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Interview with Jane Friedman

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This summer, Midwest Writers Workshop is offering two “Tech Intensives” in addition to our “Craft Intensives.” The always-amazing Jane Friedman will teach an all-day, hands-on class on “Creating an e-book.” For years, Jane has been coming to MWW to talk about why authors need to be tech savvy. This year, we’ll augment her message with hands-on lessons that will show you how to get those skills. Jane is the web editor for Virginia Quarterly Review and an e-media and publishing visionary with (lucky for us) Muncie roots.

Here’s Jane’s course description of her Tech Intensive:

Attendees will learn what you need to get started in e-publishing your work. There will also be assistants on hand to help you figure out the technology and work one-on-one. The industry has exploded with new and free opportunities to help you publish your work electronically, at little or no cost to you. Learn how to get visibility for your work by using online services that make your work available on major e-reading platforms such as Kindle, Nook, and iPad. While e-publishing doesn’t equal instant success (if you build it, they may NOT come), you’ll learn the principles behind the successful creation and distribution of an e-book, as well as the technical skill required to convert your work into different formats.

Jane was kind enough to answer a few questions for MWW, interviewed by committee member Cathy Day.

Cathy: We are so fortunate that you’ll be teaching this intensive class for us. I’m not going to ask you a question about e-publishing, because you’ve already said so much about this subject. I’ll just point people here and here. But I will ask you this: What should people bring with them to your session? How can they best prepare?

Jane: If people want to get the maximum practical value from the workshop, they should come prepared with a manuscript that they’d like to publish as an e-book. Most people will probably have a Word document to start with, and that’s perfect. However, even if you don’t yet have a manuscript or document ready for e-publishing, I guarantee you won’t be twiddling your thumbs. There’s a lot of territory to cover–both theory and nuts and bolts–and practice files will be provided for those without their own manuscript.

Cathy: Good to know! You’ve been coming to Midwest Writers for how many years now?

Kelsey Timmernan, Jane Friedman, Jama Bigger and Cathy Day chat in the atrium.

Kelsey Timmernan, Jane Friedman, Jama Bigger and Cathy Day chat in the atrium.

Jane: Since 2003! It’s like a family reunion for me. [She received the MWW prestigious Dorothy Hamilton Award in 2008 for her contributions to the on-going success of Midwest Writers Workshop.]

Cathy: So this will be your tenth anniversary then. I love to tell people about Midwest Writers. Why do you keep coming back? What’s special about this conference?

Jane: Two qualities combined make it very special: high-quality workshops and teachers in an accessible, friendly, welcoming atmosphere. It’s one of the few writers conferences where the faculty and the environment are so openly interactive and inviting of conversation.

Also, that sunlit atrium where people congregate. It may sound silly, but I think it has an impact on how cheerful the event is. It has an architecture of happiness.

Cathy: Thanks Jane. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to continue learning from you this summer.

Jane’s Part II sessions (Friday and Saturday) include:

  • Friday Lunch / Audience Development: Your Lifelong Career Investment
  • Publishing in a Brave New World Panel: Sarah LaPolla, Roxane Gay, Barb Shoup, Jane Friedman, D.E. Johnson
  • E-Publishing 101: Using Amazon and Other Major Online Retailers to Publish Your Work. This overview of the DIY e-book landscape will help you understand the major players, current strategies, and key challenges of successful self-publishing.
  • The Art and Business of Building an Author Platform. Writers are often scared or baffled by platform because it’s seen as a marketing and promotion mindset-antithetical to the artist mindset. However, there is a way to approach platform that isn’t about selling, but rather understanding human behavior (including your own!).

 

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