One of my students earned $4,000 for 2,000 words in Self magazine (originally pitched as “How I Cured My OCD With Prayer”) that led to a six-figure memoir deal. One of my colleagues netted $10,000 from Glamour for 5,000 words (pitched as “I Found My Husband’s Lovers on His Computer After He Died”) that led to a bestselling book. I’ve even had a few outrageous essays optioned by film producers—as the joke goes, Hollywood execs prefer to read the whole story in 900 words.

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