Note: All times are Eastern Standard Time

Day 1: The Craft of the Biography


Main Questions:

What is this genre? How do we write it?


9:00am-9:30am: Log on and Welcome

For this Session: please come prepared to introduce yourself and offer a brief overview of your current biography/ life writing project

9:30am-10:15am: Building Biography Community Discussion

Before this session, please brainstorm the following questions:

  1. Why have you come here today?
  2. What are your individual goals for the workshop?
  3. What are your biggest challenges to your current biography or life writing project?

10:15am-10:25am- Ten minute Coffee and Stretch Break

10:30am-11:30am- Craft of Biography and Life Writing

For this Session: Novelist, essayist, teacher, filmmaker, memoirist and curator, Dr. Bridgette Davis from CUNY’s Biography and Memoir Program will join us to discuss the craft of life writing and biography, challenges, and strategies for completing our current projects. Farmer will moderate a short discussion with Davis. There will be plenty of time for questions, answers, and discussion related to the research, writing, and ethics of biography and life writing.

11:30am-12:00pm: Morning Wrap up Session

12:00pm-1:00pm- Lunch

1:00pm-2:00pm- Strategies of the Craft: World Building  

For this Session: We will think about how to visually represent the worlds in which our main character(s) operate through world building. Ford will lead the group in visually creating a scene or world from their biography .

2:00pm-2:45pm- Sharing Your World 

For this Session: We will share our world collages in small groups. 

2:45pm-3:00pm: Day 1 Wrap up

3:00pm-3:15pm- Micro Happy Hour

For this Session: Have your beverage of choice on hand for a short, one drink virtual toast to our first day together.                               

Day 2: Putting your Book into the world

Main questions How to find a publishing home and an audience?

9:30am-9:45am Log on and Refocus 

9:45am-10:15am: Publishing Term Bag

For this Session: Using the keywords you submitted before the seminar, we will brainstorm what we already know about finding an agent, getting a publicist, the trade submission process, and all other terms related to publishing.

10:15am-10:25am: Ten Minute Coffee and Stretch Break

10:30-am-11:30pm: Talk Back with Industry Professionals- Part I

For This Session: Ford will engage in a moderated discussion with 2019 Publishers Weekly “Super Star” editor and publishing professional Jennifer Baker. We will get valuable insight into the pitching, acquiring, and trade editors' role in the writing process, and money matters. There will be plenty of time for questions about all aspects of trade publishing. 

11:30am-12:00pm: Morning Wrap up 

12:00pm-1:00pm: Lunch

Finding your Audience 

For this Session: We will brainstorm your target audience, how to find them, and what steps you need to connect to your audience in pairs. 

1:30pm-2:30pm: Talk Back with Industry Professionals- Part II

For this Session: We will hear from agent and editor, Cherise Fisher, and publicist Gilda Squire. Over the course of her twenty-five year career, Fisher worked as an acquiring editor at Simon & Schuster and the Editor-in-Chief of Plume. She is now a literary agent at Wendy Sherman Associates. 

Squire, head of Gilda Squire founded Squire Media & Management, Inc., represents a range of clients such as bestselling authors, world-renowned performing artists, iconic film and television actors, as well as top book publishers, television networks, film studios, and multimedia corporations non-profit organizations and cultural and arts institutions.

2:30pm-2:45 pm: Fifteen Meeting Coffee and Stretch Break

2:45pm-3:30pm: Putting your Book into the World-Redux 

For This session:  We will revise our audience and marketing ideas and plans based on our discussions with industry professionals. 

3:30pm-4:00pm-  Wrap Up and End of the Day Toast

For this Session: We will raise a glass one more time to our great work together. Please come with your drink of choice.