Cal Poly

Cal Poly Bestsellers & Storytellers Writer's Program

The Cal Poly Bestsellers & Storytellers Writer's Program is a series of courses and workshops designed to help you with your journey to become a more effective and captivating writer. Writers of all levels are welcome to participate in this program

Please view current class offerings at calpoly.augusoft.net or call our office at (805) 756-2053 to register.


Write Your Way Around the World

We dream of sipping cappuccinos in Florence while writing. The reality: blow-drying your hand-washed underwear in a Zimbabwe hotel so you can pack and hit the road. Freelancing from abroad may not be glamorous, but it is an adventure. In this workshop, Katya Cengel, Cal Poly and UC Berkley journalism instructor, will teach students how to pitch an article to an editor, query an agent about a book, negotiate a contract with a publisher, and more. Having traveled the world writing herself, Cengel not only has excellent insights into the realities of making a living as a writer, but knows from experience that the adventure is worth it.

Information and Registration

Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enrollment Deadline Enroll Online
Write Your Way Around the World Katya Cengel 9/23/17 Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to noon $99 9/6/17 Enroll Now

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Children's Picture Book Writing

Have you ever wanted to write a children's picture book? Join published author and teacher Cindy Neuschwander and learn about this writing genre. Five two-hour sessions cover all aspects of writing, editing and publishing your manuscript. Topics covered in this class include an overview of the picture book from the first ideas to published book, history of picture books, character, the mind of the child, narrative structures, story skeletons, illustrations, editing, submissions, and publishing contracts. We will read and study a number of picture books thoughout our five weeks together. We consider both fictional and factual story concepts. Whether you are a teacher, parent/grandparent, or someone who has a great kids' story to tell, this class is for you!

Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enrollment Deadline Enroll Online
Children's Picture Book Writing I Cindy Neuschwander 10/5/17 - 11/2/17 Thursdays
6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
$219 Enroll Now

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Children's Picture Book Writing - Character Development

Unique and memorable characters are at the heart of every well written picture book. Join author teacher Cindy Neuschwander for a one day class on recognizing and crafting unforgettable characters. We will look at examples of strong characters as well as learn how to create our own.

Information and Registration

Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enrollment Deadline Enroll Online
Children's Picture Book Writing - Character Development Cindy Neuschwander 10/28/17 Saturday
9:00 a.m. - noon
$75 10/13/17 Enroll Now

Get Published Now

Amplify your voice and leave a legacy by learning how to get your writing published. In Get Published Now, Brian Schwartz will help you take the step from writer to author. Schwartz, the founder of SelfPublish.org and former president of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association, has spent the last eight years working with authors and publishers to help them reach success. Topics covered include advice from bestselling authors, common mistakes to avoid, marketing, branding, internet resources, and more. Learn how to implement a plan to get your writing published now!

Information and Registration

Course Title Instructor Date(s) Schedule Fee Enrollment Deadline Enroll Online
Get Published Now Brian Schwartz 11/4/17 Saturday, 9:10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. $125 10/20/17 Enroll Now

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Feature Writing

In this four week course students will learn how to analyze and identify feature stories and how to research, write and report their own feature. We will work on developing story topics, learning interview techniques, crafting the story and revising a draft.

Information and Registration

Coming soon


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About the Instructors

Brian Schwartz is an award winning author and former president of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association. In the past 12 months, Brian Schwartz and his marketing team have taken more than fifty titles to #1 status on Amazon. Some of Brian's notable clients include NY Times Bestseller Sara Davidson, Joe Cross (Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead), and Arlo Guthrie. Brian is the founder of SelfPublish.org, a site dedicated to bridging the gap between self-publishers and traditional publishing. He is a passionate speaker who enjoys sharing the proven strategies and techniques of successful indie authors. His YouTube channel has over 100,000 views. Brian has authored two books: 50 Interviews: Entrepreneurs Thriving in Uncertain Times and Finding Speaking Success (Wise Media Group). He was featured in Wild Ink: Successful Secrets to Writing and Publishing in the Young Adult Market (Prufrock Press). He is a past columnist for the Northern Colorado Business Report.

Cindy Neuschwander is the author of 17 published picture books for children. Her work includes the Sir Cumference series, Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream, Mummy Math, and Pastry School in Paris. Her books have been review by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the School Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly. Cindy began writing books in 1994. She had used math literature in her own elementary classes and wanted to use more of these books. There were not many available so she started writing some of her own. Cindy enrolled in a writing class at a nearby university and learned how to better communicate her ideas; this is where her writing career was born. Now, her books are published by Charlesbridge, Henry Holt, and Scholastic.

Katya Cengel has written for New York Times Magazine, Esquire and Marie Claire among other publications. She was a 2014 International Center for Journalists Mozambique fellow, a 2015 International Reporting Project Guatemala fellow and a 2016 International Women’s Media Foundation African Great Lakes fellow. Her University of Nebraska Press book “Bluegrass Baseball: A Year in the Minor League Life” was a 2013 Kentucky Literary Award finalist and her series “Lost Boys, Torn Families” received a second place Green Eyeshade award for feature writing in 2006. Cengel teaches journalism at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and U.C. Berkley Extension.

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© 2015 California Polytechnic State University Cal Poly Extended Education
San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
Phone: 805-756-2053
extended@calpoly.edu