An online lit festival from

Okay – I want in on this …

Mediabistro Launches Online Literary Festival & Writing Workshops

By Jason Boog on April 13, 2012 3:29 PM

From July 16 through August 1, 2012, Mediabistro will host its first online literary festival and writing workshops.

Author Susan Orlean open LitFest with a keynote speech about the story behind her new book, Rin Tin Tin. It will be a chance to learn from famous writers, meet editors and agents, and workshop your writing project with an online community of writers over three weeks.

Check it out: “This is an innovative online conference and workshop that bridges the best of conferences and online learning: Keynote speeches by world-class authors, with interactive Q&A sessions. Practical how-to sessions from agents, editors, and writers that show you how to put big ideas into immediate practice. Writing workshops with authors and peers. Get feedback on your writing project. Peer interaction: Make connections with other writers from across the globe and participate in our summer reading group.”

Wondering what it costs?  It’s clearly for serious writers: The cost is $400 for AvantGuild members.

But still, I want in…


Learn from the experts

Spring seems to be the ultimate season for those who love to learn, especially authors. In the last week, I’ve seen over a dozen good online courses, teleseminars, or workshops, all offered for free.

One was today. The National Assn. of Memoir Writers ( five-hour teleseminar(!).

Then Stephanie Chandler, of Authority Publishing, one of the power author promoters also issued an interesting blog post today: The 5 habits of successful authors. It’s not possible to summarize her post – go read it, but consider these five keyword.

Commit, Invest, Dedicate, Pursue, and Leverage

Now go read the details. The web continues to offer us an abundance of great information. Be sure you allow a little time on your Saturday to explore a few good resources. Being a successful author requires investing time in your books. If you don’t love your books, who will?


Pen to Press Symposium

Here’s where I am today: The Pen to Digital Press: DIY Publishing in the Digital Age conference – so expect lots of good information to follow. I’ll be scheduling a series of posts on discussions regarding author rights, the digital tangle with ebook piracy, and much more. This event, sponsored by Lawyers for the Creative Arts presents the most relevant information for authors and publishers today. We’re fortunate to have this group in Chicago.

Areas covered include contracts, protecting your ideas, collaborating, use of third-party content, and a host of social media issues. I’ll also be back with lots of good information to share.

Are you writing yet? National Novel Writing Month is underway.

Search the archive here for the NANOWRIMO category, down the left side of this blog, to read a bit of history and the fun of NANOWRIMO from 2009. I don’t have much time this year, but I’m already dipping into the e-inkwell to get some pages done every day.

Don’t feel that you don’t have time, just jump in this year and meet your minimum goal:

Make yourself write every day.


That’s really the appeal of National Novel Writing Month. You needn’t turn out a novel but its fun to have goals.

Please comment here to let us all know if you’re participating this year, and how you’re doing.

Big AWP Conference hits Chicago

We have a rare opportunity to attend a writer’s conference sponsored by the Assn. Of Writers & Writing Programs in Chicago this winter.

2012 Annual Conference & Bookfair
February 29-March 3, 2012
Chicago, Illinois
Hilton Chicago & Palmer House Hilton

Having attended AWP’s conference in the past, I can confirm that “BIG” doesn’t even begin to describe the event. It encompasses 1,627 presenters comprised of 912 (56.05%) women and 715 (43.95%) men.

The AWP Conference line-up presents an astonishing roster of readings and panels.

Your Pajama Marketing task for today is to wander through the panels, and plan to attend this remarkable event. At least one writing organization, Story Studio is offering a discounted conference fee of $140 to its members.

Here’s a teaser:

Being Me (For You): First-Time Memoirists and the Agent Hunt.
Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich, Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams, Julia Cooke, Jane Roper, Mike Scalise
Clear pathways to publication exist for novelists and writers of research-based nonfiction, but what about the first-time memoirist? Finish the full book, like novelists, or start with a proposal? Query or look for agents at a conference? Go with a new agent or one who’s been around the block? Join five first-time memoirists—- each working on a very different project with a different agent—- as they offer clear advice on how to navigate the sometimes-choppy waters ahead.

A Year in the Life of Electronic Publishing.
Jason Reynolds, Guy Shahar, Eric Smith, Matthew Limpede, Matthew Dye
This panel features audio-visual presentations from four of America’s most innovative electronic journals: Carve, Cellpoems, The Cortland Review, and Escape Into Life. The editors of these journals are uniquely qualified to discuss new media and the successes and struggles that electronic journals experience over the course of a year. Topics include incorporating audio and video, distributing via text message, creating revenue streams, handling editorial processes, and maintaining an audience.

Anytown, USA: Representing Place in Fiction.
Ron Hansen, Ladette Randolph, Eric Goodman, Sherrie Flick, Robert Vivian
How do we define place in fiction? Does the location matter? How do place and region shape the writing, and vise versa? This panel aims to answer the larger question of how to define place while also representing the sometimes misunderstood middle coast, featuring authors whose fiction is set in the Heartland, a place many times more clearly defined by what it is not than by what it is.  Each author will share their unique approach to representing place in their writing.

The Art of the Short Story Collection.
Mary Rockcastle, Richard Bausch, Laura van den Berg, Tiphanie Yanique, J. C. Hallman
In the successful short story collection, the individual stories must move, delight, and entertain, and the collection as a whole must do so as well.  What makes a collection of short stories a satisfying whole?  How should it be put together?   What should the writer consider when deciding upon content, placement, length, title?  How easy or hard is it to sell?  Robert Bausch, acknowledged master of the short story form and author of eight collections of short stories, joins three authors of very different, all successful, debut short story collections.  Each will talk about his/her process in creating, shaping, and publishing the short story collection.

See you there,


April: National Library Month

Have you checked out your local library lately? April is National Library Month and most area libraries have a lot of special programming.

Some libraries are jointly involved in Inside Writing & Publishing with loads of special seminars and workshops.

I’ll be participating with the following four library events in April and May:

Topic: 21st Century Publishing Options

April 9, 2011 at 10 am, Fremont Library, Mundelein, IL
April 16, 2011 at Ela Library in Lake Zurich
April 21, 2011 at Des Plaines Library
May 3, 2011 at 7 pm, Niles Public Library

Here’s the full calendar. Note that fab colleagues Sara Wolski and Kelly James-Enger are also on the schedule.

Author’s Pub Date Group

If you’re a member of, you may already know about the group that links you with other writers who have a book coming out the same time as yours.

A Pub Date Group lets you partner with other writers in your area for a book launch, share advertising costs, and compare notes on novel ways to market your new book. AND… you can participate in an Online Launch Party! is an outstanding resource for writers and authors.

What’s stopping you?

September is here and Summer is winding down.Take the Summer Challenge to identify and achieve your writing goals. NAIWE (National Association of Independent Writers & Editors) at provide you this  motivation:  GET IT DONE

NAIWE’s 2010 Summer Challenge: Get It Done!

Summer has started, and we know it can be an off-season for many of you. It doesn’t have to be, though, so we’d like to invite you to enlist in the NAIWE Get It Done 2010 Summer Challenge.

Take the NAIWE 2010 Summer Challenge for writers and editors!The folks at NAIME National Association of Independent Writers and Editors, offer a challenge  to take this summer to learn, grow, and get ready for a busy and successful autumn. There are three parts to the challenge:

  1. Read three books that will stretch your mind and inspire your creative spirit.
  2. Finish one project that’s been nagging at you for longer than you care to admit.
  3. Brainstorm a new project that will bring you an additional stream of income, then take the first step to make it happen.

My goals for the Get It done challenge are:

1. I’m on book two of the three I committed to reading.

2. After attending a conference in July, I haven’t kept my goal of querying one editor each week. I’m back on track now with this.

3. Additional income is easy for any writer with the power of ebooks. I’m issuing a new one in September, and one more by the end of the year. Writing an article for an online marketing is another feasible goal within reach for you.


I’m at Writers & Editors / One-on-One conference in downtown Chicago this weekend, so here’s a quick quote for inspiration today:

Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.
~ Lawrence Kasdan

Thanks to Ronnie L. Smith of Writer’s Relief, Inc.
Visit their Web site at to receive their FREE Writers’ Newsflash, which contains valuable leads, submission guidelines, and deadlines for writing in all genres.

Look over your e-shoulder

Last weekend, I was out of town at a writer’s conference when I posted my weekly update to Pajama Marketing for you. Sitting at a breakfast table, while chatting with an architect about his book proposal, I checked this blog to be sure the post was up. The woman next to me, Eileen Kennedy-Moore, said “Oh, I read that blog!”

It was fun to connect with a reader, and it serves as a reminder to you to put yourself out there, whatever the stage of your writing career. It builds your track record, creates visibility and is certainly an incentive to keep going, especially if there’s an Eileen watching… Eileen, by the way, is the author of three, soon to be four, parenting books. Visit her Amazon page here.

You never know who’s looking over your e-shoulder, so spruce up your website, update your blog, and increase your contributions to your online groups. You’ll maintain visibility at practically no cost, and you’ll meet some very nice people along the way.

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