HarperCollins editor, literary agent and award-winning journalists to share publishing tips in Scranton

Speakers to discuss publishing books & writing for papers and magazines

SCRANTON, PA (Aug. 25, 2010) – Break out that old manuscript. A HarperCollins executive and a New York City literary agent will visit Scranton to offer publishing tips for a book industry that’s grown pickier amid falling sales and scaled back print runs. And two award-winning journalists will discuss how they survive as full-time freelance writers finding work with big-city papers.

The four speakers are part of “Earn Money the Write Way: How to Become a Professional Writer,” a symposium sponsored by The Society of Professional Journalists’ Keystone Pro Chapter. The event is set for 7 p.m., Sept. 23 in the Scranton Cultural Center’s Casey Library.   

HarperCollins’ editor Cal Morgan and Jon Sternfeld, an agent specializing in literary fiction and narrative nonfiction for the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, will speak about becoming a published author. New York City-based writers Julia Dahl and Michael Luongo will follow with an 8:15 p.m. discussion about freelancing. 

Morgan, vice president and editorial director for Harper Perennial, Harper Paperbacks and It Books and executive editor at the Harper hardcover imprint, and Sternfeld will speak at an especially difficult time to author a traditionally published book. The Association of American Publishers estimated U.S. book sales fell 2 percent between 2008 and 2009, and publishers printed 15 percent fewer fiction titles amid stagnant overall production, according to the ISBN issuer Bowker. Yet, the 10 largest publishers remain kingmakers, producing 74 percent of all traditional print titles in 2009 despite the growing popularity of digital books and self-published works. 

At the SPJ symposium, Morgan will touch on his experiences with an array of bestselling authors during more than 20 years in publishing. Sternfeld will draw on the lessons he’s learned working at an agency that has represented authors who have appeared on the top best-seller lists more than 120 times. 

The publishing business isn’t the only industry in transition in the digital age. Competition to write for large print media companies is fierce as publications shed pages and reporters. Luongo has succeeded as a travel writer and a war correspondent writing for major papers and magazines such as The New York Times and National Geographic. Dahl, a former editor at Redbook and Marie Claire, has contributed to numerous national publications from The Boston Globe and the San Francisco Chronicle to O and Seventeen magazines. 

For more information

For interviews with the speakers or more information about the SPJ Keystone Pro Chapter, email keystonespj@gmail.com or call Dan Axelrod at 978-855-8935. 

About SPJ Keystone Pro Chapter

The SPJ Keystone Pro Chapter covers nearly all of Pennsylvania, and promotes open government, freedom of speech and the practice of accurate, ethical, entertaining and informative journalism. It also runs a popular statewide journalism contest and hosts journalism events throughout the year. The chapter is currently seeking individuals interested in serving as officers.

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