First, thanks to everyone who showed up yesterday for our 5th anniversary meeting in spite of dire warnings about the weather. And congratulations to member Alison McBain who came First in the Connecticut Press Club’s Communications Contest for her editing … Continue reading
I’m going to keep the intro short this month, since there’s a lot of ground to cover. Wednesday saw another great meeting, with old hands and new faces, and many successes to report. And here’s what’s coming up in the writing world of Fairfield County and environs:
This Saturday, January 19, Brian Hoover will be leading his monthly memoir writing workshop from 10:30-12:00, in the Bridgeport History Center, located in the main branch of the Bridgeport Public Library. Free.
The Connecticut Press Club is wrapping up submissions for this year’s contest. Anyone who lives or works in Connecticut is eligible to enter work published in 2018. Fees: $25 for the first entry and $15 for each additional entry. Deadline: midnight EST, January 22.
I wasn’t able to be at the Writers’ Rendezvous on Wednesday, but Alex McNab ably took the reins and gave me great notes for this update. It seems that January re-energizes writers – perhaps here in Fairfield County, cold weather keeps us stuck indoors and offers more time to write. In any case, there are a number of events going on, and several publications/organizations looking for submissions. Here they are, in deadline order:
Tomorrow, Saturday, January 20, the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio is inviting writers to Reach Your Writing Goals in 2018 from 1-2:30 pm. Register for this event, which includes the chance to chat to faculty members. Free to former students, $15 to others.
In spite of this being NaNoWriMo (National Novel-Writing Month) month, sixteen of us showed up to hang out with other writers. A couple of our members were ahead of the game in terms of numbers of words written, some had stalled but were gamely going to keep trying. Either way, well done, I say!
If you’re looking for a quiet place to work (on your novel or any other writing) The Fairfield County Writers’ Studio is having open days on November 17, 18, 20, 21, 27 and 28. Hours vary, so be sure to check their site.If you have taken a paid workshop with them, you can come in and write for free on those days. If you haven’t, you can buy a one-day pass for $25. They’d like to know you’re coming, so either register here, or email them at info@FCWritersStudio.com.
There are a lot of writing events happening around us – here are just a few:
Next Tuesday, November 21, is WritersMic night at Panera’s in Westport 7-8.45PM. Come and read something for five minutes or so, or come to listen.
First – thanks so much to the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio, who hosted this month’s Rendezvous. Barnes and Noble were simply too full of holiday stuff to have room for us, but we’ll be back there next month. In the meantime, thanks are due to Carol Dannhauser and Tessa McGovern, FCWS founding partners. And we covered a lot of ground, though there’s some additional information in this update which I didn’t get to in the meeting.
First up are the writing classes you need to sign up for now if you want to begin the New Year with a resolution to write more. Fairfield County Writers Studio (see photo left) has a huge variety – check them out here. in addition to classes and workshops, they are having another pitch party on January 28th, with Marilyn Allen, literary agent.
At the Westport Public Library, under the Westport WRITES banner, author and teacher Mary-Lou Weisman will lead a new six-part series for beginning writers, as well as an eight-session series for advanced writers. Introductory Non-Fiction Writing Workshop is on Thursdays, January 12-February 16 from 1:15-2:45 pm. There’s also an Advanced Non-Fiction Writing Workshop on Thursdays from January 10-April 18. This is an eight-session workshop for those who have had some experience in writing memoir and personal essay. You’ll need to submit some writing beforehand to ensure that you’re experienced enough for this class. Contact the library for more details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Write Yourself Free in Westport is also beginning its new year classes with a series of master classes for mixed genres. Join Patrick McCord Tuesday or Wednesday morning and evening, or Thursday afternoons to get your writing fix. If you’re interested in memoir or screenwriting, you can join specific classes in those genres. Get more info on all their classes here.
A propos of learning new things, one of our members, Alison McBain, attended the one-day workshop on writing for children that I mentioned last month. She’s written a blog post giving an overview of it, so if you want to know what went down, click on the link.
In addition, Alison finished her novel during NaNoWriMo and pitched it via a Twitter event called #pitmad. PitMad stands for Pitch Madness. There’s an excellent article on this one-day event here. Doing this has resulted in several agents asking to see Alison’s novel, which is terrific. You can pitch any genre, so check it out. You’ll need a Twitter account to pitch.
Being British myself, and writing in the British style, I sometimes wonder why people here don’t get exactly what I mean. For any of you writing something with a British character, here’s a very good run-down from Joanna Penn (of The Creative Penn) on how to get the Britishness just right. It might help you understand me, too…
The Connecticut Press Club wants your submissions for the Annual Communications Contest. Last year some people found it hard to submit, but the process has been streamlines for this year. They’ll be sending out a call for entries next week with instructions how to enter your work in the contest. To ensure you’re on their mailing list, email CTPressclub@gmail.com. That way, you’ll get all the information as it happens. There are 64 categories, so if you’ve had work published/broadcast/launched etc during 2016, check the list. The Connecticut early bird deadline is January 17 and the regular deadline is February 6. They’re going to swap judging duties with the Illinois affiliate of the NFPW, which means that they judge Connecticut’s entries and CT judges theirs. Please let the CPC know at the email above if you’re interested being a judge.
I found an interesting article specifically targeted to writers with books they want to promote. It tells you how to run Facebook Ads that work. If that writer is you, take a look.
Hearst Magazines used to have a collective submission system called the Mix, which allowed you to submit to all their publications simultaneously. Since its demise, it’s been harder to do that. There’s a list of all the Hearst editors in the following blog: How to pitch Hearst magazines now The Mix has gone.
The most popular feature of the annual Unicorn Writers Conference, taking place March 25th , 2017, is the 30-minute One-on-Ones with top NYC agents and editors. For an additional $60 over the basic $325 cost, you get a 30-minute sit-down with the agent or editor of your choice, who will have read 40 pages of your manuscript as well as your two-page summary. For $150, Unicorn for Writers is offering to help you edit and polish those 40 pages before you submit them to those agents for the conference. You can find out more by emailing email@example.com
And finally, here’s the link for BookBub, for people who asked me for it. Pick your preferred genres, and BookBub will send you daily offers on e-books at much reduced prices. They’re books by well-known authors as well as newer writers.
And all that remains is for me to wish all my readers a very happy holiday week (or so). Keep writing!
Our May meeting of the Westport Writers’ Rendezvous was made even more interesting by several new members. I never know what’s going to come up, but new members always add something to the mix. If you’ve anything to add to this list, please add it in the comments below. Thanks!
Among the upcoming events I want to mention is The Connecticut Press Club’s Awards dinner, which is taking place this Wednesday, May 25th at the Saugatuck Boat Club in Westport. $40 gets you drinks and hors d’oeuvres and a chance to meet fellow writers of all types. There were around 40 categories of awards this year, so there’s a place for everyone to submit next time round. Please RSVP by emailing Michele Turk firstname.lastname@example.org immediately!
Terry Macmillan of Waiting to Exhale fame will be presenting her latest book, I Almost Forgot About You, at the Wilton Library on June 7th at 7-8:30pm. The event is free but it’s a good idea to register on line.
One of our members, Mary Ann West, is launching her new book: House Grab – a True Crime Story on Saturday, June 11th from 6:00 PM- Sunset at The Pavilion at Longshore Park, Westport, CT. Since she’s combining the event with her birthday, she’d love you to bring a new or genty used book to be donated to local charities. For more details, connect with Mary Ann on Facebook
Jan Kardys, who organizes several literary events, including the Unicorn Writers’ Conference, Is running a one-day workshop for writers on June 25th in Newtown, CT for a cost of $45 per participant. Here’s a quick rundown: Part 1- The Craft of Writing. Award-winning filmmaker, playwright, author and teacher Bob Zaslow will demonstrate the six elements of effective writing. Part 2- How to Get Published. 35-year publishing veteran, Jan Kardys, will call on her experience working for ten of NYC’s biggest publishing houses to talk in depth about the big three types of publishing: traditional, self-, and blended and which one is right for you. Part 3- The Craft of Design. Unfortunately, today people do judge a book by its cover. Glen Edelstein, former art and design director for Bantam Dell Publishing, will teach you about the elements of good design: from covers to interiors to typefaces, as well as special features bookmarks, flyers and banners. Parts 4, 5, 6- Three Connecticut published authors, Including Tessa McGovern of the Fairfield County Writers’ Studio, will discuss their own writers’ journeys to success and answer questions. You can register here
Writers looking for constructive criticism should check out the Easton Writers’ Workshop. Recommended by Ed Ahern, it’s a Meetup that happens once a month (I think). The next meeting is this Saturday, May 28th, at 11am. Here’s the link.
The next events for writers at the Fairfield Public Library will be
Writers Read, on Tuesday June 7, from 7-9 pm and Writers’ Salon, Friday June 3, from 4-6 pm. They’re out of their usual sequence in June because the first Tuesday comes after the first Friday.
Some of our members have announced their new websites. They are:
Kate Mayer: KathrynMayer.com
Jacqui Masumian: http://www.jacquelinemasumian.com/ (hosted by Weebly)
And Susan Israel: http://www.susanisrael.net/
BTW, Susan will be appearing at Barnes and Noble in Westport to launch her latest crime novel, Student Bodies, on June 30th at 7pm. Come and support her!
Ed Ahern sent me this. It’s an article by a young woman whose job it was to read short story submissions. It’s witty but quite pointed, too. Any of you writing shorts, should take a look.
Here’s the article we talked about on how to promote your book relatively painlessly, by Kimberly Dana. Many of these are simple ideas that you can begin doing now, even if your book isn’t finished.
Alex McNab found this interview by the Book Doctors (the people who run Pitchpalooza) with author John Dufresne. About two-thirds of the way down he talks about book promoting and platform, if you’re interested.
Alex McNab’s latest blog post, with Sinatra biographer James Kaplan, is now up at the Fairfield Writer’s Blog.
Something a little different – Do you love books? This could be your dream job! Elm Street Books in New Canaan is looking for a part-time bookseller (3 days, permanent, no summer positions). Must be available to work on weekends. Please email resume to:Kathleen@elmstreetbooks.com
New members looking for places to submit, should take a look at Duotrope and also Beyond Your Blog. Their approaches are quite different, but they can give you ideas. Both are used by some of our most regularly published writers.
Talking of submissions, the next deadline for Glimmer Train is June 30th. They publish fiction of various lengths, and there are prizes for the best.
I attended a lunch with Pulitzer prize-winning author Anna Quindlen the other day, so I took the opportunity to ask her what she felt about editing (my hobby horse). She said she wouldn’t dream of publishing without her books being edited by her long-time editor, and didn’t understand her friends who did so. Editing makes a book so much better. I feel vindicated…
Until next time – happy writing!
Sherry Shameer Cohen is an award winning blogger with 20 years of experience as a freelance general assignment reporter and photographer and 10 years experience as a Special Sections Editor. She describes herself as a parachute journalist, a snappy way of saying that she can handle any assignment she’s dropped into quickly – and presumably she always lands on her feet.
She revived the Connecticut Press Club by, among other things, bringing decision makers from national magazines and large publishing houses to Connecticut to show writers how to get more challenging and better paying assignments. This cannot be bad. She’s organizing a special panel of Agents and editors in Norwalk, CT on March 8. I asked her what the deal was, and here’s what she wrote back:
All Connecticut Press Club programs are open to everyone, but most of the people who come are writers. The organization draws staff and freelance writers, editors, publicists, bloggers, photographers and graphic artists. Our programs are usually held at The Norwalk Inn, but we’ve also had meetings at restaurants and at the Westport Public Library. We get 18-60 people at our programs, depending on the topic. Editors and agents draw the highest number of attendees.
Our programs are meant to be small enough for people to network with the speakers as well as with other writers and editors. We’re lucky to be so close to New York so that we can get speakers from national publications and publishing houses. Initially, we thought they were coming as a professional courtesy, but it turns out that they are usually actively seeking new talent and tell us what’s missing from Writer’s Market. For example, one editor likes pitches in two paragraphs so he can read them on his smartphone. A health editor is trim and fit and doesn’t want pitches on diet and exercise, but two immediate family members were affected by pollutants, so she’s interested in stories about environmental health. She also gave us a list of her sources. Another health editor wants a whole package in two pieces – pitch and hed (headline) and dek (subhead) via email; clippings via snail mail so she doesn’t have to print out a lot. This is very valuable information!
Among the people we’ve booked for March 8 are:
Tamar Mays of Harper Collins Children’s Division
Marilyn Allen of Allen and O’Shea Literary Agency
Susan Schulman of Susan Schulman Literary Agency
Farley Chase of Chase Literary Agency (formerly at Waxman)
When: Thursday, March 8, 2012 from 6:00 – 8:30.
Where: The Norwalk Inn, 99 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT (I-95 to Exit 16)
Admission: $35.00 (includes dinner)
Reservations recommended, but walk-ins are always welcome. R.s.v.p. at 203-968-8600 or email@example.com.
GC: So don’t sit there whining that you can’t find an agent or an editor – show up!