(CHICAGO, IL) -- A Chicagoland start-up in online coaching for aspiring book writers looks to benefit from pandemic-inspired changes in American culture. Journey Sixty6 is an online peer-learning and coaching community for aspiring writers.
“For many, the pandemic created space for people to refocus their energies on forgotten or tabled projects like book writing,” says Journey Sixty6 co-founder, Melissa Parks. “Some Americans appear to be rethinking what’s important and what they want to accomplish in life. Writing a book falls into that bucket.”
Journey Sixty6’s main product is Roadtrippers, a weekly live Q&A with co-founders Parks and Dave Goetz on writing, publishing, and book promotion. The monthly membership is $66, and subscribers also receive access to Roadtrippers’ online course as well as a library of interview clips with authors on practical writing, publishing, and promotion advice. Topics include how to find a book agent, tips on writing a successful book proposal, and ideas for setting aside time to write.
Co-founders Parks and Goetz based the name “Journey Sixty6” on the historic and iconic American highway, Route 66. Both Parks and Goetz live in the Chicago area, and the easternmost terminus of Route 66 is downtown Chicago. “Writing a book is like going on a long road trip,” says Goetz, who is the author of Death by Suburb: How to Keep the Suburbs from Killing Your Soul (HarperOne). “There are a lot of stops along the way. Our mission at Journey Sixty6 is to help aspiring writers reach their destination – to influence the world with their words.”
While their destination is the same, the authors in Roadtrippers are diverse in their interests. Some are aspiring writers who simply want to learn the process of publishing and how to improve their writing chops. Others are in the idea formation phase and want to sharpen their book idea. Still others are in the middle of writing memoirs, trade books, and spirituality books, to name a few types of books. And all are at various stages of completion. Some are even in the process of pitching their book idea to a publisher and developing promotion plans.
“Roadtrippers is a way to stay accountable to goals authors have set,” says Goetz.
In a peer setting, Roadtrippers benefit from the support of other writers who are ahead of them on the book writing journey. “I don’t get shamed whether I write or not, but I learn something every time I join,” says Roadtripper Cathy Carroll, a family business coach. “I credit the group for my renewed energy in writing my book. Every once in a while, I think I help others in the group, too.”
Roadtrippers opens its enrollment six times a year. Parks and Goetz also co-host a weekly podcast on book writing called Journey Sixty6 Book Writing Podcast, which can be found on all the major podcast platforms, including Spotify and iTunes.