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WordWork™ Workshops and Seminars


  • Fall 2004 (dates to be announced), National Writers Union, NY: "The Joys of Self-Syndication: A Subsidiary-Rights Workshop for Writers." Call (212-929-2241) or email Joe Harkins at for details and registration.

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Past WordWork™ Workshops and Seminars

WordWork™ Lectures and Panels

About the WordWork™ Workshops and Seminars

Through the Imago Lecture Bureau, I offer a set of lectures, workshops and seminars available for presentation to various constituencies. These are specifically designed for and of interest to working writers in all forms of the craft -- academics, journalists, essayists, creative writers -- as well as to student writers and producers of intellectual property in general.

I have presented these public lectures and intensive small-group encounters at colleges, universities, museums, alternative institutions and other venues around the world since 1970 -- most recently for the Professional Writers' Certificate Program of Mercer County Community College (NJ), the New York Local of the National Writers Union, the Penland School of Crafts, and the Oklahoma Arts Institute. (For a report on my workshops as presented under the aegis of the National Writers Union, see this profile of A. D. Coleman by Susan E. Davis from Between the Lines, the newsletter of the New York Local of the NWU.)

I've also held them privately in recent years, in Philadelphia and New York. The small-group events involve no special equipment, and can be staged in any space (such as a studio, loft or apartment) that can comfortably hold 10-15 attendees.The list below includes descriptions of samples of the one-day and weekend workshops available. More complete descriptions, with syllabi, can be obtained by emailing Reiko Soucoupe at the Imago Lecture Bureau:

2-Day to 5-Day Workshops

Writing to/from Photographs: A Workshop for Creative Writers

In the century and a half since its invention, photography and photographs have inspired a prodigious amount of writing in a wide range of forms and styles. Dozens of major critics, theorists, historians, poets, playwrights and novelists -- Walter Benjamin, Susan Sontag, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Virginia Woolf, Julio Cortazar, Carolyn Forché, Ntozake Shange among them -- have used particular photographs, or aspects of the medium itself, as jumping-off points for their work.

This workshop addresses photographs and photography as sources and as triggers for various kinds of writing, from the essayistic and diaristic to the fictional and poetic. It combines a brief survey of some of the best writing provoked by photography to date with the actual experience of writing to/from photographs. In addition to discussing choice examples of notable writers' responses to the medium, participants will experiment with diverse ways of responding to the photograph's capacity to particularize, its distinctive relationship to specific moments in time and space, and its encoding of the idiosyncratic vision of its maker. A series of writing exercises involving images supplied by the instructor and others made and/or brought by the participants themselves will provide a groundwork useful for both a close critical reading of all kinds of photographs and a more spontaneous, creative engagement with these commonplace yet extraordinary images that trace our lives and shape our culture.

Attending to Photographs: Toward a Critical Vocabulary

This workshop is geared toward anyone who needs to address photographs precisely, with an awareness of their particularities as images and as cultural artifacts. That includes historians, anthropologists, sociologists, cultural theorists, media critics, and workers in many other disciplines. The workshop emphasizes the basic elements of photography criticism: it is intended to introduce a methodology that participants can continue to explore on their own, whether as audience, as scholars and researchers, as teachers, or as critics, after the workshop ends.

A series of writing exercises involving images supplied by the instructor and others made and/or brought by the participants themselves will provide a groundwork useful for a close critical reading of all kinds of photographs.

Both these workshops can be compressed into a two-day session, suitable for weekends. My preference is to run them longer, up to a maximum of five days; this allows participants more time for questioning and exploration, and permits me to flesh out the concepts more fully.

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Half-Day/One-Day Seminars

Playing Hardball: Copyright Law and Contract Negotiation for Writers

Today, more than ever before, writers face challenges to their survival from an increasingly aggressive and corporatized publishing world. Designed for writers at the professional and pre-professional levels who work (or plan to work) for periodicals of all kinds (including academic journals), this intensive workshop serves all those who need to learn effective self-defense methods for protecting their copyright and other rights to their own intellectual property. It provides tested strategies for negotiating favorable terms in dealings with the editors and publishers of periodicals here and abroad. This workshop addresses such fundamental issues as:

  • Copyright: Where it came from, how it's created and transferred, and why you want to retain it.

  • Defining the assignment: Length, deadline, style, format, fees, expenses.

  • Negotiating the fee: Don't blink first.

  • Handshake deal vs. letter of agreement: pros and cons.

  • Submitting the working draft.

  • Revision and its limits.

  • Getting paid.

Workshop participants leave with broader understandings of their options and a wealth of tested tactics that they can apply immediately to their current and upcoming writing assignments.

This is a one-day workshop whose content can be compressed into one intensive 3-to-4-hour session.

The Joys of Self-Syndication: A Subsidiary-Rights Workshop for Writers

Here's the secret: You can publish the same piece of writing more than once. Everyone who writes regularly for publication builds up a backlog of material that can have an ongoing role in his or her professional life. You almost undoubtedly have valuable inventory, and may not even know it. Learn how to license reprints of your articles profitably in this workshop on subsidiary rights, which will cover effective ways to maximize income and exposure from your work by arranging multiple uses of it after its initial publication in any format. Topics include the how-to of licensing primary and secondary rights, tactics of self-syndication, and methods for selling to European and other markets. Its ideas, strategies and suggestions are drawn from the presenter's three decades in the field. Issues covered include:

  • Licensing Primary and Secondary Rights; or, you can publish the same piece of writing more than once.

  • Self-Syndication.

  • Europe and other markets.

  • Information Sources and Networking.

  • Writing and the New Technologies.

  • Books and How to Build Them.

  • From Essays to Lectures: How to convert prose to speech, and vice versa.

  • Teaching what you've learned.

  • Self-publishing: last resort, first resort, or dependable standby?

This is a one-day workshop whose content can be compressed into one intensive 3-to-4-hour session.

Professionalizing Your Practice

"Professionalizing Your Practice" is constructed for makers of intellectual property: working writers and photographers and aspiring pre-professionals in those fields. It emphasizes contract negotiation, copyright law, the work-for-hire contract plague, self-syndication and micro-marketing, the impact of new digital/electronic media, ethical issues, and other professional concerns.

This is a single full-day workshop combining the two workshops immediately preceding.

Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Professional Writing (But Were Afraid to Ask)

"Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Professional Writing (But Were Afraid to Ask)" is a free-wheeling conversational encounter open to a wide range of participants' concerns.

This is a half-day workshop.

To place your name on a mailing list for advance notice of A. D. Coleman's upcoming lectures and workshops, to obtain more detailed information about listed events, or to arrange to book appearances at your school or institution, contact:

Reiko Soucoupe
Imago Lecture Bureau
P.O.B. 040078
Staten Island, NY
10304-0002 USA

T./F. (718) 447-3091

Imago Lecture Bureau is a division of CODA Enterprises, which provides full-service representation to makers of intellectual property. Please visit our website, CODA Enterprises Online, to learn more about us.

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Copyright © 2001 by A. D. Coleman. All rights reserved. For reprint permissions contact Image/World Syndication Services, POB 040078, Staten Island, NY 10304-0002 USA;T/F (718) 447-3091,