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Erma Home Schooling

Erma Home Schooling: 5 keynote talks. 4 exclusive workshops. 1 virtual classroomJoin Us in the Virtual Classroom 

Can’t make the creative pilgrimage to Dayton, Ohio, for the April 4-6, 2024, workshop? Erma Home Schooling is for you!

Enjoy our popular keynote talks and learn from renowned faculty who will offer four exclusive workshops* to uplift your writing life.

We’ll focus on craft, publishing and marketing — all the skills (and motivation) you need to take your writing to the next level and find an audience for your work. In our virtual classroom, you’ll hone your creativity, build valuable skills — and discover a wonderfully supportive online writing community.

Check out the remarkable program and register, starting at noon (ET) on Dec. 5. Early bird rate: $199 by March 8. The fee is $225 after March 8.

Come in your PJs or yoga pants. Bring your sense of humor. (And if you have to pop out to take your kid to a Little League game or catch that last exciting quarter of the basketball championships, you can watch any of the recordings later.) All registrants will have unlimited access to the recordings for at least a year.

* The Erma Home Schooling package includes: 

  • Access to five keynotes live-streamed from the in-person Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop being held in Dayton, Ohio, April 4-6, 2024.
  • Access to four online workshops exclusive to this virtual package and not offered to in-person workshop attendees.

 Erma Home Schooling does not include:

  • Access to workshops facilitated at the in-person Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop.

 Please review the computer requirements here and join us in the virtual classroom.


Creator, host and executive producer of Uncabaret, which she has shepherded through more than 25 years of weekly live shows, TV, CDs, streaming and touring. The Los Angeles Times calls her the “godmother of alternative comedy.”

Read More About Beth

New York Times bestselling author of 23 novels for adults and teenagers. Her first novel, The Deep End of the Ocean, was the inaugural Oprah’s Book Club selection; it was adapted into a film starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

Read More About Jacquelyn

Author of three books; creator and host of the daily podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books; and founder and CEO of Zibby Media. Vulture dubbed her "NYC's Most Powerful Book-fluencer."

Read More About Zibby

USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of five memoirs and 12 novels. Writes fiction under his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the Ozarks seamstress whose sacrifices changed his family’s life. Writer’s Digest named him “The #2 Writer, Dead or Alive, We’d Like to Have Drinks With” (he was sandwiched between Ernest Hemingway and Hunter Thompson).

Read More About Wade

Novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist whose work has appeared on fiction, nonfiction and self-help bestseller lists.

Read More About Anna


Award-winning New York Times bestselling author, New Yorker cartoonist and NYU adjunct professor. 

Read More About Bob

Editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential publishing industry newsletter for authors, and author of The Business of Writing. She brings nearly 25 years of experience in the publishing industry, with a focus on author education and trend reporting.

Read More About Jane

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author; marketing and brand expert; former vice president of global communications for Estee Lauder.

Read More About Eva

Founder and director of the Phoenix Writers Network, freelance writer, editor, writing coach and the author of two memoirs, Halfway to Each Other: How a Year in Italy Brought Our Family Home and A Time To Seek: Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality at Midlife.

Read More About Susan

Author of a top-selling humor writing book, Comedy Writing Secrets, popular speaker and an award-winning professor of psychology at Ohio University Zanesville, where he teaches humor writing and researches the benefits of humor. 

Read More About Mark

The Sessions

Bob Eckstein and Mark Shatz

The most potent humor is creative, unexpected and visual, yet writers can only use words to be funny. In this interactive presentation, a cartoonist and psychologist share valuable insights from their fields to show writers how to craft more captivating humor. Attendees will learn humor principles, such as audience awareness, exaggeration, simplification, relatability, atmosphere and emotion. Through a rich array of cartoons and writing examples, attendees will develop practical techniques for enhancing humor and enlivening scenes. By harnessing the power of illustration and psychological concepts, writers can create funnier content that resonates with readers and sparks their imagination.

Read More About Presenters Mark Shatz and Bob Eckstein

Susan Pohlman

Everyone has a natural writer within, and everyone has something meaningful to say. Our lives hold many tales, but how do we bring our personal and family stories to life on the page in a compelling manner? This interactive workshop will explore the art and craft of memoir. It will include writing exercises to get you started! 

Read More About Presenter Susan Pohlman

Jane Friedman

Once an author steps away from the traditional publishing path (whether by choice or necessity), a whole new decision tree comes into play. Do you want to undertake the self-publishing process? Do you want to pay a company to assist you? Or would it be better to consider hybrid publishers?

What makes this decision all the more fraught is that the investment you make can be substantial. Whether you self-publish or hybrid publish, you're often paying well into the four figures and — more often than not — in the five figures. Especially if you're watching your budget, it's natural to feel a lot of pressure over this choice.

This session covers everything you need to know about the self-publishing, hybrid publishing and paid publishing services landscape, in plain English. You'll come away with a clear picture of how these companies work, how they are different from each other and how it all compares to what professional, self-publishing authors do.

We'll cover the best practices of hybrid publishers; e.g., they conduct some level of gatekeeping and offer value that the author would have a hard time securing independently. We'll also talk a lot about the financials of these arrangements, because once you pay thousands of dollars to publish, it reduces the likelihood you’ll make a profit on book sales. Every author should go in with eyes wide open and spend only what they can truly afford.

By the end of this class, you'll be able to assess if you are well-suited to self-publishing your work, either as a complete independent (by setting up your own publishing company) or with the help of a service — or if you would benefit from what a hybrid publisher offers.

Read More About Presenter Jane Friedman

Eva Lesko Natiello

When authors ask, "Do I really need to market my book?" There's only one answer: "Only if you want to sell it." Have you published a book but wish your sales were more robust? Are you about to publish and want to put marketing strategies in place to strengthen your launch? The truth is that no matter how you publish these days, authors need to contribute to the marketing. This talk is designed for all authors, indie or traditional, introvert or extrovert, fiction or non-fiction. Learn actionable marketing strategies that even the most introverted author will not balk at. Instead of thinking of marketing as a negative, grab ahold of the power you have, and get your book noticed. This online workshop includes an exclusive component: How To Run An Instagram Book Tour. Getting your book seen by thousands on Instagram is an important strategy for book visibility at launch, or to refresh interest and sales once the book has been out. Learn how to not only effectively run a book tour on Instagram, but to successfully leverage all opportunities for maximum exposure. 

Read More About Presenter Eva Lesko Natiello

The Schedule (subject to change)

7 p.m., Thursday April 4 — Keynoter Anna Quindlen

12:45 p.m., Friday April 5 — Keynoter Zibby Owens

2:00-3:15 p.m., Friday April 5 — Humor Your Readers Can Visualize: How to Make Writing Funnier (Bob Eckstein and Mark Shatz)

3:35-4:50 p.m., Friday April 5 — Memoir: Putting Life Into Words (Susan Pohlman)

7 p.m., Friday April 5 — Keynoter Beth Lapides 

12:45 p.m., Saturday April 6 — Keynoter Jacquelyn Mitchard

10:35-11:50 a.m., Saturday April 6 — Hybrid Publish or Self Publish? (Jane Friedman)

2-3:15 p.m., Saturday April 6 — Find Your Readers: The Ultimate Book Marketing Workshop + Exclusive Component: How to Run an Instagram Book Tour (Eva Lesko Natiello)

7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 6 — Keynoter Wade Rouse

All times are ET.

(To cover our administrative costs, there's a 10 percent cancellation fee before March 8. Registrations are 50 percent refundable after that, with no refunds given after April 1. Please email