Rebirth Your Book

June 24-July 01, 2018

Fort Kochi, Kerala
India


Let's Begin

Finish Your Book (For Real)



When you started your manuscript your vision was clear. Now you're lost in the middle, mired in the "current" draft, wondering why you ever started this crazy project.

You need a personal guide.

A full manuscript evaluation from an editor who sees your strengths—and where you need a new technique or approach.

A retreat limited to six participants.

One-on-one time to discuss your book, challenges, and goals.

A customized work plan to finish your draft and renew your stamina on the journey to publication.

An imagination-stimulating, heart-freeing place to revive your creative self.

Shared energy with fellow writers while staying focused on your own pages.

For hundreds of years, the cycle of reincarnation and regeneration has fueled Fort Kochi, India. Rediscover your novel or memoir and your desire for the page. Transform your next draft from a dreaded chore to a driving vision.

Rebirth Your Book


Please note: Rebirth Your Book is fully subscribed for 2018. We are accepting waitlist applications, or join our mailing list to be the first to know about the 2019 program.

Reserve Your Spot

Your Guide


From idea to novel, proposal to memoir, first draft to first check, Allison K Williams brings deep understanding of dramatic structure, sensitivity to voice and theme, technical/craft expertise and contagious enthusiasm for your work.

Allison has edited and coached writers to publishing deals with Penguin Random House, Knopf, Mantle, Spencer Hill, St. Martin's Press and Black Rose. She's guided essayists and humorists to publication in media including Time, the Guardian, McSweeney’s, Refinery29, Brevity, Hippocampus, the Belladonna and TED Talks. As Social Media Editor for Brevity, she inspires thousands of writers with her weekly blogs.

 I call myself the Unkind Editor because writers need direct, specific feedback, and that can feel a little bracing. But writers seeking serious professional guidance are investing their time and money. Clarity of critique respects and supports that commitment.

In Rebirth Your Book, your work receives the care and attention publishers invest in their top authors. You’ll get specific, sit-down-and-do-it strategies to finish your book and make it sellable.

Before arrival, Allison will evaluate your full manuscript with an editorial letter, and meet you via Skype. In India, she'll guide you through key revisions and new material, and spend One-on-One time discussing your writing career. She'll create a personalized work plan for finishing your draft and help you stay on track with a follow-up call after the retreat.

Rebirth Your Book is also a travel experience. As a travel writer and natural explorer who has visited 49 countries and led experiential tours on four continents, Allison is delighted to share a place she loves with a select group. Our intimate coterie will explore hidden corners most tourists never see, seeking spontaneous, genuine connections and renewing your creative spirit.


The Experience


Professional Editing

Your pre-arrival manuscript evaluation will include supportive, specific, written critique of your draft or plan.

In Fort Kochi, you'll have guidance on your daily work and One-on-One time to discuss your manuscript, goals and writing life.

A customized work plan and follow-up Skype session help you stay on track and take your work to the next level.

Only Six Writers

To give the personal coaching and specific editorial feedback your manuscript needs before, during and after the retreat, class size is limited to six.

Rooms are single occupancy unless you choose to share with a writing friend or travel partner.

Writing In Company

Each morning, writers share their goals for this reserved time, then work individually in the same room with personalized exercises and specific guidance.

At the end of the session, sharing the day's progress can include reading a short section for brief feedback, but this is not a "workshop." Allison is available throughout for brainstorming, plot issues and craft questions.

It's like writing at your favorite cafe—with a clear strategy and your personal editor on-call.



Please note: Rebirth Your Book is fully subscribed for 2018. We are accepting waitlist applications, or join our mailing list to be the first to know about the 2019 program.

Reserve Your Spot



Fort Kochi: Chai & Coffee



Experience traditional kathakali dances, bird-feeding as sacred practice at the Jain Temple and meditative time in the oldest synagogue in India.

Discover Kerala's matrilineal heritage at Mattancherry Palace and world-class Indian art at contemporary galleries. Cruise jungle-lined canals and visit a traditional village in the magical Backwaters of Kerala.

Upscale cafes and laid-back coffee shops invite afternoon journaling. Individually decorated tuk-tuks open to the breeze allow comfortable sightseeing at street level. Barter with artisans and street vendors. Luxuriate with Ayurvedic treatments, massage and yoga.

New colors, tastes and sounds inhabit every moment—yet Fort Kochi is a quieter, gentler India. Stately colonial buildings meet modern hospitality and charm in the walkable Old Town of heritage buildings, bustling waterfront and quiet backstreets.

A town of many lives, Fort Kochi bears the legacies of immigrants, colonists and rulers from China, Portugal, the Netherlands, Mysore and Britain. A safe harbor nestled on a breezy peninsula in the state of Kerala, Fort Kochi embraces newcomers (even timid ones!) with native food, customs, traditions and arts.

You will be welcome here. Or, as you will hear in our time together, Namaste.


Lodging & Meals



Luxurious Lodging

The Trinity heritage boutique hotel, resurrected from a 17th-century Dutch East India Company headquarters, has the feeling of a sleek gallery. The verdant gardens, sheltered courtyard, and stunning art will inspire your imagination while sustaining your writing focus.

In the heart of Old Town, it's a 9-minute stroll to Kollam Beach and an easy tuk-tuk to historic Mattancherry. A 2-minute saunter leads to the pool, wine lounge and Ayurvedic spa at sister property Malabar House.

Single-occupancy, Deluxe Rooms showcase antique furniture and contemporary Indian art, and have queen beds, private patios and separate dressing areas. Facilities include air-conditioning, WiFi, TV, minibar and in-room tea and coffee. Double rooms are Junior Suites with shower-gardens, contemporary tribal art and photography, and additional mezzanine beds. Upgrades are available from Deluxe to Junior Suite, or to a Roof Garden Suite with private terrace.

Writing spaces (all with WiFi) include our air-conditioned Writing in Company room with plenty of table space, the on-site coffee shop with outdoor terrace, a breezy upstairs lobby with comfy chairs and couches, and the air-conditioned wine lounge at Malabar House. Across the street, the David Hall Gallery & Cafe has WiFi and a communal table with power outlets. Several A/C and non-A/C coffee shops are within a five-minute walk.

Glorious Food

Trinity's on-site coffee shop hosts our included breakfast (eggs, toast and fruit as well as Indian dishes) and serves light bites throughout the day; there's a full restaurant and wine bar at Malabar House.

The David Hall Gallery & Cafe serves hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, crepes and wood-fired pizza.

Around town, enjoy fresh local seafood at Oceanus, pan-Asian dishes at Tokyo Bay and snacks and sweets at Kashi Art Cafe. Vegans, vegetarians and carnivores will find a variety of clearly marked choices.


Your Itinerary


Just Enough To See

You'll be surprised and delighted every day, excited to be out touring and glad to be in writing. There's always time for a nap (it's hot!).

The Welcome Orientation covers local customs. You'll receive an Indian SIM card for your own (unlocked) mobile phone.

Daily time to explore solo and with your fellow writers. Included group tours are led by knowledgeable local guides.

Friday night, enjoy an informal reading in the Malabar House wine bar.

Saturday morning, embark on a glorious overnight trip on fully-crewed luxury houseboats through the fabled Backwaters of Kerala.

Sunday afternoon, you're delivered to the airport for your return home—or your next destination.

Sample Daily Schedule

9AM-11AM: Writing In Company
11AM-12:30PM: One-on-One meetings, Open Time
12:30PM-1:30PM: Group Lunch (included)
Nap/Writing/Open Time
4PM-6PM: Sights with Local Guide (included)
Evening: Enjoy traditional performances or sunset on the beach. Dinner on your own or with fellow writers

All group activities are optional; you may prefer more writing or personal exploration time.

One-on-One Time

One-on-One time is a scheduled hour that's entirely yours to discuss your book, writing life, goals and/or publication process.

In addition to scheduled One-on-One time, Allison's available throughout the day for casual chat about craft, publication and your work.


Booking


To apply for Rebirth Your Book, submit 20 pages from your manuscript or proposal, and tell us about your writing. It will take about 20 minutes to fill out the application and upload your work. You'll be notified of your acceptance in about a week. A deposit of $500 reserves your spot. Complete list of inclusions and exclusions, retreat fee, and flight checker are below.

Please note: Rebirth Your Book is fully subscribed for 2018. We are accepting waitlist applications, or join our mailing list to be the first to know about the 2019 program.

Reserve Your Spot


The Investment

Rebirth Your Book,  including full manuscript evaluation (a $950+ value!) and pre-arrival meeting, single accommodation, breakfast and lunch, daily feedback and coaching, One-on-One time, guided local tours, luxury houseboat trip, individual work plan and follow-up call to keep you writing after returning home.
$2745  (Payment plans available)

Non-writing travel partners  age 16+ may attend group meals, activities and tours, and share your room. Single occupancy is available for an additional charge. $1100 

For a complete list of inclusions and exclusions, please scroll down.

All rates in USD; resident Indian nationals wishing to pay in rupees, please contact us for a rate reflecting local standard.


The Fit

Whether you're emerging or experienced, Rebirth Your Book supports your needs as a writer and a human being undertaking a life-changing creative project. You get a professional editorial read, a personalized work plan and a week to free your vision with guidance and support.

You don't need a degree or prior publication. It's not who you know or where you went to school—it's your commitment to do the work your book needs.

If you want—need—to finish your book, but need direction, feedback and a concrete plan, Rebirth Your Book is for you.

Want to talk it through? Email us.



What's Included

Before You Arrive:
  Full read and editorial feedback on your manuscript draft or work so far.
  Initial call to discuss your manuscript, how to best use your Rebirth Your Book time, and any travel questions you have.

In India:
  Escorted transfers in and out of Cochin International Airport (COK), Ernakulam train station, or the Cochin bus station/ferry terminal.
 Single accommodation in a beautifully appointed, serene room.
 Welcome Orientation with useful local phrases, customs, and great things to see and do.
  Complimentary local SIM for your unlocked mobile phone.
  WiFi at the hotel and in the Writing In Company space.
  Focused One-on-One meeting to discuss your work.
  Excursions, activities, entry fees and show tickets on scheduled group outings.
  Transport and guides for all scheduled group outings.
  Overnight luxury houseboat tour of Kerala backwaters, including dinner, breakfast, and a lunch visit to a traditional village.
  Tips for guides and drivers on group outings, and a contribution to children's charity Home of Hope.
  Daily breakfast with Western and Indian options.
  Water, coffee and chai throughout breakfast and Writing In Company.
  Most lunches as indicated on itinerary, including water and non-alcoholic drinks.
  Snacks and drinks at the welcome party.
  Snacks and drinks at the end-of-the-week reading.

Returning Home:
  Work plan to finish your draft.
  Follow-up call 2-4 weeks after returning, to see how your work is going and provide additional support.

What's Not Included


  Flights or other transport to the pick-up points in Cochin.
  Vaccinations and any other travel medication you wish to bring.
  eVisa processing.
  Travel insurance.
  Hotel incidentals such as laundry, minibar, room service, etc.
  Dinners in Fort Kochi (dinner on the houseboat cruise is included).
  Drinks at evening events and on tours and excursions.
  Personal expenses/shopping/souvenirs.
  Transport on solo exploration (we will orient you with normal costs for tuk-tuks and the hotel can call drivers respectful of the agreed-upon fare).





Application deadline: April 7, 2018

Reserve Your Spot

FAQ



Your Application

You should be working on a book.

It can be a novel, a memoir or an essay collection. It can be an outline or proposal and some material, a partial manuscript, or a draft that isn't singing yet.

  • You're ready for direct and specific feedback about your work.
  • You're writing in English, because Allison isn't fluent enough to edit in any other language.
  • You don't need a degree in writing (or anything else!).
  • You don't need previous publication credits.

Everyone focuses on their own pages, so the experience level of your fellow writers isn't a big factor in your work.
About a week after submitting your sample pages and personal statement.

Writers are accepted to Rebirth Your Book on a first-come-first-served basis. Your deposit within two weeks of acceptance holds your place.

Once all 6 places are filled, we'll start a short waitlist in the event of a cancellation.
A friend or family member sharing your room pays a companion fee of about 1/3 the writer's fee. Their trip will include lodging, group meals and activities, local tours, the Backwaters trip and airport transfers. It doesn't include Writing in Company, One-on-One time or manuscript evaluation. Single occupancy is available for an additional charge.

If you'd like to share a double with another writing participant, you'll each receive a discount of $150.

Travel

Probably! Citizens of most countries need a tourist visa to visit India. The online eVisa application is fast, easy and takes about 48 hours, but apply 30 days in advance just in case. At time of writing, the eVisa cost US$75 for US and UK citizens; $50 for most other citizenships.

The link above is the official government site; there are numerous copycat sites—you'll still get your visa, but they add extra fees.
Travelers to any destination should update routine vaccinations. We suggest a tetanus booster; you may want additional shots if you plan to extend your trip within India. For all vaccinations, check with your doctor or a travel clinic.

There is some risk of malaria for travelers in India, but Fort Kochi is not a high-incidence area. Whether or not you take anti-malarial medicine, we recommend strong insect repellent with DEET.

Packing basic stomach remedies is always recommended for travelers anywhere.

Refer to the CDC Website for India for more health specifics.
Airport transfers are provided in and out of Cochin International Airport (COK).

If you’re arriving or departing from another Indian city, pick-ups can be arranged at the Ernakulam train station. The Cochin bus station is a short ferry ride from Fort Kochi and we'll meet you at the dock.

For group sightseeing in Fort Kochi and nearby Mattancherry, we'll have tuk-tuks at our disposal. For personal exploration, the hotel can call you a tuk-tuk or taxi. We'll also tell you the appropriate fares around town for trips with outside drivers.
Most of Fort Kochi is walkable and the pavement is relatively—but not consistently—smooth. Most businesses have steps at their entrances.

While wider public awareness of human rights has led to new laws being implemented, India does not have consistent accessibility. If you have mobility concerns, let us know. We want to work with you—let's discuss how to make it an excellent experience.
All classes and tours are in English; most local residents speak enough English to chat and answer questions. Local languages include Malayalam and Hindi, and the Welcome Orientation will include useful phrases.

The vast majority of Indians are friendly, hospitable and kind to tourists. English is widely spoken, navigation apps work with a local SIM (or roaming), and Uber and official taxis are available across Kerala.

Fort Kochi has a low crime rate and is safe for solo walking day and night. As on any trip, be aware of your surroundings and your belongings.

Street harassment is relatively uncommon, and Kerala's tourism industry employs many people invested in your positive experience. You will likely experience staring, especially if you are blonde, red-haired or tall. We'll cover how to gently redirect staring to mutual smiles and waves in the Welcome Orientation. You can also ignore staring (as local women do) without giving offense. Most people looking are genuinely curious to know more about you.

We encourage not giving to any child beggars. While it's hard to turn them down, giving money teaches the adult controlling that kid that child-begging pays. Rebirth Your Book supports Home of Hope, which houses, feeds and educates orphaned, abandoned and trafficked girls.
Most restaurants in Fort Kochi are accustomed to serving both locals and tourists and operate at a Western level of hygiene.

Bottled water is widely available; ice at group meals will be made from filtered water. At the Welcome Orientation, we'll cover safely enjoying street food if you wish to do so.

Vegetarians and vegans rejoice! Due to the unique combination of religious traditions, most food in Fort Kochi is clearly labeled for meat/dairy content. Waiters and cooks generally understand that knowing specific ingredients is important.
We’re happy to provide personal recommendations or connect you with a local travel agency to extend your trip.

If this is your first visit to India, we recommend adding extra stops after the retreat. India can be a little overwhelming for new visitors, and your time in Fort Kochi will help you acclimate.

Workshops

Rebirth Your Book is about your book. This is not a traditional workshop process of reading everyone else's pages in advance for long discussions, or writing from prompts and sharing our work. Instead, Allison will help you set personal goals for each writing day, and you'll work in the affirming company of other writers.

At the beginning of the session, we go around the table and say our work goal or intention for the day, then dive in to our own work in the energy of a shared space. Or as Allison says, "If I'm writing with a buddy and I start to get bored or frustrated, I look up and think, I can't quit now—she's still going!"

We take a short stretch break at the halfway point. At the end of the two hours, each person shares how their work went and can—but doesn't have to—read a page or passage.

Throughout Writing in Company time, Allison will be available to talk through problems, suggest new ways to tackle a tough section, or give you a quick exercise to shake your writing loose.
Nope. While reading group members' work in advance and noting points for discussion is a valuable practice, it's not what we're doing here. Your focus is on your book.

At the end of each Writing in Company session, writers may choose to share a page or two for response or just to hear it out loud, but we'll keep feedback short. Your fellow writers will come to your words for the first time, as a reader would.

At the end of the week, we'll have a casual evening reading in the Malabar House wine bar. This is an opportunity to share aloud pages you've been working on with a small, supportive audience. Travel partners and new friends are welcome.
Allison will read each writer's full draft (or pile of material or proposal) prior to arrival in Fort Kochi, and send you an editorial letter with feedback on concept, voice, themes, plot, story, character and craft.

You'll have a preliminary Skype call of about 30 minutes to discuss your work and what you want to accomplish during the retreat. If you're an early stage and don't have a lot of pages, we can extend the Skype call to discuss your idea, execution and process.

During the Rebirth week, you'll have a scheduled One-on-One meeting. Feel free to bring questions or specific concerns about your book, how the week is going, your writing in general and your writing career. This time can also be used for query feedback or discussing your publication goals.

Throughout the week we'll have plenty of casual chatting time, and you're welcome to start/participate in writing-related discussions with Allison and/or your fellow writers just about anywhere.

After returning home, you'll have another 30-minute Skype call to check in and address questions or new challenges as you finish your draft.
Really! In order to give each writer the individual and specific attention their manuscript needs, before, during and after our time in Fort Kochi, the retreat is limited to six people. Non-writing travel partners may join us for tours and activities.

Payment

If you'd like to pay by credit card, we accept Mastercard, Visa and American Express through PayPal. A credit card handling charge of 3% is applied.

You may also choose to pay by cheque or direct deposit.

Payments can be made as follows:
  • $500 Deposit on acceptance to reserve your place
  • $750 Payment 90 days prior to start date
  • $750 Payment 60 days prior to start date
  • $745 Balance due 30 days prior to start date


  • If you prefer to pay in one transaction, we offer a 5% discount for payment in full within two weeks of acceptance.

    We'll send payment information with your acceptance.

      Before You Arrive:
    • Full read and editorial feedback on your manuscript draft or work so far (a $950+ value!).
    • Initial call to discuss your work and how to schedule your Rebirth Your Book time, as well as answer any travel questions you have.


    • In India:
    • Escorted airport transfers in and out of Cochin International Airport (COK), Ernakulam train station, or the Cochin bus station/ferry terminal.
    • Single accommodation at the retreat's boutique hotel.
    • Complimentary local SIM for your unlocked mobile phone.
    • WiFi at the hotel and in the Writing In Company space.
    • Focused One-on-One meeting to discuss your work.
    • Excursions, activities, entry fees and show tickets on scheduled group outings.
    • Transport and guides for all scheduled group outings.
    • Overnight luxury houseboat tour of Kerala backwaters, including dinner, breakfast, and a lunch visit to a traditional village.
    • Tips for guides and drivers on group outings, and a contribution to children's charity Home of Hope.
    • Daily breakfast with Western and Indian options.
    • Water, coffee and chai throughout breakfast and Writing In Company time.
    • Most lunches as indicated on itinerary, including water and non-alcoholic drinks.
    • Snacks and drinks at the welcome party.
    • Snacks and drinks at the end-of-the-week reading.
    • Returning Home:
    • Work plan to finish your draft.
    • Follow-up call 2-4 weeks after returning, to see how your work is going and provide additional support.
    • Flights or other transport to the pick-up points in Cochin.
    • Vaccinations and any other travel medication you wish to bring.
    • eVisa processing.
    • Travel insurance.
    • Hotel incidentals such as laundry, mini-bar, room service, etc.
    • Drinks other than water at evening events and on tours and excursions.
    • Personal expenses/shopping/souvenirs.
    • Transport on non-group exploration (we will orient you with normal costs for tuk-tuks and the hotel can call drivers respectful of the agreed-upon fare).
    We strongly recommend travel & trip-cancellation insurance.

    If you are unable to attend and we can fill your place from the waitlist, we will refund your tuition minus a $200 processing fee.

    If we can’t fill your place, we’ll provide you with documentation to support a claim to your travel insurance provider.

    Refunds will be sent within 30 days of receipt of notice of cancellation.

      Rebirth Your Book reserves the right to cancel the retreat in the event of civil unrest, natural disaster or Act of God. In the event of cancellation on our part, you will receive a full refund of any fees paid. You agree to release Rebirth Your Book and its agents and/or representatives from any liability, including consequential expenses you may have incurred in planning to attend. We will provide you with documentation to support a claim to your travel insurance provider for flights and other expenses not paid to Rebirth Your Book.

    Ready to Rebirth Your Book?


    Please note: Rebirth Your Book is fully subscribed for 2018. We are accepting waitlist applications, or join our mailing list to be the first to know about the 2019 program.

    Reserve Your Spot