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Coming up March 9: Spalding’s Business of Writing Seminars

The Spring 2024 edition of Spalding’s Business of Writing Seminars takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. ET Saturday, March 9, 2024, for students and alumni of the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University. Four virtual sessions offer extracurricular instruction in the world of professional writing, editing, and publishing. The topic for March is “Literary Activism & Community Building.”


The seminars are free to School of Writing students and faculty and are open to alumni for $25 for the day. Alumni click here to register online. The registration deadline for alumni is March 7.


All sessions will be recorded and the recordings will be available for one month after the event for students, faculty, and registered alums.


Here’s the program for the Saturday, March 9 event:




11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. ET / 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. CT / 9:00 – 10:00 a.m. MT / 8:00 – 9:00 a.m.


When Life Gives You Lemons: Behind Socially Responsible Virtual Theater

with Elana Gartner (’21)


This workshop will explore the experience of running Four Walls Theatre, a socially responsible virtual theater company, founded in response to the pandemic and in partnership with several Spalding playwrights. Learn how we navigated the technical elements that we used like Zoom and YouTube to create a stage for our actors and an audience for our viewers . . . and how we connected the two when they weren't really connected. We will trace the changes of how we worked with artists over the four readings as the pandemic went on. I will contrast how our team marketed during the pandemic and why it is different now that people are leaving their houses again. Finally, I will discuss our biggest challenge: presenting a show in the aftermath of the George Floyd murder and making sure that our audiences had the space and support to discuss and digest it. As a group, we will explore why virtual theater still has a place in our world. 



12:15 – 1:15 p.m. ET / 11:15 am. – 12:15 p.m. CT / 10:15 – 11:15 a.m. MT / 9:15 – 10:15 a.m. PT


From the Ground Up: Community Building and Literary Event Construction

with Andrew Najberg (’10)


Planning and organizing live events is a unique thrill, a wonderful form of literary citizenship, and a great opportunity to promote literary works. Join author, editor, and event organizer Andrew Najberg in walking through the process of conceptualizing, branding, constructing, and executing live events. Learn practical methods to conceptualize and define your event, engage with author and audience communities (especially in social media environments), explore how brand construction targets desired audiences, and discover some basic principles behind effectively organizing and advertising events.



1:30 – 2:30 p.m. ET / 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. CT / 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. MT / 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. PT


Starting and Nurturing an Online Literary Magazine

with Jessica Evans (’15)

Join us for an enlightening session with Jessica Evans, a seasoned expert in the digital literary journal field, as she unfolds the essentials of starting and nurturing an online literary magazine. With more than ten years of experience, Jessica brings invaluable insights from her journey, including launching Twin Pies Literary Magazine, contributing to several prestigious journals, and providing developmental editing for renowned publications. This presentation will dive into effective strategies for engaging online communities, upholding editorial standards in a digital environment, and utilizing technology to enhance visibility and growth. Jessica, alongside wisdom from notable editors in chiefs from an array of digital magazines, will guide you through the intricacies of launching a literary magazine and expanding its audience. Attendees will gain valuable takeaways on initiating a digital literary journal, attracting a growing readership, and the key elements that contribute to a magazine's enduring success.



2:45 – 3:45 p.m. ET / 1:45 – 2:45 p.m. CT / 12: 45 – 1:45 p.m. MT / 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. PT


Starting (and Sustaining) an Independent Literary Press

with Katerina Stoykova (’09)


In this session we will discuss how to launch a new, independent press, and how to take advantage of the latest technologies so that wide distribution is both accessible and affordable. We will take a close look at the cost structure of the retail price of a book and will examine the advantages and disadvantages of contests. We will go over ideas for diversifying sources of income, the Zen of working with authors, as well as thoughts on what it takes to sustain a press in the long run. Bring your questions, ideas, and ambitions to this session. Katerina Stoykova, the founder and senior editor of Accents Publishing will bring hard-earned experience and knowledge of industry practices.



Spalding’s Business of Writing Seminars, presented virtually each spring and fall, have three main goals:


  • To help Spalding writers learn more about working with agents, literary magazines, presses, and theaters and production companies.

  • To help students better understand how to market work once it’s published or produced.

  • To provide enriching instruction to Spalding writers interested in writing in the professional workplace. Sessions include advice on how to break into new freelance markets; work as a copywriter, editor, speechwriter, or grant writer; and write for nonprofits or for-profit organizations.


To learn more, email




Jessica Evans (’15) is a novelist and editor, known for her work in contemporary fantasy, dark academia, and witch lit. Her novels, weaving magic and ritual, are influenced by her global experiences as an expat. She provides editorial insights at Fractured Lit, Uncharted Magazine, and 2nd Draft, while leading Evans Editorial for narrative coaching. A member of the Editorial Freelance Association, Evans is represented by Amy Collins of Talcott Notch.


Playwright Elana Gartner (’21) was the founding Artistic Director of Four Walls Theater, a socially conscious virtual theatre that produced readings during the pandemic. She founded two playwriting groups and the ICWP 50/50 Applause Awards on gender parity. Her work has been produced nationally and internationally. She holds memberships with the Dramatists Guild, Honor Roll!, the League of Professional Theatre Women and the International Centre for Women Playwrights. She holds an MFA from Spalding University.


Andrew Najberg (’10) is the author of the novels The Mobius Door (Wicked House Publishing, 2023), Gollitok (Wicked House Publishing, 2023), and The Neverborn Thief (Olive-Ridley Press, 2024), as well as a collection of short fiction, In Those Fading Stars (Crystal Lake Publishing, 2024). His collection of poems, The Goats Have Taken Over the Barracks, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2021. He is a senior editor for Symposeum Magazine and the organizer of the Wicked Nights reading series. He served several years as the assistant director of the Meacham Writers Workshop at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he has taught creative writing, Japanese literature, and other courses for the last eighteen years.


Katerina Stoykova (’09) launched Accents Publishing in January 2010 and since then has edited and published over 100 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction by authors from USA and beyond. She is the author of Between a Bird Cage and a Bird House (University Press of Kentucky) and The Poet's Guide to Publishing: How to Conceive, Arrange, Edit, Publish, and Market a Book of Poetry (McFarland).


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