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
We had another great Zoom meeting yesterday. I love seeing new people, as well as the usual suspects. This is a strange time for us all, but I see many positives coming out of it – in particular the creative ways in which writing and publishing are being supported. Check below for excellent online events you can get to without moving from your living room. Member Lauren Busser (right) had several useful links for you. (Thank you, Lauren!) I’ve marked her contributions LB.
If you’re having trouble getting down to writing, and you’d like some accountability, you might try writing 1000 words a day for two weeks, with author Jami Attenberg’s #1000WordsofSummer challenge. The 2020 session will be from May 29-June 11. You’ll receive a daily email encouraging you to write and all levels of writers are welcome. LB
The annual BookExpo in New York is the largest book fair in the country, and part of it, BookCon, is devoted to the public, rather than to the business of publishing. This year they’re doing it virtually, Continue reading
The list of award winners in the Connecticut Press Club’s annual contest has just been published, and I’m delighted to say that over thirty awards were won by members of the Writers’ Rendezvous. Several won in more than one category. … Continue reading
Here, as promised, is Part Two of the April update. In addition to all the activities for writers that have specific dates attached, there are several things you can do that require almost no effort at all. (Hooray!)
For example, the Westport Library is offering a whole lot of online programming, from 6-minute yoga sessions with Kerri Gawreluk, to a video series (10 Questions for… which are video interviews with a number of authors with interesting things to say. If you missed any of their great author events recently, this will bring you up to speed. They also have several short author podcasts on their website, featuring local authors. Among them are Jennifer Rosner, author of The Yellow Bird Sings, interviewed by book reviewer Jennifer Blankfein, and a series of three talks on the publishing process by Jane Green. They include: Getting Published, Genres, Editors, and Literary Agents, and most important: Money and Other Insights.
Several people in the group were interested in submitting their work, having realized that they had things they’d written and never submitted. Two places that can help you choose where to send your work are Submittable (free) and Duotrope ($50 a year).
And if you feel you need fresh eyes on your work, you can find critiques at Scribophile
Among the places currently looking for submissions, is the publisher of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. They have several volumes for which they’re currently looking for pieces, including, Age is Just a Number, Christmas is in the Air and Self-Care and Me Time. Check the site for submission guidelines and deadlines.
The Discord App is a forum that allows communication over voice, video, and text. The Screenwriters Network server offers insightful discussions on scripts, writing prompts, technique, script feedback, table reads, and writing groups. It also hosts contests and has a hub of over 15,000 screenplays – and it’s free.
Hybrid Publisher She Writes Press is offering free webinars focusing on different aspects of publishing and promoting your book. They’re free until May 31st. Teachers include Wendy Walker, Kelly Corrigan, and Abigail Thomas, among others. The classes range from 30 minutes to an hour. You can do this!
If you like the idea of learning something, you might try flash fiction. This course comes recommended: Fast Flash© is a ten-day (two weeks, Monday thru Friday) intensive and generative online flash fiction workshop created and designed by Kathy Fish that focuses on craft with daily exercises and prompts aimed at skill-building while allowing for artistry and innovation. Writers participate on their own schedule in a private WordPress site.
Another source of learning is Masterclass, which I expect you’ve all seen in online ads. They’re currently offering unlimited access to their classes for two people for a year for $180, and their teachers include David Baldacci, Margaret Atwood, Judy Blume, and David Sedaris, among others.
For those of you looking for places to pitch your essays and articles, member Lauren Busser recommends https://soniaweiser.wordpress.com/opportunities-of-the-week-newsletter/ and https://wheretopitch.com. And if you have a particular expertise that you’d like to share, you can offer to Help a Reporter Out. Check their website to find out how it works.
If you’re writing memoir, you may find this newsletter interesting, It’s recommended by member Kate Mayer. Memoir Monday is a weekly newsletter and quarterly reading series brought to you by Narratively, The Rumpus, Catapult, Longreads, Granta, and Guernica. Each essay in this newsletter has been selected by the editors at the above publications as the best of the week, delivered to you all in one place.
Zoom. That’s the way I’ve been getting together with my friends, my writing groups, French conversation groups and, of course, The Writers’ Rendezvous people. And the great advantage of Zoom, is that it’s allowed me to host people who usually … Continue reading
I don’t often have time to write additional posts between Rendezvous updates. And I know that some writers are finding it hard to write right now, even though they have the ‘leisure’ to do so. These are strange times, so I began to think about how life would be in the writing/publishing world after this is over.
It struck me that there are a number of things we can do to make sure that this business of ours survives and does well. And if you have any additional ideas, let me know in the comments 🙂
If your book launch has been canceled, think about ways of having one online. People may have more time to attend and be entertained, and if they like you and your book, they’ll buy! Facebook Live seems like an easy place to start. (Note: If you’re published by a traditional publisher, make sure you have permission to read your book aloud online. s. It shouldn’t be a problem, but better safe than sorry.)
Or you could video yourself reading from the first chapter, and post it with an offer of a special eBook price, to encourage people to buy. If you can add Continue reading
We had out first Virtual Writers’ Rendezvous via Zoom yesterday, and I’m so glad we did. Thirteen of us managed to sign in, and it was a wonderful way to connect. And, as you can see, I look much younger on Zoom. (Just kidding – that’s not me…) The reason the Rendezvous exists is as an antidote to the isolation of writers. And nothing will stop us connecting! (Photo below courtesy of Zoom)
Naturally, there were almost no events I could recommend, since everything for the immediate future is canceled. But the internet is a wonderful thing. Here are some of the things you can do to stay in the writing groove.
Around twenty of us gathered at Barnes & Noble in Westport this month, to chat, encourage and suggest writing solutions for each other. Poets, fiction and non-fiction writers including journalists – everyone had something constructive to offer. We are a great community!
And now, first things first. The Westport Library is presenting a performance of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues tomorrow night, Friday, February 21, to benefit the Center for Family Justice and the Rowan Center – both organizations are dedicated to helping people in crisis. Among the many women appearing, will be yours truly and Mitzy Sky, one of the Rendezvous members. If you can come, please do. The suggested donation of $20 will go to an excellent cause, and if that’s too much for your budget, come anyway. Sign up here.
Westport Writers Workshop is offering a series of write-ins 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.