Writers’ Rendezvous: October update – Part 1

We had another successful meeting on Wednesday, and covered a variety of topics, from classes to contests. I’ll start with upcoming events for writers. If you want more suggestions, or have an event you’d like to add, check the calendar on this page. Part 2 of this update will be appearing on Monday.

Red Dove coverFirst of all, I’ll be facilitating a conversation with author Sonia Antaki about her novel Red Dove: Listen to the Wind at the Westport Playhouse on October 24, at 7pm. Contact me for details if you’d like to attend. Free

pam paulOn Monday, October 21, Pamela Paul, Editor of the New York Times Book Review, will be Continue reading

Westport Writers’ Rendezvous – December update

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.


Courtesy Fairfield County Writers’ Studio

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: mwaterman@westportlibrary.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…

indexThe 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 unicorn4writers@gmail.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!



Great Opportunity for Writers to Work with a New York Agent


Tessa McGovern runs a digital publishing company called eChook: http://echook.com/. She also teaches at Sarah Lawrence College on the Bronx, NY.  The guest post below will tell you how to sign up for a course led by a real live agent – with connections. Read on:
Are you still making up your mind about whether agents are necessary these days, with all the self-publishing possibilities available? If so, here’s something to consider. (If you’ve already decided that you still need an agent, scroll down).
Despite the access we all have to self-publishing, there are still gate-keepers, and there will always be. Why? Because people who run publishing companies can’t sift through hundreds (or thousands) of non-qualified, long-form manuscripts. There simply isn’t time. (This is one of the reasons that eChook focuses on short stories, essays and memoirs). Ditto for the film and video producers running production companies that are beginning to supply the silent but tsunami-like growth in demand for content created by the revolution coming imminently to your living room.
So, if you’re committed to your writing career, unless you’re a genre writer (think romance, thriller, etc) with the time and resources to execute your own writing, editing, copy-editing, design, publishing, marketing and PR, you’re going to want an agent.
More than that, you’re going to want an agent who sells to legacy publishers as well as the new digital publishers (Amazon, Open Road, Premier Digital) and let’s not forget film and video rights.
Enter Cynthia Manson, a NY agent who will be teaching “How to Get Published in Today’s Market” at Sarah Lawrence College in February 2012. It isn’t often writers get this sort of opportunity to work with an agent over a period of weeks and submit the first chapter of their project. Here’s the class description:
So you’ve written the Great American Novel, workshopped it, revised it, poured your heart and soul into it, and now you feel it’s ready to send out into the world. Now what do you do? Time to find an agent and get it published, that’s what! This class is intended to help serious writers navigate the world of publishing in today’s dynamic, changing marketplace. We will discuss how to find the right agent for your work and how to successfully submit it, whether commercial or literary. How to write effective pitch letters and queries, with an emphasis on the all important “hook.” We will examine the different publishing options available in a shifting business environment: traditional legacy publishing, small presses, packagers, self publishing, and the emergent possibilities of ebook publishing. Also, what do you do when you get a deal? Information on contacts, negotiations, the production process, marketing, promotion, and distribution. As part of this course we will read and critique each other’s query letters that include “the pitch” and the respective synopses that accompany the cover letter. At the end of the course, the instructor invites each participant to submit the first chapter of their work to her.
Cynthia Manson is a well-known and respected literary agent with a small, successful list of published authors. She graduated from Scripps College for Women with a BA in English Literature and Fine Arts. She also attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course where she was inspired by Sterling Lord and his associates. Two years later she joined the Sterling Lord Literary Agency. Mason has worked in both magazine and book publishing including Putnam, Bertelsmann and Scientific American. Currently she is launching an e-book line for Advertising Age Magazine as well as representing authors in a variety of genres.
To register for Cynthia Manson’s ‘How to Get Published in Today’s Market’ class, CLICK HERE.
For information about and registration for Tessa Smith McGovern’s classes at Sarah Lawrence College, CLICK HERE.