Writers at Work: The Business of Being a Writer

January 10, 2022

Cardinal Directions (formerly known as "Stars to Steer By") will kick off its Spring 2022 schedule with an 8-week series of events aimed at creative writers at Ball State. The topic is “Writers at Work,” focused on understanding the business of publishing. The events are sponsored by the Creative Writing Program and Compass Advantage.

All events will take place virtually from 5-6 PM. Register on Zoom. For resources and other information, check out the Cardinal Directions website


W Jan. 12

Time Management for Writers
Few writers get paid just to write. So how do the rest of us get writing done in the midst of a busy life? Come learn new strategies and share your own methods as well!  Speakers: Cathy Day and Silas Hansen

W Jan. 19

Graduate Degrees for Creative Writers
Do you need an MFA in Creative Writing in order to be a writer? What about a PhD? When is the right time to pursue the degree-–right after college or a few years later? Learn the answers to these questions and more. Speakers: Lauren Cross, Silas Hansen, and Paige Waters

W Jan. 26

Trade, Small Press, and University Press Publishing
Who are the Big Five? What’s the difference between a small press and a university press? What are the pros and cons of publishing with each, and how does one approach each type? Learn all this and more at this session, which will include a fun and illuminating activity. Speakers: Cathy Day and Jill Christman

W Feb. 2

Submitting to Literary Magazines
The first step in your life as a publishing writer is submitting your stories, poems, and essays to literary magazines and journals. This presentation will show you how to approach the submission process and the pitfalls to avoid. Speaker: Cathy Day

M Feb 7

Self Publishing
In the traditional publishing model, the publisher bears all the costs and risks of publication, but retains most of the profit if the book is successful. In self-publishing, the author bears all the costs and risks, but earns a higher share of the profit per sale. Come learn the pros and cons of publishing work without an intervening gatekeeper. Speakers: Cathy Day and Katy Rank

W Feb. 16

Finding an Agent and an Audience for Your Book
So you’ve finished writing your book and must send it into the world. Do you need a literary agent? And is it really your job to write the book AND find its audience? The answers to these questions depend on your book and your goals. Speakers: Angela Jackson Brown and Sarah Hollowell

W Feb. 23

The Artist’s Statement and Applying for Fellowships, Grants, and Residencies
Many writers regularly apply for fellowships, grants, and residencies in order to buy time to work on their projects. An essential element to these applications is ”the artist’s statement” that describes what you write and why.  What strategies should you use to frame your creative work for these audiences? Learn how to take a step back to evaluate your work and explain it to others. Speaker: Katy Didden

W March 2

Personal Branding aka There’s No One Like You.
As a writer, it’s important to know how to differentiate yourself from the crowd. What makes you distinctive, and how do you convey that distinctiveness online, on paper, and in person? In this session, you’ll complete a few different writing activities aimed at helping you to find and articulate your “brand” without feeling like a cow. Speaker: Cathy Day

If you have questions, contact Prof. Cathy Day at cday@bsu.edu.

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