2014 Master Classes

The following Master Classes will be offered Sunday morning May 18th at the University of Massachusetts Boston during the Compleat Biographer annual conference.

Promoting Your Biography: Hiring a Publicist or Going it Alone
Carl Rollyson, instructor
A do-it-yourself workshop conducted by an experienced biographer, for all of us who can’t afford to pay for others to promote our work. We will explore the usefulness of Facebook, Twitter, blogs, other social media, and other sources of free publicity. We will also discuss how to arrange for talks and other promotional activities.

Carl Rollyson is working on A Real Character: Walter Brennan and the World of Hollywood Players, the third volume of his New England trilogy, which includes Amy Lowell Anew: A Biography and American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath. His other books include Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews, an updated edition of Marilyn Monroe: Life of the Actress (available June 1), and two studies of biography, A Higher Form of Cannibalism: Adventures in the Art and Politics of Biography and Biography: A User’s Guide. His reviews of biography have been collected in Reading Biography and American Biography.

Biography Workshop: Writing the Proposal
Susan Rabiner, instructor
For many would-be biographers, more daunting than researching or writing the book is often writing the proposal. So what makes a good proposal? A passion for your subject, superb research, and good writing all count. But most important is that you understand that, while it’s your subject’s life, it’s your story. Great proposals get control of that story and never let go of that control. Great biographers never fall into the trap of believing that the story is just the sum of the facts you’ve uncovered about your subject’s life. This session will teach you how to write that great proposal and, even more important, how to know you have done so.

Susan Rabiner was an editor for more than thirty years and currently runs Susan Rabiner Literary. She is the co-author (with Alfred Fortunato) of Thinking Like Your Editor: How to Write Great Serious Nonfiction–and Get It Published. Two of the biographers she represents won the Pulitzer Prize for their work.