If you’re an author, April Eberhardt is all about you.
Her mission statement is clear: “I’m effecting and encouraging change in the publishing industry on the behalf of authors,” Eberhardt said. Her main goal is “to help authors be published well and profitably in whatever way makes the most sense,” she said.
A self-described “literary change agent” and “author advocate,” Eberhardt feels that there has been a shift in the publishing industry away from supporting authors. “To me, in many ways, the publishing business has been geared much more toward publishers and how publishers make money,” Eberhardt said. “And while I’m all for that, my first priority is actually the author: how the author gets published — gets published well — and feels a sense of satisfaction.”
Eberhardt will lead a special two-day workshop at the Chautauqua Writers’ Center during Week One called “The New Era of Publishing: An Agent’s Perspective.” Her workshop has its sessions from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday in the Literary Arts Center Ballroom.
Eberhardt’s workshop will focus on the numerous ways that authors can get published in today’s industry, how to find the best publishing fit for each individual student and how to create time for writing in a busy schedule.
The first day of the workshop, called “The Many Pathways to Publishing,” will give students an overview of the many options available to them today. Eberhardt said the first day “will cover all of the different ways that authors can be published now, ranging from traditional publishing to self-publishing and including many gradations in between. Then, I will discuss the pros and cons of each approach so that authors have a clear sense of what each approach entails and what sorts of questions they need to ask themselves to make the best decision for them.”
The second day of the workshop, called “Designing a Realistic Strategy for Writing,” will help students find ways to carve out time for their writing. Eberhardt said that a lot of writers today have many different roles that can take time away from writing.
“So it’s really a way to think about how an author can carve out time for him- or herself to make progress in their writing and how they can define success,” Eberhardt said. “Success could be anything from being published to simply finishing a short story. But it’s really about how you define success, how you fit writing into your life and then how you achieve that success.”
Eberhardt took what she described as “kind of a circuitous route” to her career in the publishing industry. She started out in management consulting and strategy, but decided she wanted a change.
Through a series of contacts, she ended up working at Zoetrope: All-Story, a literary magazine founded by Francis Ford Coppola and Adrienne Brodeur. One of Eberhardt’s colleagues at the magazine left to start a career as a literary agent, which Eberhardt said sparked her own interest in the field.
This will be Eberhardt’s first time at the Institution.
“I’ve been looking forward to this for years,” Eberhardt said.
She was first introduced to Chautauqua through Ken Sherman, a friend and collaborator. Eberhardt said Sherman “sang its praises,” and that he also put her in touch with Clara Silverstein, program director of the Writers’ Center.
Eberhardt is excited for her time in Chautauqua and to meet her students.
“Everyone has a story, and people who are striving to tell their stories are top of the list in terms of interest to me,” Eberhardt said. “So I get to meet delightful people, each of whom has a story, each of whom is passionate about telling that story.”