Writers' Lunch with Edward Hasbrouck | Mechanics' Institute

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Writers' Lunch with Edward Hasbrouck
Making a Living as a Writer in the Digital Age

Photograph of Ed Hasbrouck

Join the Mechanics' Institute and the Northern California Chapter of the National Writers Union in a discussion with author and activist Edward Hasbrouck on the challenges and opportunities of making a living as a writer in the digital age.

There are as many ways of making a living as there are financially successful writers. But economic survival isn't just a matter of writing skill or luck. For working writers, writing is an occupation, not just an art. What are the business choices writers face, how are those choices changing, and how can you make those choices wisely and profitably?

Some of these issues include:

  • Business models: staff writer, freelancer, self-publisher, or all of the above?
  • Media and formats: Printed books, magazines, newspapers, and newsletters?
  • Or e-books, blogs, Web content, social media, electronic games, and mobile apps?
  • Genre, target audience, and marketing: How can you identify, prioritize, produce, and promote the sorts of writing that you can earn money from?
  • Copyrights and contracts: How can you maximize the chances that your success will accrue to your own benefit, and not just that of publishers, intermediaries, and/or service providers?


Edward Hasbrouck is a commercially and critically successful travel writer in multiple genres, media, and formats. He is the author of books including the acclaimed guide to long-term independent international travel, "The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World" (now in its 5th edition with Hachette Book Group after 20 years in print); winner of a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism Award from the Society of American Travel Writers Foundation for investigative reporting self-published in his blog and on his Web site at PracticalNomad.com; staff blogger and policy analyst on travel-related human rights issues for the Identity Project at PapersPlease.org; ardent bicyclist and bicycle traveler in many countries; and longtime member of the Bay Area Travel Writers (BATW.org).

He is also an activist for writers' rights in the USA and internationally.

Since 2009, he has been the elected volunteer Co-Chair of the Book Division of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981, NWU.org), leading the NWU's advocacy, litigation, and lobbying of the U.S. Copyright Office and Congress, and representing the NWU in national and international writers' coalitions. In 2016, he was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organizations (IFRRO), the global coordinating body for collective licensing of written works, holding the sole seat on the IFRRO Board reserved for a representative of all writers worldwide.

A native New Englander, he has lived with his partner in the Mission District in San Francisco (when he's not traveling) since 1985.


Members only - Free
4th Floor Meeting Room
Taryn Edwards - 415-393-0103

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