Nearly 200 Hoyas are Published Authors After Taking Book Creation Class
When Eric Koester, professor of practice and entrepreneur-in-residence, held his first Book Creators course (now known as Content Entrepreneurship: Book Creation) in 2016, he was nervous. Twenty sophomores, juniors, and seniors had signed up for what they thought was a typical entrepreneurship seminar, but Koester had something entirely different planned. With blank stares from the class, he announced, “This semester each of you will write a book.”
With Koester’s reassurance and expert guidance, he explained how this opportunity would change the entire trajectory of their careers. To his surprise, all of the students returned the next day, along with 12 new ones.
Koester has gone on to help nearly 200 Georgetown students and alumni become published authors since 2016.
Matthew Henry (MiM’21) — whose book features official interviews with Reverend Jesse Jackson, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and former Virginia First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe — described just how meaningful this process was for him this semester.
“I never thought I would be an author at such an early age, but I genuinely enjoyed the process of learning and meeting new people to interview,” said Henry. “This course was a truly life-changing experience that helped me accelerate my professional goals and share my writing to the world.”
This hands-on, experiential course enables students to design and develop a book manuscript, with a focus on examining topics where a student has a long-term passion or interest. Students may express their creativity in any form — whether it be a nonfiction book, novel, memoir, or even a collection of poetry. The program leverages Koester’s “Creator Pedagogy,” where students from across all schools at Georgetown may demonstrate their passions to enhance their credibility in a field, industry, or area. That pedagogy was recognized as the 2018 “Most Innovative Course” by USASBE.
Supported by the class structure, students work to develop their first draft throughout the course of the semester. They are paired with a professional editor to offer feedback on what they write. Students also learn more about conducting interviews, adapting new writing techniques, and receiving feedback. These two aspects of the course, combined with their community of fellow authors, are why over 90% of students have had an opportunity to produce and publish their own books.
“Writing a book has allowed me to jump from being just a college student to a college student with a recognized brand,” said Zev Burton (SFS’22). “Professor Koester was the one who offered advice throughout the entirety of this process and this simply could not have been done without him.”
Writing a book is no small feat, with Koester attributing this accomplishment to his students’ grit and growth mindset, as well as their ability to write about whatever they care about. Student authors have explored a number of different topics, including female empowerment poetry, LGBTQ rights, space law, and urban horror novels.
“What is powerful is that each book is uniquely important to each student and thus all the more inspiring to them,” said Koester. “In that sense, every student that finishes their books report back at the unique opportunities the book has provided them.”
To learn more about the authors, review this list of student publications.