Literary Festival
Connect with other writers. Workshop your project.
Learn insider tips for getting published. All online!
July 16 – August 1, 2012
produced by Mediabistro
and GalleyCat


The Mediabistro Literary Festival will include six inspiring conference sessions via live video on Mondays and Wednesdays from noon to 1 pm ET, from July 16 until August 1. Attendees will also participate in one small group writing workshop that takes place online during the three weeks of the conference. See full workshop list.

Monday, July 16

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Opening Keynote With Author Susan Orlean Author and journalist Susan Orlean has written two nonfiction works that have been the basis of films. Her 1998 book The Orchid Thief, about orchid grower John Laroche, formed the basis of the film Adaptation. Susan Orlean was portrayed by Meryl Streep in an Oscar-nominated role. An article she wrote for magazine about young surfer girls in Maui was the basis of the film Blue Crush. Orlean's latest book, Rin Tin Tin, turns the tables to examine the biographical history of the dog actor Rin Tin Tin. In this LitFest opening keynote, she will discuss what drives her as a writer and how her new book came to fruition.

Wednesday, July 18

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Keynote with Novelist Elissa Schappell A contributing editor at Vanity Fair and founding editor of Tin House, Elissa Schappell brings a literary editor's keen eye to her fiction writing. She is the author of two novels of linked stories, including Use Me, which was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Her latest novel, Blueprints for Building Better Girls, has earned impressive reviews. Kirkus Reviews writes: ʺDespite the talent for arch comedy that Schappell and her characters share, the tragic dimension of each story sears the heart.ʺ In this LitFest keynote, she will discuss her work and take questions from the audience.

Monday, July 23

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
5 Secrets for Wicked Good Prose Voice and style are essential components of good writing, but how can a writer develop those skills? Veteran reporter and editor Constance Hale, author of Sin & Syntax, shares her 5 essential tips that writers of all experience levels can apply to their craft. In this how-to session, she'll provide techniques and insights about powerful language and show examples designed to inspire you as you take on ambitious literary projects.
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
How To Use Video To Capture New Readers From multimedia eBooks to book "trailers", video is now a vital part of publishing. Former BBC & Reuters reporter Manoush Zomorodi's new enhanced eBook, Camera Ready, is a guide to presenting yourself well on camera and making quality video content. She'll explain how new publishing platforms are making it easy to include audio and video in eBooks plus give you tips and techniques for using video to market your writing and connect with readers.

Monday, July 30

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
How To Build A Social Media Platform for Your Book with Jason Boog Mediabistro Publishing editor Jason Boog will share how he built a social media platform for his debut book, Will Write for Change: How New York City Writers Survived the Great Depression. The how-to session will include advice for using Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Facebook to talk about your book. He will also cover strategies for pitching your book to blogs, magazines and online outlets.
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Keynote: Unconventional Publicity: How Rebecca Skloot Made Her Debut Science Book Into a Best-Seller Science writer Rebecca Skloot spent 10 years researching and writing her debut nonfiction book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, about the cell line (known as HeLa) that came from Henrietta Lacks, a poor, black Southern tobacco farmer in the 1950s. The cells were taken without her knowledge and, over the decades, were vital in developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the atom bomb’s effects; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. The book raises issues of medical ethics, civil rights, race, and culture. When Skloot's book came out in 2010 she self-funded a national book tour that continues today. In this keynote discussion, moderated by GalleyCat editor Jason Boog, she will explain what propelled her to shun the advice that book tours are dead.

Wednesday, August 1

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Overcome Obstacles To Become the Writer You Want to Be J.K. Rowling's manuscript for Harry Potter was rejected by 12 publishing houses before it turned the author into a global sensation and a billionaire. Nearly every successful writer has overcome rejection, and many have faced periods of doubt or writer's block. In this practical and inspiring session, author and psychologist Sarah Fine will draw on principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy to help writers understand and better deal with barriers that interfere with productivity, creativity, and happiness. She will discuss how to identify and challenge the thoughts that crush motivation and make writers want to throw in the towel, as well as the coping strategies proven to help individuals sustain a healthy mindset while pursuing publication. (She also thinks J.K. Rowling got off pretty easy, with only 12 rejections!)

Friday, August 10

11:00 am - 12:00 pm
The Literary Agent's Wishlist: Multimedia Ideas for Print, Digital, Film & TV Agents used to look for that singular idea that would resonate with publishers and, ultimately, readers. In the digital age, things aren't quite so simple. Literary agent Jason Allen Ashlock wants ideas that can start as books, evolve online, and be developed into film or TV concepts. He'll share what he looks for in a pitch and what types of ideas agents can't get enough of right now.

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