Finish Your Book

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

Come and write...in peace.

August 2023 (mini-retreat)
Save the date!
Your rebirth begins in...
Rebirth Your Book in Lancaster 2023 Rediscover your novel or memoir and your desire for the page.
Personal editorial feedback & Coaching
An intimate, focused group.
A revival of your creative self
"Allison, working with you and the retreat have totally transformed me
as a writer...at 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 plan to finish your book.
The Witmer Estate

Paradise,
PA, USA

4 days/4 nights

August 13th - 17th, 2023 (TBC)

Personal Guidance

Allison K Williams, "The Unkind Editor" provides editorial feedback on 75 pages plus your synopsis or chapter summaries, and personal 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. 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.

Unsure if we're a fit? Need feedback now? Book Allison for a one-time coaching meeting or editorial consultation here.

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 from Hippocamp. 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
lone author to literary citizen

Your pre-arrival manuscript evaluation includes supportive, specific, written critique of up to 50 pages (plus your synopsis or chapter summaries), a coaching session, and a customized work plan for your retreat.

On location, you'll have daily guidance, craft seminars and a one-on-one session.

A post-retreat work plan, feedback on an additional 25 pages 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.

After a morning craft talk and generative writing exercise, writers work individually in shared spaces, revising their new writing, incorporating it into existing work, or focusing on their current project. Post-writing check-ins may include sharing short sections, 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. Informal chats and writing talk throughout the day.

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
August 13-17, 2023 TBC—We follow Hippocamp
Chapter 1: Post-Conference August 13th, 2023
4:30PM
Arrive and settle in The Witmer Estate
6:00PM
Welcome Dinner The Witmer Estate
7:30PM
Set Retreat Intentions Dining Room
Chapter 2: And So It Begins August 14, 2023
7:00AM
Breakfast available until 9AM Kitchen/Dining Room
9:00AM
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Dining Room
11:30AM
Live Editing or Publishing Chat Dining Room
12:30PM
Lunch available until 1:30PM Kitchen/Dining Room
1:30PM
Open Time for Writing/Exploring Where You Will
6:00PM
Dinner Dining Room
Chapter 3: The Write Way August 15th, 2023
7:00AM
Breakfast available until 9AM Kitchen/Dining Room
9:00AM
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Dining Room
11:30AM
Live Editing or Publishing Chat Dining Room
12:30PM
Lunch available until 1:30PM Kitchen/Dining Room
1:30PM
Open Time for Writing/Exploring Where You Will
6:00PM
Dinner, and a casual group reading Dining Room
Chapter 4: Word by Word August 16th, 2023
7:00AM
Breakfast available until 9AM Kitchen/Dining Room
9:00AM
Morning Craft Talk & Writing In Company Dining Room
11:30AM
Live Editing or Publishing Chat Where You Will
12:00PM
Lunch available until 1:30PM Kitchen/Dining Room
1:30PM
Open Time for Writing/Exploring Where You Will
6:00PM
Farewell Dinner Amish Restaurant
Chapter 5: Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow August 17th 2023
7:00AM
Breakfast available until 9AM Kitchen/Dining Room
10:00AM
Departures
And now...
Go home and write some more! (or take a day off)
Ready to Finish Your Book?
Schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation to start your journey.
Special Package
$ 2495

payment plans available

  • Editorial feedback on 75 pages+: $900+
  • Pre-arrival coaching: $195
  • Single Accommodation: $550
  • Meals & Excursions: $275
  • One-on-one Session: $185
  • Editor on call: $525
  • Work plan & follow-up: $195
  • RETREAT VALUE: $2835
  • YOU PAY: $2495

Not ready yet? Fill out the contact form below to join our mailing list.

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 in any genre, 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. (English need not be your mother tongue.)
  • You DON'T need a degree in writing (or anything else!).
  • You DON'T need previous publication credits.

You're not reading others' work in advance, so the experience level of your fellow writers isn't a big factor in your work.

No problem! Your pages for feedback can be part of a book, a series of essays, or an idea and notes. If you're working on a book, we'll look at your synopsis and (proposed) chapter summaries with your pages.

If you're starting from an idea, or exploring your writing life, we'll use your pre-arrival coaching to set goals for your time. In that case, you can choose to submit your entire 75 pages after the retreat and we'll guide you forward.

Our lodging for Rebirth Your Book Lancaster is limited to only participating writers. Our retreat in Tuscany allows travel partners/spouses to attend.

Your Travel

get here and get writing

Transfer from the conference hotel in Lancaster, group excursions to area sights, 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. Our retreat is in a restored farmhouse surrounded by mostly level grassy lawn.

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 and dessert.

A grocery store and farmers markets 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 have a short craft lesson with a writing prompt. Writers can then work further on the prompt; take the writing prompt into their manuscript; or work on whatever they are excited to work on that 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.



During Live-Editing, you'll be able to glean lessons for your own work from watching others, as well as having your turn in the (optional) spotlight.

You'll receive feedback on up to 50 pages before arrival, plus your synopsis or chapter summaries if desired. After the retreat, you'll receive feedback on another 25 pages of revisions or new work.

In your pre-retreat coaching session, we'll discuss your concept, voice, story, character and craft, as well as what you want to accomplish during the retreat, and set out a specific Work Plan. If you're at an early stage and don't have a lot of pages, we'll focus on your idea, purpose 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 or five 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. A $500 deposit on acceptance reserves your place.

Balance can be paid as follows:

  • Balance due July 1st
  • OR 4 monthly payments of $500 and a 4th payment of $495

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

We offer a $100 discount for payment via check, Venmo, Zelle, direct deposit or e-transfer (when we don't pay credit card fees, we pass the savings to 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:

  • Editorial feedback on 75 pages plus your chapter summaries or synopsis (a $900+ 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 in the retreat house
  • Focused one-on-one meeting to discuss your work.
  • Daily continental breakfast
  • Water, juice, 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 at a traditional Amish restaurant.
  • 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.


We will update this cancellation policy in April 2023, based on travel safety and pandemic situation. Below is our general policy:


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.


THE FINE PRINT
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.

Have another question?
Want to talk payment plan or health & safety?
contact us
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