They’re out there among the book worms at every book festival – those aspiring writers who want to hear visiting authors and publishers talk about the craft of writing and the how-to of getting published.


Ryan Gattis

To fill that hunger, a track of talks focused on the practical ins and outs of the book business have been included in this year’s schedule of the Big Orange Book Festival at Chapman University, Oct. 11-13. The panel discussions will address topics from writing memoir to alternative publishing.

The programming reflects the reality that it’s not enough to just write a book anymore, says Ryan Gattis, novelist and adjunct faculty member in the Department of English. Gattis is a featured author on a panel sponsored by publishing collective
Black Hill Press
and titled “The Author’s Role in Business” on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 2 p.m. in Memorial Hall.

“The world has changed. In the 20th century you could get a book deal and perhaps go on a book tour. But it just doesn’t work that way anymore,” Gattis says. “We find ourselves in this realm of not just taking the time to write it but also taking the time to promote it.”

Kevin Staniec

Kevin Staniec

But Twitter and Facebook aren’t just helping to sell books. They can help to write the next ones, he says. Just as Charles Dickens and other Victorian writers used reader response to shape plot and character development in their serial fiction, modern writers can bend a social media ear to their readers’ thoughts.

“I think the ability to not just see the number of your audience, but actually interact with (readers) and see what really catches them and see what they want to hear is a really fascinating thing,” he says.

Alternative and niche publishing outlets will be explored in the “Pathways to Publishing Panel” on Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Fish Interfaith Center. The panel will include arts advocate, author and publisher Kevin Staniec ’01, founder of Black Hill Press. The panel includes authors who have published with small independents, on Web publications, on blogs and with traditional publishers.

“All of us are so different in our backgrounds, and I think right there is really kind of the definition of publishing today. There are so many different avenues,” Staniec says.

To see the full schedule of craft-oriented talks, visit the Big Orange Book Festival online schedule and click on the events marked by a pale green circle. To learn more about the full festival schedule, which includes a screening of
The Avengers
with Marvel comics editor Bill Rosemann and a variety of best-selling authors, please visit the home page of
The Big Orange Book Festival