Register your interest for our next Bali Retreat in February, 2024

Write a Bestseller


Join me in the tropical paradise of Bali to turn your knowledge and ideas into a bestselling book


It brings respect, a flood of new fans & prospects, and new opportunities you probably couldn’t even imagine right now. I know because I’ve experienced it and helped many others do the same. I’d been working in my field for years but was surprised at how with a book suddenly I was more of an expert in the eyes of others and how when I shared my story, people connected with me in a new way.

And now I want to show you how to make it happen for yourself in the Write a Bestseller Retreat Bali.

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I’ll walk you through proven strategies for conceiving and writing a bestselling book based on 30 years of combined experience bookselling, writing, coaching, commissioning, agenting, and publishing.


  • How do I start to write about my life, my story, what I’ve learnt?
  • How do I write a book that truly changes lives – and perhaps even changes the way everyone thinks about my subject area?
  • How do I pick out the bestselling concept amongst all my ideas? 
  • What’s the key to a killer title?
  • How do I structure my book?
  • How do I stay motivated to get it written?
  • How do I know my book will be successful?
  • How do I write a proposal that can win me a book deal?
  • How can I pitch my book and make it a bestseller?

I’ll answer all of these questions and more in the Write a Bestseller  Bali Retreat.

“I know I wouldn’t have, gotten as much down as I have now, and written the beginning of my book and outlined the whole thing and actually pitched to a publisher and an agent” – Cait


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And we’ll be making the most of our location with a wonderful resort location.

Come to Bali and add some time before or after the event as a holiday – or do as I do and work remotely for a little while. I can tell you about places to visit and the shared workspaces where you can meet other creatives & remote workers.

I have been visiting Ubud for over 20 years for its stunning mixture of local culture, warm weather, creative community, natural tropical beauty and modern luxury. The landscape is truly beautiful, the food is great (with an emphasis on healthy living) and there is a thriving ‘digital nomad’ community of people from the West running online businesses.


A bestselling book will bring followers, fans and clients to you instead of you having to go hunt for them. And even better, they already know, like and trust you because they’ve read your book.

And a beautiful bonus for the self employed; people will pay a lot more to hire the author of the book they love.

You will also get invited to give keynote speeches, appear on radio, TV and podcasts, give interviews for newspapers and magazines and get invited to all sorts of opportunities you can barely imagine right now.

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If you start with the right idea your book can not only become a bestseller but also serve as a 24-hour marketing tool for you and your ideas. This is life-changing if you work for yourself, run a business or you’re currently in a job and would like to build your personal brand. If you want to move into a new area or develop a passion or hobby, this works for you too.


“The Bestseller Programme has enabled me to think of writing the book in a different way that is going to make it more likely to connect with the reader and more likely to be more interesting, more usable and a better book – which I would not have been able to do on my own.” – Ken Rea


The rewards of a successful book are numerous but the chances of achieving your goal are lower when you try to do it all on your own. Finding a commercial idea for your book and writing it in a way that positions it for success aren’t something that comes naturally to us. On top of that you need to create a great proposal, find an agent, get a deal and develop a strategy both to market the book and make sure that the book markets you in the right way once it’s out. For these reasons, it is rare to see someone succeed on their own.

All too often people with great ideas and expertise spent a lot of time and energy writing a book that they don’t love, that they’re not proud of. They feel disappointed and frustrated. And that is a shame when some expert guidance would have produced a completely different result.

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The challenge, even if you’re an avid reader of non-fiction, is to think like a publisher. And to do that you need guidance from people on the inside of the book business.

jacq burns

Introducing your guide to the inside world of publishing

Jacq Burns was commissioning editor at Random House & Editorial Director at Harper Collins where she edited classics such as Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus, Who Moved My Cheese,Chicken Soup for the Soul, and Toddler Taming – which have sold millions of copies.

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She is the author of Write a Bestseller, published by Hodder, and a bestselling series of successful books for Random House, under a pseudonym.  Jacq has also ghostwritten a number of well-known titles and she co-founded The London Writers Club. She is a literary agent for non-fiction authors.

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How does the Write a Bestseller Bali Retreat work?


We give you a simple fill-in-the-blanks document to help you start to capture your ideas for the book and also bring us up to speed with your thinking. We’ll then review it in advance so we know all about you, about your ideas, your passion and your career/business.

You’ll then have a skype session with Jacq to discuss your idea and to set you some pre-retreat homework. 

Each day will begin with a workshop followed by lunch and free writing time and then a Q and A over drinks.  Everyone will receive one-to-one time throughout the retreat, including a booked private session during the retreat to go over your idea. Jacq will meet you at whatever stage you are at and set appropriate work for your free writing sessions each day. Here are some ideas for how we will work. I write the final programme to suit the needs of every group member. 


We meet for lunch at a gorgeous, tropical Bali retreat centre overlooking rice paddies, we’ll share, spilling out our ideas, and making them more real. I’ll help you make them as big and bold as you dare, and then some. I’ve a lot of collected wisdom and experience to throw at it and you’ve got it all inside anyway, just waiting to be pulled out, so magic will happen.

I’ll lead you through finding the bestselling concept out of your passions. And learn how to tell a strong story, the one that’s burning inside of you.

You’ll get clear about the purpose of your book and the journey you’re taking your readers on and how to make sure they’ll want you holding their hand for a wonderful ride.

You’ve worked hard today so next you’ll perhaps have a chat to other great minds and/ or maybe just retire and sleep on it. You’ll be getting ready to refine your concept and premise tomorrow so your overnight job is easy, just mulling over your beautiful idea. Letting it accompany you as you float off to sleep.

(Take your notebook everywhere, even to bed. Whether it’s mid beer or papaya juice, or 3am, scribble or draw anything that comes to you about your book. Let it all flow.)


Back to the rice paddy view early with banana pancakes and juice we’ll make your idea even better.

Creative Fire-up – Gentle Movement and short meditation  (we can do these daily if people want to – I’ve a 3-year Meditation qualification)

Today is all about the big picture, what is this big beautiful thing that will open new doors and make things happen for you? Let’s work one-to-one with you, and make it even more gorgeous.

Helping you with a deep yet playful understanding of your idea and what your book can be. Play it out in words, pictures, slogans and anything you want. We will establish what your premise is and how the can unfold throughout a book.

You’ll see how your book works and start to understand the style of book you are writing, how you will journey and share with your readers, and how your eventual pitch will reflect that in a stunning and original way that’s uniquely yours.

In individual work and feedback time the magic will keep on happening.

You’ll have a compelling process or approach that is captured in your book and built into a related offer in your business. Jacq will show you how your book can be based, so beautifully, on your own life and experience that only you can write this book.  In other words, you’ll have a killer story, or piece of Intellectual property that nobody else has or can steal. It’s all yours, it’s your unique and magical point of difference.

In the afternoon, you’ll rest and write, write and rest. Before dinner we will meet for drinks to discuss: How will you share your idea in the world?


Storymap playtime. What style of book will you write and how should you structure and write it. 

Jacq will help you to define and refine your structure and chapters. The containers you will fill. We map our books out on A3 paper or giant post-its. 

Free writing in the afternoon: Beginning to get your chapters sketched out and written. (or polished if you already have chapters)

Troubleshooting. Open workshop. All the help you need on getting your chapters sketched out and written.


All about the publishing industry. From the gossip (over lunch) to what publishers and agents are looking for – including the secret Penguin checklist – to developing your own book proposal and pitch. 

Free writing in the afternoon: work on your book proposal which includes sample chapters from Day 3. 


Our morning workshop will focus on your next steps, giving you an action plan that you’ll take to keep your book going once you’re home.

Let it all sink in, deepen and grow. The good news is you’re not on the own. In fact you have a deep-dive one-to-one live session by video conference.

Jacq will further help you to nail your deal-winning proposal. She covers a lot of ground in these private sessions – that’s why we record them and send it to you afterwards so that you can listen in again and take notes.

“I absolutely loved working with you on this, Jacq – firstly and rather obviously because you have been very encouraging (big thank you!!) –  but secondly because this kind of thinking and commentary from another (and highly experienced) viewpoint and a second pair of eyes is not just fantastically valuable feedback, it is highly inspirational.” – Alan

Imagine after the Write a Bestseller Bali Retreat you have…

  • Your book idea to set the world alight…. NAILED!
  • Your irresistible book title & subtitle… NAILED!
  • Your book structure planned out so you know what you’re writing each time you sit down to it… NAILED!
  • Your deal-winning proposal drafted…READY!
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The price covers the full five day retreat in Bali. Your own double accommodation with ensuite for four nights, a goody bag, materials, and one-to-one, mentorship time. It also includes, breakfast, lunch and non-alcoholic refreshments on all days. It includes a welcome dinner including drinks on Day 1. It also includes a pre-retreat coaching session and a follow-up after the retreat.
A welcome massage is also included for you to enjoy in our massage hut during the retreat.

(*Non-writers are welcome if sharing with you – price on request. A programme of activities such as biking, jungle hiking, hot springs, or even just traditional massage and spa, eating and shopping, can be put together for them.) Exclusions:
Flights are not included. A massage therapist is available on request for additional treatments. Except for Day 1, dinner is not included as we have a large lunch, and we’ve found that most people like to explore Ubud, to shop and to visit the night market in the evening. There is a shuttle to central Ubud for shopping and eating out. Or a local restaurant can deliver if you would like to eat dinner in your room or the villa.

Alcoholic drinks are not included except for our welcome dinner. (Though I am prone to mixing pink gins for us when we’ve worked hard) You are welcome to bring drinks such as spirits, beer or wine. There is a fridge available.

If you’d like to be on the waiting list for the next Write a Bestseller Bali Retreat, send a quick email and register your interest.

Jacq x

“Jacq gave me the focus, the motivation and the expertise to complete the job. With her help you increase your chances of winning ten-fold. I was delighted to earn over £20,000 from my book before it was launched!” – Tom Isaacs.