The Art of Pitching Nonfiction

Fiction writers get a lot of the glory, but nonfiction writers can really earn their bread through freelance work for print and online publishers. Want some tips for pitching your nonfiction work?  Join us August 23rd, from 9-1, when we’ll host a fantastic line-up of speakers at our library’s first Local Author Workshop, including Sarah Smarsh on The Art of Pitching Nonfiction.

For writers of reportage, personal essays and other nonfiction forms, the 21st-Century explosion of digital publications has created a slew of potential venues but plenty of economic and ethical conundrums. An understanding of the changing market is essential within a genre that can be literary as fiction and poetry but often holds a direct connection to current events. Whether you’re a freelance writer aiming for print or online bylines or a memoirist looking for an agent, these tips and tools will make your efforts more efficient, effective and lucrative.

Sarah Smarsh 2014Sarah Smarsh knows what she’s talking about. She’s written for Harper’s, The Huffington Post, The Pitch and others. She is the author of two books on Kansas history and the editor of a feminist essay collection for the Waiting Room Project, a national creative dialogue on women’s health. Her personal essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from The Morning News, The Common, Parcel and The Flint Hills Review, and her literary criticism has appeared in Columbia Magazine and Great Plains Quarterly. She’s filed more than a thousand stories for regional and national daily newspapers, alternative weeklies and glossy monthlies. Sarah has taught creative nonfiction and journalism at Washburn University, Columbia University, Ottawa University and the Lawrence (Kan.) Arts Center. She holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia, as well as degrees in journalism and English from the University of Kansas.

You can check out Smarsh’s It Happened in Kansas and Outlaw Tales of Kansas from your library, or pick up your own copies and have them signed by the author from 12:45-2 on August 23.

And that’s not all! Saturday’s event will feature speakers on traditional publishing platforms as well as ways authors can forge their own paths to success via self-publishing, and everything in between. Attending authors will have an opportunity to ask questions after each presentation, and will leave with knowledge and resources that will help them find publishing success.

Sign in begins at 8:30 in the library’s Marvin Auditorium. Call 580-4540 or send a message to to register, or just show up at our library’s Marvin Auditorium on August 23 ready to learn and be inspired. Free coffee and breakfast will be available while supplies last, and speakers will be on hand with books for purchase and signing from 12:45-2 p.m. Tell everyone you know on facebook and real life, this event is too good to be missed!

We’ll be featuring our speakers in blog posts throughout the rest of the week. Watch for a post on Publishing Your Own Book up next. Check out the event blog for full speaker bios and program descriptions.

Miranda Ericsson

Miranda loves to talk lit! Her favorite reads are poetry, literary fiction, and speculative science fiction, and she's passionate about promoting great literature written by Kansas authors. She works with library programs that support and engage writers in our community, so ask her for more information about the Local Writers Workshop, Great Writers Right Here author fair, and Community Novel Project. Miranda is also a member of the library's Genealogy Team and Fiction Team, facilitates TALK book discussions, and co-leads the Bean There, Read That book discussion group.