On July 16th, 2011, editors and writers from the Mid-Atlantic region will gather in Washington D.C. to hold a one day summit called the Indie Lit City Summit. The effort, spearheaded by Dan Brady and an organizing committee, one of the Barrelhouse editors, is designed to bring together small press editors for a day of brainstorming, problem-solving and exchanging ideas for how small presses and independent magazines can work better, smarter, harder. Dan and I had a conversation about the summit, what’s planned, and how editors and writers (and other interested parties) in other cities can plan their own summits in the future.
How did the Indie Lit Summit come about? Who is involved in planning the summit? Who will be attending the summit? What do you hope to accomplish?
Two years ago I went to the Nonprofit 2.0 Unconference, organized by bloggers Allyson Kaplin, Geoff Livingston, and Shireen Mitchell. Beth Kanter and Allison Fine, who wrote The Networked Nonprofit, were the keynote speakers. After Beth and Allison’s talk, we broke into sessions that were self-organized by the participants so the topics were focused on what the people in the room wanted to learn about. We covered everything from blogger outreach to social media ROI to engagement strategies. It was great and I thought to myself, I wonder what would happen if you got the whole DC literary scene together and we had this big knowledge exchange about what works, what doesn’t, how much things costs, how to do things better, how to work together, and how to build a community for ourselves in which everyone is a resource to everyone else.
I chewed on the idea for about a year and then started to sketch out what I thought would have to happen to organize something like this. I kept it to myself, though I talked to the other Barrelhouse guys, Adam Robinson, Maureen Thorson, Mark Cugini, and a few others and it seemed like this was something we should do.