Finish Your Book

Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Farm-to-table food and Amish handicrafts. Rolling farmland cradles an elegantly restored 1800s home.

Come and peace.

TBA 2021 (mini-retreat)
Save the date!
Your rebirth begins in...
Rebirth Your Book in Lancaster 2021 Rediscover your novel or memoir and your desire for the page.
A full manuscript evaluation
A retreat limited to four writers.
A revival of your creative self
"Allison, working with you and the retreat have totally transformed me
as a last, I know where I'm going with this book."

Amy Evrard Young

The Rebirth Difference

Four focused days with editorial guidance, accountability, and a concrete finish-your-book plan.
The Witmer Estate


4 days/4 nights

August 15th - 19th, 2021 (TBC)

Personal Guidance

Allison K Williams, "The Unkind Editor" provides editorial feedback & coaching throughout the week

The Venue

Your Guide

Allison K Williams "The Unkind Editor"
photo of Allison K Williams

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

Allison has edited and coached writers to deals with Penguin Random House, Knopf, Mantle, Spencer Hill, St. Martin’s and independent presses. She’s guided essayists to publication in the New Yorker, Time, the Guardian, the New York Times, McSweeney’s and TED Talks. As Social Media Editor for Brevity, she inspires thousands of writers with blogs on craft and the writing life.

Allison is the author of Get Published in Literary Magazines and Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro From Blank Page to Book (March 2021, Woodhall Press). A former circus performer, Allison has written for NPR, CBC, the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, Creative Nonfiction, McSweeney’s, Kenyon Review Online and Travelers’ Tales.

Paradise, PA

The Witmer Estate

Retreat to our quiet farmland sanctuary in Amish country. The elegantly restored Witmer Estate holds Victorian charm in 5 private bedrooms, 4 full bathrooms plus powder room, porch, gazebo, and plenty of writing corners.

The Itinerary

Explore & Be Inspired

Re-energize with a local excursion
Quilt Workshop 2 miles
Amish Experience 2 miles
Bird in Hand Farm Market 3 miles
Channel your writing conference energy. You've heard great speakers, gotten new ideas.
Made spontaneous connections and figured out what your book needs.
Now write it.

Understand The Experience

From idea to novel; proposal to memoir.

Your pre-arrival manuscript evaluation includes supportive, specific, written critique of your current draft or proposal, a coaching session, and a customized work plan for your retreat.

On location, you'll have daily guidance and one-on-one sessions.

A post-retreat work plan and follow-up coaching session help you sustain momentum at home.

To give the personal coaching and specific editorial feedback your manuscript needs before, during and after the retreat, participation is limited to four writers.

Rooms are single occupancy.

Each morning, writers set intentions for this reserved time, then work individually in shared spaces. Post-writing check-ins may include short readings, but this is not a "workshop." Allison provides individual guidance as needed. It's like writing at your favorite cafe—with your personal editor on-call.

The rest of the day is for solo writing time, one-on-one meetings, and relaxation or an excursion.

Focused time away from home helps you plow through pages.

Direct, specific feedback helps you write better.

Rebirth Your Book combines a retreat environment with personal editorial assistance. You'll have a work plan to start writing on day one. Need feedback on today's pages? Lost your plot thread? Ask Allison right now—she's across the table.

Pre-arrival session with editorial feedback and your work plan for the retreat.

Scheduled one-on-one time to discuss your draft-in-progress and writing goals. (Allison's available for informal chats and questions all day long.)

Follow-up coaching session to sustain your writing momentum back home.

Rebirth Your Book happens in beautiful, culturally rich locations with great local food and a calm, supportive writing environment. Each retreat includes energy-boosting excursions to heritage sites and outdoor activities.

Your Itinerary

This Week You'll Finish A Draft
Dates TBC—We follow Hippocamp
Chapter 1: Post-Conference August 15th, 2021
Arrive and settle in The Witmer Estate
Welcome Dinner The Witmer Estate
Set Retreat Intentions Dining Room
Chapter 2: And So It Begins August 16, 2021
Breakfast available until 9AM Kitchen/Dining Room
Writing In Company Dining Room
One-on-One Meetings / Open Time Where You Will
Lunch available until 1:30PM Kitchen/Dining Room
Open Time for Writing/Exploring Where You Will
Dinner Dining Room
Chapter 3: The Write Way August 17th, 2021
Breakfast available until 9AM Kitchen/Dining Room
Writing In Company Dining Room
One-on-One Meetings / Open Time Where You Will
Lunch available until 1:30PM Kitchen/Dining Room
Open Time for Writing/Exploring Where You Will
Dinner Dining Room
Chapter 4: Word by Word August 18th, 2021
Breakfast available until 9AM Kitchen/Dining Room
Writing In Company Dining Room
One-on-One Meetings / Open Time Where You Will
Lunch available until 1:30PM Kitchen/Dining Room
Open Time for Writing/Exploring Where You Will
Farewell Dinner Restaurant in town TBA
Chapter 5: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow August 19th 2021
Breakfast available until 9AM Kitchen/Dining Room
And now...
Go home and write some more! (or take a day off)
Ready to Finish Your Book?
Schedule your complimentary 30-minute editorial consultation to start your journey.
Special Package
$ 1975

payment plans available

  • Full MS Evaluation: $1350+
  • Pre-arrival coaching: $135
  • Single Accommodation: $500
  • Meals & Excursions: $225
  • One-on-one Session: $135
  • Editor on call: $425
  • Work plan & follow-up: $135
  • RETREAT VALUE: $2905

Frequently Asked Questions

You probably have a few

Joining the Retreat

it starts with one email

Contact Us

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.

Some writers come with drafts for revision; others arrive with an idea and notes. If your work is still very much in-progress, we'll use the retreat to generate as much of a first draft as possible. In that case, the manuscript evaluation will happen after the retreat and guide you into the next draft.

Our lodging for Rebirth Your Book Lancaster is limited to only participating writers.

Your Travel

get here and get writing

Transfer from the conference hotel in Lancaster, afternoon trips into Lancaster downtown, travel to our farewell dinner, and transfer to Lancaster airport or train station for departure.

Most of Lancaster is wheelable and the pavement is relatively—but not consistently—smooth. Many businesses have steps at their entrances.

The house has three flights of stairs; all bedrooms are on the 2nd and 3rd floors. If you have mobility concerns, let us know.

Allison has worked with writers who are d/Deaf, hearing-impaired, blind, visually-impaired, neuro-atypical and with physical disabilities. She wants to work with you—let's discuss how to make it an excellent experience.

Most meals will be lovingly prepared in our retreat home by Allison.

  • Continental breakfast buffet includes bread, pastries, eggs, cheeses and delicious coffee.
  • Casual lunch buffet includes sandwich fixings, salads, fruit and snacks.
  • Family-style dinners will include salad, main dish, dessert and wine.

A grocery store and farmers market are nearby.

Please advise us of any dietary restrictions (or if you're in recovery) and we will accommodate your needs as much as possible.

Retreat Days

write, relax, write some more

Everyone works on their own manuscript with the energy of a shared writing space. 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!"

At the beginning of each session, we set our intentions for the day. We take a short stretch break at the halfway point. Afterwards, each person shares how their work went and may—but doesn't have to—read a short passage for brief feedback.

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.

Allison will read each writer's full draft (or pile of material or proposal) before arrival, and send you an editorial letter with feedback on concept, voice, themes, plot, story, character and craft. After the evaluation, you'll have an editorial session of about 30 minutes to discuss your work and what you want to accomplish during the retreat. If you're at an early stage and don't have a lot of pages, we can extend the call to discuss your idea, execution and process. During the retreat, you'll have a scheduled one-on-one meeting to discuss how the work 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 retreat 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 editorial call to check in and address questions or new challenges as you finish your draft.

To give each writer the individual and specific attention their manuscript needs, the retreat is limited to four people plus Allison.

Booking & Payment

let's work with your budget

Contact Us

Rebirth Your Book accepts Venmo, Zelle, Canadian e-transfers, US checks, PayPal and credit cards via PayPal. Payments can be made as follows:

  • $500 Deposit on acceptance to reserve your place
  • $500 Payment 90 days prior to start date
  • $500 Payment 60 days prior to start date
  • $475 Balance due 30 days prior to start date

Or talk to us about a plan that works for you.

Rebirth Your Book/Rebirth Your Writing participates in AWP's Kurt Brown Prize, which awards $500 each year to emerging writers in fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction who wish to attend a writers’ conference, center, retreat, festival, or residency. Winners and six finalists also receive a one-year individual membership in AWP. For more information, visit the AWP website.

Before You Arrive:

  • Full read and editorial feedback on your manuscript draft or work so far (a $1350+ value!).
  • Initial call to discuss your work and goals for your Rebirth Your Book time, and answer any travel questions.

In Lancaster:

  • Transfers from the conference hotel and to the airport/train station.
  • Single accommodation in the retreat house.
  • WiFi
  • Focused one-on-one meeting to discuss your work.
  • Daily continental breakfast
  • Water, coffee and tea throughout breakfast and Writing In Company time.
  • Lunches and dinners as indicated on itinerary, including water and non-alcoholic drinks.
  • Farewell dinner.
  • Snacks and drinks throughout the day.

Returning Home:

  • Work plan to finish your draft.
  • Follow-up call 2-4 weeks after returning, to sustain and support your writing momentum.

  • Flights or other transport to the pick-up point in Lancaster.
  • Travel insurance.
  • Personal expenses/shopping/souvenirs.
  • Transport on non-group exploration.

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 on a pro rata basis:

If you have not submitted your manuscript:
you may apply your $500 deposit to another Rebirth Your Book retreat, and you will be refunded any additional payments.

If your initial manuscript read has taken place and you have paid at least $1450:
we will still schedule your two coaching sessions and Work Plan, and you will be refunded payments over $1450. It may be possible to apply your $500 deposit to another retreat on a case-by-case basis.

If we can’t fill your place:
we’ll provide you with documentation to support a claim to your travel insurance provider, but any payments made are nonrefundable. If you have paid at least $1450, you will still receive your manuscript read and coaching sessions.

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 of the retreat in its entirety, 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.

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Want to talk payment plan?
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