Writers Rendezvous – August update part 1

Our August meeting was full of interesting people and useful ideas, as usual. We even had one attendee from Bangla Desh! The joy of Zoom is that it allows people to join us from anywhere. We covered a number of topics, and some of the events I mentioned have short deadlines, so read on for those happening this weekend, and more. Note – all times listed are Eastern Time.

On August 21 from 10:30 – 11:30am, the Association for Publishers for Special Sales is offering a virtual talk on Painless Marketing Tips for Authors by Jim Alkon, Editorial Director, Booktrib, the book review and news site. This session will help authors match budgets, marketing elements, and expectations, and provide some ideas of options and opportunities that might help them get a marketing lift. Free. Here’s the Zoom link if you’d like to attend.

The Woodhall Press is running its writers’ conference the same day, August 21, and although much of it is sold out, they have a free Book Pitch session at 3pm for anyone to attend virtually. They plan to run it in a reality show format, where contestants will be asked to pitch their book (via a video) to publishers, a Hollywood agent and a producer, and an audiobook acquisitions editor. Download the book pitch submission instructions here. If you plan to pitch, you need to get your video submitted today, August 19.​ Even watching other people’s pitches and hearing the expert feedback should prove useful.

The Wesleyan (Middletown, CT) branch of RJ Julia’s famous bookstore is offering an in-person Writers’ Workshop with Gina Barreca on Tuesday, August 24, at 7:00pm. The workshop will cover publishing your novel, the impact of great mentors, and how to unleash your inner author.$49.95 includes a copy of Fast Funny Women. Register here. You can submit a question in advance about writing, publishing, or promoting your novel.

The Fairfield County Writers Studio is beginning its fall semester with a variety of workshops, including Writing Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror  (begins September 1) with Nina Kiriki Hoffman, author of seventeen novels, including The Spirit in the Clay. Carol Dannhauser leads a fall creative writing class, beginning September 9. This craft workshop explores the key elements of strong writing and storytelling, whether fiction or non-fiction, regardless of genre.

On Thursday, September 9 from 6-8pm, the Westport Writers Workshop is hosting an Open House at their new premises in Westport, CT. Stop by to check out the new space, meet their instructors & fellow writers, and have a drink to toast the re-emergence of their in-person workshops and events. Free. Music by Dustin Lowman and photography by Jim Waterbury. WWW plan to run most of their Fall classes on Zoom, but also offer eight in-person workshops, for those of you itching to work with other writers face-to-face. Check out live and virtual classes here. Among them is an Introduction to Fiction class taught by member Libby Waterford, beginning August 30 for seven weeks.

I always encourage writers to submit their writing. I’m often told that the idea of it seems overwhelming. There are several ways to make it easier on yourself. For one thing, joining a write-in, like the one I run on Monday mornings, means you’ve committed to moving your writing forward, and if you spend the time doing submissions, that’s great. Details on the events page. There are websites that help you find places to submit, and some of them, like Duotrope, allow you to track your submissions. The Submission Grinder and Submittable are free to use. Duotrope costs $50 per year, but offers you more features. I also find the Authors Publish newsletter useful, since it mails you lists of places to submit in different genres, both for short work and for novels, memoirs, etc.

Tiffany Yates Martin, a successful novelist (as Phoebe Fox) and editor, is teaching a class for Jane Friedman on October 6, entitled 5 Steps to an Airtight Plot. Here’s how she described the process. Think of your protagonist(s) as Tarzan. If you want him to fly through the air with the greatest of ease, your job as the author is to make sure there’s a vine within reach when he needs it, that it swings him smoothly through the jungle canopy, and that there’s another vine ready for his grasp when he reaches the end of that arc. He can travel the whole jungle that way, all the way home to Jane. Only $25, with the recording accessible afterward to those who register. Register here.

There’s more information to come on Monday, so stay tuned. Meantime, keep writing!

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