Digging Deep into the Heart of Your Story
November 3, 2017
Get out your shovel and spades! In this online conference with experts in writing and publishing, you’re going to learn what’s necessary to make your memoir go from a collection of hazy memories to a gripping story that makes your reader stay up late at night. And, of course, the more you know about the publishing and marketing of your book, the more readers you will have.
Writing a memoir will force you to examine your story beyond the surface of what happened–to the multiple layers underneath those events, both desire and truth. Beth Kephart will explore the necessary path of digging into your truth, while Dinty W. Moore will show us how to analyze and develop the craft necessary to make your story work on the page.
There are many ways to tell a story. Elizabeth Rosner has just published a hybrid book–woven from both personal narrative and what’s called “narrative nonfiction,” which offers a larger angle on her themes.
On your writing journey, you may stress about the later stages of birthing your memoir, but there’s no need. Stephanie Chandler and Elizabeth Turnbull will guide you painlessly, or almost, to considering the future life of your book out in the world with strategies and tips that work.
The Story Cure: A Pain Free Guide to Starting and Finishing Your Memoir
Dinty W. Moore
Dinty will discuss what he has learned writing his own memoirs, mentoring countless writers with their book projects over the past twenty years, and teaching the memoir genre at workshops in the US and abroad.
Writing any book is a long journey that takes determination and focus. The effort is painstaking, but it needn’t be painful. There are common mistakes every writer makes, common obstacles that either send us in the wrong direction or leave us stranded somewhere mid-chapter. But there are also common cures: ways to make the book better, engage the reader more deeply, and make the act of writing – hard as it is – a fulfilling journey rather than an agonizing one.
- What drives every great memoir?
- What is the Invisible Magnetic River?
- I’m stuck halfway through my memoir: how do I get unstuck?
- I’m stuck on page one: where do I begin?
- What makes the reader turn the page?
- What is the difference between “telling too much” and allowing reader participation?
- What’s the best way to revise?
- Do I need an agent? Should I self-publish? How do I handle the “business” end of writing?
Dinty W. Moore is author of The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir, the memoir Between Panic & Desire, and many other books. He has published essays and stories in The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, Harpers, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Arts & Letters, The Normal School, and elsewhere. Moore has won many awards for his writing, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. He edits Brevity, an online journal of flash nonfiction, and lives in Athens, Ohio, where he grows heirloom tomatoes and edible dandelions.
Can You Tell the Truth? Can You Make it Matter?
I’m so pleased to discuss writing the truth with Beth Kephart. Her first book, Handling the Truth, leads us as memoir writers into the thicket of truth–there are often many levels of “truth” show up as we write our memoir. Beth is going to talk about these complications in our teleseminar today. As a memoir writer, I can attest to the challenges that writing “the truth” brings to the process of writing my story.
There are, in the telling of our stories, so many shades of gray, the tricks that memory plays. The things we wished had happened. The insights that, had we actually had them in the moment, would make for such an interesting true tale.
But how do we honor the truth, as we remember it? How do we make honesty and authenticity the most powerful story of all?
We’ll talk about that during our time together. We’ll reflect on ways to:
We’ll share some writing prompts from my illustrated memoir workbook, Tell the Truth. Make It Matter to get you started.
Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of 22 books—including six memoirs and two books on the writing of memoir—and the 2015/2016 recipient of the Beltran Family Award for Innovative Teaching and Mentoring at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kelly Writers House. Handling the Truth: On the Writing of Memoir won the 2013 Books for a Better Life Award (Motivational Category and was named a best writing book by O Magazine, Poets & Writers, and many others. Tell the Truth. Make It Happen., recently released, is now being adopted by high school classrooms, book clubs, memoir teachers, and retirement homes. Kephart’s other books include Love: A Philadelphia Affair, Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River, and acclaimed novels for teens. Kephart is a National Book Award finalist and an NEA and Pew grant winner. She’s lectured about memoir in venues across the country and writes frequently on the topic for Chicago Tribune. She is a partner in Juncture Workshops, offering memoir resources and workshops.
MEMOIR AS HYBRID: Blending Forms to Suit Your Story
Award-winning novelist and poet Elizabeth Rosner will discuss the variety of methods she used to write her first book of nonfiction, SURVIVOR CAFÉ: The Legacy of Trauma and the Labyrinth of Memory (Counterpoint 2017). As Pulitzer winner Viet Nguyen describes it: “Mixing the personal with the historical and the literary with the scholarly, Rosner achieves a breathtaking overview of events as varied as the Holocaust, the Vietnam War, the Rwandan genocide, and Japanese American internment.” In this online presentation, Rosner, who has taught writing for more than 30 years, will share her strategies and tools for weaving her complex and wide-ranging narrative into a “staggering work of intellectual vigor and raw emotion” (author Aline Ohanesian).
- choosing your themes
- focusing your lens
- gathering your sources
- shaping your structure
- deepening your own voice
Elizabeth Rosner is a bestselling novelist, poet, and essayist living in Berkeley, California. Her third novel, ELECTRIC CITY, published in 2014, was named among the best books of the year by National Public Radio. Her poetry collection, GRAVITY, was also published in 2014. THE SPEED OF LIGHT, Rosner’s acclaimed debut novel in 2001, was translated into nine languages. Short-listed for the Prix Femina, the book won several literary prizes in both the US and Europe. BLUE NUDE, her second novel, was selected as one of the best books of 2006 by the San Francisco Chronicle. Rosner’s essays and poems have appeared in the NY Times Magazine, Elle, Poetry Magazine, and numerous anthologies. Her book reviews appear frequently in the San Francisco Chronicle.
Build Your Online Book Marketing Plan:
Simple Strategies to Increase Website Traffic, Build Buzz and Sell More Books
Before self-publishing her first book, Stephanie Chandler decided to build an audience online. The success of that effort led to corporate sponsorships, major media coverage, product sales, and a variety of other opportunities. In this content-rich presentation, she shares strategies that authors can use to develop a marketing plan focused on building an audience online.
You will learn how to:
- Build an effective book marketing plan
- Identify and attract your ideal audience online
- Leverage blogging to increase site traffic and sales
- Conduct interviews with internet media sources
- Use articles, podcasts, videos, and content marketing tactics to boost traffic
- Expand revenues with information products
- Utilize Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest—all without a big time commitment (really!)
With so much competition in the publishing field, it is critical that authors build a marketing plan that works. Whether you already have one, two or twenty books to your credit or you are just getting started; a plan that includes effective internet marketing strategies can have a dramatic impact on your publishing success.
Stephanie Chandler is the author of nine books including The Nonfiction Book Marketing Plan: Online and Offline Promotion Strategies to Build Your Audience and Sell More Books. Stephanie is also founder and CEO of NonfictionAuthorsAssociation.com, a vibrant educational community for experienced and aspiring writers and NonfictionWritersConference.com, an annual event conducted entirely online. A frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, she has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, BusinessWeek, Inc.com, and Wired magazine. For author and speaker information, visit StephanieChandler.com.
Professionalism Matters: How to avoid killing your book
Nothing kills a new title’s prospects faster than an amateur presentation. But how does the publishing industry define a professional book? And how can a self-published or hybrid author present a book every bit as strong as if it were published by the Big 5?
Elizabeth Turnbull is Senior Editor with Light Messages Publishing and an executive board member with the Independent Book Publishers Association. She teamed up with industry leaders to help define the Industry Standards for a Professionally Published Book. In this session, Elizabeth will review the standards and explain their application to your memoir.
She’ll guide you through all the elements a book must include as well as the design and production quality every professional book must meet. During this session, you’ll review the industry terms and standards as well as learn how to apply them to your memoir. You’ll also learn how to evaluate the titles from potential publishers against this checklist as part of your vetting process.
You’ll walk away with a copy of the checklist and the knowledge to apply it.
What you’ll learn:
- The elements you must have to create a successful and professional book
- The standards that publishers use that define a polished book
- About cover and interior design–and what makes a book look professionally designed
- How your title matters
- What professionalism in publishing means and how to make it work in your book
Elizabeth Turnbull Bio:
Elizabeth Turnbull is the Senior Editor and Partner at Light Messages Publishing. Elizabeth has worked with Light Messages for three years, and under her tenure, the press has added Torchflame Books, a new hybrid imprint, and expanded to more than 20 titles a year, many of which have gone on to be award winners and bestsellers in their categories. She also serves on the executive board and advocacy committee with the Independent Book Publishers Association.
Elizabeth is the author of Say to These Mountains, a biography about the life and work of Wallace Turnbull, a pioneer in Haitian missions. She is the author of two children’s titles set in Haiti, where she was born and raised: Bonnwit Kabrit and Janjak and Freda Go To The Iron Market.
Elizabeth currently lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with her husband.
Twitter, Instagram: @LMpublishing
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