour, submit 5 questions with first 20 pages or synopsis.

Critique on Writing Strengths and Weaknesses: $95/hour, first 20 pages.

To Register

A $1000 per person deposit is required to reserve your place in the Taos Publishing Retreat. Since the number of participants is limited, early reservations are recommended. Once your deposit is received, an email confirmation will be sent. The balance is due no later than 60 days before the tour begins. If not received by that time, EAT-WRITE-TRAVEL reserves the right to treat the reservation as cancelled (please review our cancellation policy when booking).

**Deadline for all synopsis and page submissions is March 1st.