Interview with Business Writing Expert Adina Rishe Gewirtz

For 15 years, Adina Gewirtz has been helping struggling writers get organized. Trained as a journalist, and with a master's degree in journalism from the University of Maryland at College Park, she spent her early career freelancing, and then created The Writer's Roadmap based on techniques pioneered by two-time Pulitzer prize winner Jon Franklin. Those techniques were designed to help professional writers structure and execute a well-crafted piece of writing. By translating them into tools even non-professionals could use, Ms. Gewirtz quickly discovered the vast need for such a system by those struggling to write for work or school

By the mid 1990s, she was teaching writing seminars for accounting giant Arthur Andersen LLP. After 2001, she returned to her own writing and again worked with high school and college students. Her recent book, How To Say It: Business Writing That Works (Prentice Hall, 2007), is available at or area bookstores. Another book, The Student Writer's Roadmap, is in the works for struggling writers in college and high school.

You can visit her website at

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Adina. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid, and writing professionally since college, where I trained as a journalist.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

When I began freelancing, I quickly discovered that when people find out you’re a writer, they ask for advice about writing. Almost everybody has to write, and many people struggle with it. I began teaching a system I adapted from a brilliant professor of mine. It’s an outlining system that shapes a piece of writing so that the reader can accept and understand it best. And that turned into my book.

What kind of research was involved in writing How to Say It: Business Writing That Works?

Well, the research began fifteen years earlier, when I began teaching. I had to learn how people learn about writing best, and experience taught me that. By the time I got around to writing the book, there was very little research to do, except for some historical research for some of the funny examples I use in the book.

How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

None. They showed it to me, but my job was the inside, not the outside, of the book.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

I’d say any author has their share of rejections. When you’re going through it, it seems long. When it’s over, it seems like it went pretty quickly.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

One year.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I did have an agent. I don’t have one at the moment.

Do you plan subsequent books?

Definitely. I have one for student writers that’s looking for a home right now.

Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Morning. I like to write when I’ve got the most energy, and that’s in the daylight!

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

Maybe a full-time publicist. That’s a major job!

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

I think self-promotion is essential, because in today’s market, the author needs to represent his or her work. I’ve been concentrating on on-line publicity, and writing coaching, as well as my blog,

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Be persistent, and treat selling your work like a business. Most first-time authors don’t realize that the work doesn’t end when the book is finished.

Thank you for coming, Adina! Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Readers can find me at or at my blog,, where they can also ask me writing questions. My book is available in all major bookstores and on Amazon, or through my website.

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