This post covers perennial topics for writers. This business changes so rapidly that keeping up can be hard. I hope this helps. (LB: info provided by Lauren Busser) EDITING I’m always encouraging people to edit their work before submitting it … Continue reading
Welcome back! Here’s the second list of events and suggestions this month. And check out the Writers’ Calendar for more.
On February 12, from 7-9pm and just in time for Valentine’s Day, Tracy Strauss, author of the new book I Just Haven’t Met You Yet, and Gina Barreca, Hartford Courant columnist and UCONN Distinguished Professor of English, will discuss Writing About Love: How to Find It, How to Lose It, and Whether You Want to Bother With It At All. Tickets: $20. Copies of Tracy Strauss’ book, will be available for purchase and signing.
Norwalk Public Library is offering a free eight-week writing workshop with Kim Kovach beginning Monday, March 23 from 10:30-12pm. New and experienced writers are welcome to explore writing Flash Fiction (1,000 words) and Micro Fiction (300 words). Weekly homework assignments encourage participants to dive into writing. Registration required.
Another program in the WestportWRITES series is Pain as Metaphor: Writing on Disability and Illness. The workshop with Sonya Huber takes place on Sunday, March 22 from 2-4pm and will delve into the generative and restorative power of metaphor, as used in her book, Pain Woman Takes Your Keys and Other Essays from a Nervous System, to portray and explore the experience of chronic pain in a healing way.
Join Danbury book designer, artist and poet, Shelley Lowell, and Greenwich TV researcher and genealogy teacher, Janeen Bjork at the Danbury Library on March 28, from 10:30-2pm for a presentation on how to write a history of your family. Contact email@example.com for more information.
Connecticut Center for the Book is now accepting submissions for the 2020 Connecticut Book Awards. These awards recognize the best books by authors and illustrators from Connecticut or books about Connecticut. Categories include: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Books for Young Readers broken into three subcategories: Picture Books, Fiction, and Nonfiction. The final deadline for all categories is April 17 and entry fees start at $40.00. Click here for submission guidelines.
In conjunction with the 2020 Connecticut Literary Festival, which is to take place on October 10, 2020, the Central Connecticut State English Department is planning to publish a literary anthology of Connecticut writers. They’re looking for previously unpublished work in the categories of fiction, creative non-fiction, (2,500 words max) and/or up to two poems. For details and how to submit, click here. Submissions deadline: March 31.
Those looking for critique groups or partners might be interested in a new website called critique match. CritiqueMatch is an online platform that connects writers, published authors, and beta readers to exchange feedback and gain skills. While the service is in beta (trial) mode the service is free and might be worth trying.
The 50 best online critique groups include ones that critique query letters, ones for people who only have 10 minutes a day to write and critiques of your first 13 lines, to make sure you’ve hooked the reader.
And here’s another on how one author did her own marketing in order to get onto the USA Today bestseller list.
We had an energizing meeting yesterday, with tales of successes, help sought and given, and goals set for the writing year. Several of us targeted getting published as something to work toward this year. To encourage you in achieving those goals, there are plenty of events and classes to inspire you around here.
Starting with a forum at the Pequot Library this Saturday, January 18, from 11-1pm. The topic is On Publishing and will feature Fairfield University’s MFA Director and author Sonya Huber and incoming MFA director, author and Fairfield University English professor Carol Ann Davis, as well as me. Come armed with questions and we’ll help you figure out how you can make 2020 your year to be published. Free.
Mary-Lou Weisman, bestselling author, personal essayist and memoir writer, offers an eight-week workshop at the Westport Library for those who have had some experience in writing memoir and personal essay, who want to improve their writing. Eight-week sessions begin on January 9 & 23, February 6 & 20, March 5 & 19, April 2 & 16. The classes take place every other Thursday, from 12:30-2:30pm and to be accepted, you need to submit a sample of your writing. For more information, contact Jennifer Keller. Class size is limited to 10. $15.
Among its many other offerings, The Westport Writers Workshop is offering eight Saturday workshops that you can take in your pajamas, using Zoom. It’s an easy-to-use free video conferencing program that allows for multiple participants, audio and video sharing, screen sharing, working on a whiteboard, and recording. Email WWW to ask about a free Zoom demo class that will help you get comfortable with how it works. The eight Zoom workshops run from January 25-March 28 and include this one from 10-12pm on January 25: Putting Your Best Foot Forward: Query Letters. It’s taught by editor Allison Dickens, and the workshop will discuss tactics for writing successful query letters. And you’ll get the chance to submit your query letter for critique.
As you can see, getting published is what it’s all about this month. The Storyteller’s Cottage in Simsbury CT is offering a series of workshops on getting traditionally published. Author Dawn Metcalf will share her experience publishing five young adult fantasy novels with Harlequin Teen, including Luminous and the four-book Twixt series. The sessions take place on Wednesdays from 10-12pm. They include How to Write a Query Letter, January 22, How to Pitch Your Work, January 29, and How to Actually Finish Your Manuscript on February 5. Cost: $45 per class. Other workshops include How to Become a Freelance Writer and one on reviewing theatre.
Westport Writers Workshop is offering a panel on publishing: Traditional Publishing, Self-publishing, and Everything in Between: What’s Right For You? at the Westport Country Playhouse on Saturday, February 1, from 2-4pm. The panel will feature local writers Allison Dickens, Jessica Speart, Libby Waterford, & Heather Frimmer. $25
If you were published in 2019 and live in Connecticut, don’t forget to submit to The Connecticut Press Club’s annual Awards contest. To enter the contest, follow the directions on the contest site. The early deadline to submit entries — and avoid a one-time additional fee of $25 — is January 28. The final deadline for books is February 4 and the final deadline for all other entries is February 11. There are 61 categories including 17 just for writing (news, fiction, poetry, etc) and others for websites, blogs, design, advertising, PR and even speeches. Email CTContestDir@charter.net with questions about the contest. And email firstname.lastname@example.org you would like to be a judge.
Amy Oestreicher will be the featured speaker at an author luncheon at Bernard’s Restaurant in Ridgefield on January 30 at 12pm. Amy will read from her memoir, speak briefly during the prix fixe lunch ($35.00), and conduct a Q & A. Reservations: 203-438-8282.
The WestportWRITES program at the Westport Library is offering a free workshop entitled Sharpen Your Journalism Skills on Sunday, February 9 from 2-4pm. Using elements of lyric writing like hook, word choice and finding an angle, journalist Robin Chung will guide participants through a two-hour workshop with hands-on components that promises to bring fresh insight to the work of the journalist.
Best-selling author Jane Green (left) will be in conversation with memoirist Dani Shapiro on February 12 at 7pm at the Westport Library. They’ll be discussing Shapiro’s latest bestselling memoir, Inheritance. The evening will include audience Q&A and a post-conversation signing. Tickets: $40 for general admission seating, plus a copy of the book. Or $100 for a 6:00 p.m. pre-event VIP reception with Dani and Jane, special reserved seating at the front of the Forum, plus a copy of the book.) Purchase tickets here.
Only three courageous souls braved the icy weather to read their work at the WritersMic this month, but today’s Rendezvous had 14 attendees. Yay! It was held at the Fairfield County Story Lab, where we were hosted by the owner, Carol Dannhauser. Members admired the shared writing spaces available, as we sat around drinking coffee and eating festive cakes and cookies. A person could get used to this! Here’s some of what we discussed:
Join extraordinary memoirist Joyce Maynard at the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio for a one-day Master Class on personal storytelling on Tuesday, January 7, from 10-2:30 pm. ($125) /10-4 pm. ($175). The numbers are limited to 20, and you should register immediately if you’re interested, since places are going fast. Writers who wish to attend must submit, in advance of the class, the first 750 words of a work of first-person Continue reading
I was at the Plumb Library in Shelton recently, as the featured speaker for the monthly meeting of SW CAPA, the SW chapter of the Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association. I gave a talk about Overcoming the Obstacles to Getting your Work Published, and you can watch the YouTube video here. Go to minute 16, to avoid listening to audience chitchat before the main event! If you’d like a copy of my notes, with links to all the helpful sites I mention, email me via the contact page, Continue reading
Writers’ Rendezvous member Elizabeth Chatsworth has just announced a book deal for her brilliant book, The Brass Queen, which will be published by Equinox Books in 2020! This terrific result is the result of Elizabeth’s persistence and the fact that she pursued all possible (and some unlikely) avenues to bring the book to the attention of agents and publishers. In her blog today, she thanks the long list of people who helped her get there. Please read it, so you know how much work is involved in achieving overnight success!
Here’s the draft cover copy for the novel:
In 1897, a fiery British aristocrat and an inept US spy search for a stolen invisibility serum that could spark a global war.
Miss Constance Haltwhistle is the last in a line of blue-blooded rogue inventors. Selling exotic firearms under her alias, the ‘Brass Queen,’ has kept her baronial estate’s coffers full. But when US spy, Trusdale, saves her from assassins, she’s pulled into a search for a scientist with an invisibility serum. As royal foes create an invisible army to start a global war, Constance and Trusdale must learn to trust each other. If they don’t, the world they know will literally disappear before their eyes.
How could you resist, right? Please sign up on Goodreads to let them know you “Want to Read” it. Be part of the village that supports this writer. 🙂
We had a great meeting on Wednesday, with lots of ideas for writers on how and where to submit, editing techniques, and congratulations to members recently or about-to-be published. To keep this month’s update down to one post, I’m forging ahead.
On every third Thursday of the month, The Darien Library hosts a free Writer’s Workshop for writers of any genre and level of writing ability. Next meeting: Thursday, July 18, from 7-8:30 pm. They critique up to ten pages of written work in a friendly, constructive atmosphere. The meeting is directed by Laura Cavers, MFA. If you’re interested in joining the Writer’s Workshop for the first time, email Laura to get started.
On Sunday, July 21 / 2:00pm – 3:00pm The Storytellers Cottage is hosting a chat with a published author about the secrets to becoming a successfully published writer. July’s Featured Author: Penny Goetjen author of The Empty Chair, Murder on the Precipice, and Murder Beyond the Precipice. National award-winner Goetjen writes murder mysteries where the milieu plays as prominent a role as the engaging characters.
Pequot Library’s 59th Annual Summer Book Sale takes place from Friday, July 26 – Monday, July 29, from 9-6pm. Prices vary day to day, from most expensive to begin with to almost free by the end. They often have over 60,000 books for sale, so there’s definitely something there for you.
The Storyteller’s Cottage in Simsbury is also offering a class on Saturday, July 27, from 1-2:30pm, titled: Get Published: from Ideas to Instagram. Topics include: Opportunities on websites such as Submittable, preparing manuscripts, and deciding between a traditional publisher, and indie publisher or self-publishing. What to expect from publishing companies and editors. Revising and editing. And some of the most popular ways authors market their books from traditional bookstore signings to blogs, to Instagram. Good value at $30.
Norwalk Public Library is hosting two authors in August. Ivy Keating will be appearing on August 7 from 12-1:30 to talk about her book Camouflage, and on August 9, also from 12-1:30pm, Scott Kimmich will be discussing his trilogy of fantasy novels, Ordeal by Fire.
The Masters Review is now accepting submissions for their Summer Short Story Award for new writers. The winning story will be awarded $3000 and publication online. Second and third place stories will be awarded publication and $300 and $200 respectively. All winners and honorable mentions will receive agency review. Deadline August 31.
Registration for the 2019 Ridgefield Writers Conference is now open! The conference takes place Friday, September 20, from 6:30-9pm at the Ridgefield Library. This year’s theme is storytelling, and the keynote is acclaimed writer, teacher and New Yorker poet Charles Rafferty. They also offer an agent, editor and publisher panel with Q&A, and three breakout sessions, for poetry, fiction writers and nonfiction. For details, visit Ridgefield Writers Conference. To register, click on Ridgefield Library Events. $25.
The 2019 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize awards $5000 each to winners in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Winners are published in the spring issue of the Missouri Review and honored at a reading and reception in Columbia, Missouri, in late spring. Deadline October 1. All contest entries are considered for publication in the magazine. Entry fee: $25-30. Submit here,
The New York Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America is offering two Burstein scholarships worth $1000 each this year to aspiring mystery writers. The purpose of the scholarship is to offer financial support to writers who want to take a specific class, attend a conference, or do specific research as demonstrably necessary to a mystery work they are creating. You don’t have to be a member of the MWA-NY Chapter, and submissions are open until October 9. Check the link above for how to submit.
If you want to pitch your book to an agent you could consider attending The Gotham Writers Conference on October 25-26. They promise genuinely to connect writers with agents and give a close-up look at how to get a book published. Day 1 includes five panels and presentations. Day 2 is for pitching roundtables. Anyone can attend Day 1, but you must be selected to participate in Day 2. Space is limited.
Those of us with complete manuscripts have to decide how and where to publish. If that’s you, take a look at this informational chart from Jane Friedman, writing and marketing guru, about the key book-publishing paths. It is available as a PDF download—ideal for photocopying and distributing for workshops and classrooms—and the full text is also shown at the link.
Once you’ve decided, check out WriterBeware, which has an excellent newsletter that does what it says on the label. Each issue reviews publishers that have caused problems for authors or that misrepresent themselves. These are often self-described as hybrid publishers, co-publishers or partner publishers. What this means, essentially, is that you pay them to publish. This may be worthwhile in some cases, but it’s helpful to know which of these companies are on the level. Worth signing up for.
Some of you will have attended Dreyer’s evening at the Westport Library on July17, where he discussed his book, Dreyer’s English. If you’re interested in getting your work edited, it might be helpful to know what kind of editing you need. Member Alex McNab has a blog post to enlighten you, describing the Five Stages of Editing.
Don’t forget to check out the Writers’ Calendar for more events for writers, and – keep writing!
Thanks for following my blog, and for letting me know that you find it useful. Hope you find Part 2 helpful, too. You can read Part 1 by following the link at the bottom of the page.
On Wednesday, May 15, at 6pm, the CT Press Club will be hosting its awards evening at the Delamar Hotel in Southport, CT. Congratulations to the many winners who are part of the Rendezvous family, including Ann Lineberger, Kate Mayer, Catherine Onyemelukwe, Lauren Busser, Gina Zammit, MarLou Newkirk and Alison McBain. Looking forward to seeing you at the event. 🙂
We had a relatively small but select group of members at Wednesday’s meeting, probably due to spring break around here, coupled with Passover and Easter. But that gave us a chance to talk to each other about whatever was on our (writing) minds. One of the topics was rejection, about which one of our more prolific writers, Jacqueline Masumian, (Nobody’s Home) has a theory. She has always made it a goal to achieve 50 rejections. I don’t think she’s there yet, because her work is accepted more and more often. Because she submits. And that’s the point of the goal…
It seems to me there are more and more events for writers around here, so I keep updating my Writers’ Calendar, on a separate page of this blog. If you have anything you’fd like me to add, let me know. Here’s a selection of upcoming events, plus some ideas for ways to move your writing forward. Part 2 will follow next week.
On Saturday, April 20, at 7:30 pm, Shanna T. Melton of www.PoeticSoulArts.net is hosting a celebration of National Poetry Month, to include the music of DJ Buddha LuvJonz, art, and an open mic for poets. The event will be held at Conscious Creators, Studio 1223, The Bridgeport Innovation Center on Connecticut Ave, in Bridgeport. $10
From April 26 – 28 (Friday/Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm) a festival of nine new plays will be presented by the Theatre Artists Workshop in Norwalk. Reservations: 203 854 6830. Suggested donation: $25
On April 30, the Fairfield Library is holding an evening for and about book clubs. Worth going if you’re a writer who’d like more book clubs to buy your book. Guest speaker, Carol Fitzgerald, is Founder and President of The Book Report Network. She’ll share some of the hottest new titles, and explain the website Reading Group Guides. Come on your own or bring your book club! Register here.
May 5 sees members Ed Ahern and Alison McBain will be at the Fairfield Library along with other members of the Poets’ Salon, to read selections from their published collections and answer audience questions about their process of writing and getting published. Register here. Ed will be reading again on May 7 at Curley’s Diner in Stamford.
On May 9, from 7-8:30pm, I’ll be leading an Book Odyssey Author Night at the Storytellers Cottage in Simsbury, CT, featuring: Elizabeth Chatsworth, Roman Godzich and Alison McBain. This is one of many author events they hold there. Do join us for this exclusive author night. Meet each author and hear readings from their latest books. Signed copies will be available for purchase. Enjoy a light reception after. If sci-fi isn’t your thing, don’t worry, we’ve written books in various other genres too. Register for $5
Liv Constantine, the two sisters who wrote The Last Mrs Parrish, will be launching their latest psychological thriller – The Last Time I Saw You at the Fairfield University Bookstore on May 10, from 7-9pm. The evening is entitled Merlot, Munchies, & Murder, which should give you some idea of what to expect! RSVP: email@example.com. If you can’t make that evening, there are various others planned. (See the Writers’ Calendar for details.)
On May 16, from 7-9pm, the Fairfield County Story Lab in Westport is hosting a Literary Game Night. Host Evan Pagano, presents a rousing evening of trivia, charades, Pictionary and more — all centered around books, authors and all things literary, from classics to contemporary. Come and compete, team up with new friends, or just watch the games unfold and have some fun. Free to members. $10 for guests. Open to the public.
Keep an eye out for part 2. It should be out on Monday!
Lisa Natcharian launched the Storyteller’s Cottage in a beautiful Victorian house in Simsbury, CT, in 2017. It began as a venue for various literary activities and events for children and adults—book clubs, author readings, Harry Potter and Dungeons and Dragons Clubs, literary parties (1930s Murder Mystery or WWII Blitz party, anyone?) and plenty more. (Check the writers’ Calendar page on this site.) In addition to all of this, Lisa offers writing courses—Six Months to Your Manuscript, Intro to Journalism and Picture Books 101 among many others. Recently she installed a writer-in-Residence, C. Flanagan Flynn, who leads workshops and one-on-one coaching, as well as writing for Inkling, (below) the beautiful quarterly literary magazine published by Storyteller’s Cottage. With all this going for it, it’s small wonder that ST is so popular with writers.
Full disclosure: I’m one of four authors featured in an evening called Book Odyssey Night on May 9, but that’s not why I asked Lisa for this interview.
Recently Lisa added to her impressive list of offerings, by launching The Storyteller’s Press. So far, they’ve published three authors, and I wanted to find out more.
GC: What made you decide to begin such a time-consuming project?
LN: In the two years that we’ve been active in the writing community, we have been privileged to meet scores of aspiring authors. As we spoke to them in the context of our writing classes and social events, we heard over and over about the difficulties new writers have trying to make an impact as tiny fish in a gigantic sea. We saw a need for a small, hometown, supportive press, where new children’s authors can launch a career with personalized, caring support.
GC: How does an author get published by you? Do they require an agent?
LN: No agent is required. Prospective authors may send us a summary of their story idea by email and we’ll respond back with a request for more information if the concept is a good fit for us. For the first year of our operation as a publisher, we are limiting our range to children’s books. As we grow, we plan to add additional genres.
GC: What makes publishing with The Storyteller’s Press different from traditional or self-publishing?
LN: We fit right in the pocket between traditional and self-publishing. As a small press that focuses on personal service, we provide a hand to hold on the beginning of the publishing journey. Whereas self-publishing requires a significant up-front investment on the part of the author, publishing with The Storyteller’s Press does not. And while traditionally published authors may receive an advance on sales, or may be asked to travel to promote their work, the Storyteller’s Press instead operates on a smaller, more human scale. We publish small initial print runs and rely on a print-on-demand model after the initial run, reducing financial risk for all involved. Focusing on our local contacts to promote new books, we work to get new authors into local independent bookstores as well as national chain stores.
GC: Does The Storytellers Press help with marketing the books?
LN: Definitely. With the Storyteller’s Cottage at the core of our local writing community, we are able to quickly garner name recognition for our new authors by promoting them on all our established communication channels, including our website, direct mail, social media, online magazine, etc. New authors are featured in our on-site bookstore, and at a variety of special events, including a launch party, storytime, writing workshop, community fairs and more. We help authors create a website, blog, Facebook page, YouTube book trailer and any other personal marketing vehicles that they can then maintain. Our staff promotes new authors to the media with regular press releases to our established contacts in the area, and will also submit authors’ names to respected online directories and for a variety of author awards.
GC: This is amazing! And finally, most important for my readers, are you currently looking for submissions, and if so, in what genre(s)?
LN: Yes we are. We would love to see submissions from local children’s book authors, especially those that have a self-confidence or educational component. Our current roster includes Amanda Bannikov, whose three books featuring Tippy the Dragon and Kimothin the girl knight all encourage children to get comfortable with uncomfortable situations; Lana Bennett, whose two books featuring Truly the Fairy use mystery-solving to build self-confidence; and Kati Mockler, whose book about magnets teaches children how positive behaviors can attract joy in life.