February Speaker Lee Wind of IBPA

How do you get your book noticed in a sea of books? Learn how to leverage your book's themes, conversations, and your own passionate authenticity to target and engage your audiences. Do it right, and you're not selling them, you're engaging them about your shared interests and passion... and that gets your book discovered!

Please join Lee Wind, Director of Marketing and Programming for the Independent Book Publishers Association, in this hands-on exploration of your goals and the levers and tools to achieve them. The outcome? You'll walk away with some insight, inspiration, and a not-overwhelming to-do list of what you want to tackle first in terms of marketing your book.

Lee Wind is the Director of Marketing and Programming for the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA). A Children's/YA author and book blogger himself, Lee is passionate about empowering others to have their voices heard, and he's looking forward to meeting members of the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild.

What You Missed…

. . .at the November meeting, by Marcia Buompensiero

as reported in the December issue of The Writer's Life

The much-anticipated SDWEG anthology for 2017, The Guilded Pen (6th edition), debuted at our November 27 meeting with a reception and recognition of our contributors who shared their poems, essays, memoir tales, and short stories with an appreciative crowd.

We learned the blessings of “Mom’s Ugly Lemon Cake,” and how our world can change in a wink and a nod when “Mother’s Justice” rewards those who trifle with the dignity of man.

We benefited from the “Insight” of a blind child; remembered a time when Prokofiev soothed an aching heart; and learned how “Gratitude” can heal the hurts in some of life’s painful lessons.

We meditated, were rejuvenated, and pondered a glass half-full, while wondering at how a healer worked her mystic magic.

We learned how it would feel to win the medal of honor; relished a sexy senior’s pluck while looking for a new wrinkle; and discovered where we might invest in beach-front property as the tides rise in the coming millennia.

While one was seeking perfection, another could not wait to exit the tangle of school “daze” dilemmas.

We weighed our fate when a contingent of El Salvadoran coast guard boarded our ship in search of contraband.

Yet, there was no riding off into the sunset as our ears did ring with the wails and whines of the “Ghost Writers in the Sky.”

And when it was done, the battle was won, as the rainforest guardian stood her ground, while it was told how a potter took pride in the practical purpose of art.

In short, you missed a really good show!

December Holiday Celebration

Our regular monthly meeting in December will be held on Monday, December 11, rather than the usual fourth Monday of the month. There will be no program. Members and their guests are welcome to bring something to share to this potluck holiday party, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at our usual meeting room. Get to know members you haven't met before. Enjoy the company of those you already know.

photo credit Mira

November Program Features Anthology Launch

From the November issue of The Writer’s Life.

The SDWEG general member meeting on November 27 will be devoted to the release of The Guilded Pen, 6th edition. The book is the 2017 anthology of 48 short stories and essays, as well as 7 poems written by 36 SDWEG members.

Special thanks goes to Simone Arias and Ruth Leyse-Wallace as the anthology’s editors, and Marcia Buompensiero, managing editor.

At the November meeting, the 230-page, softcover anthology will be on sale for $15. The heart of the meeting will be readings of a number of the stories and poems by the authors. As noted in the Foreword, written by SDWEG member Johnathan Maberry, the anthology is “filled with dreams, with imaginings, with ‘what ifs’,” crafted by SDWEG members who range from novice writers to seasoned professionals. Especially appealing is the extraordinary array of topics in the anthology. A small sample includes a story about a Vietnam pilot, Indians fighting slave hunters, a barber in Iran, a sexy senior, a day on an atomic sub, and a sci-fi tale of humans evolving into porpoises. This is just a taste of many fascinating reads. Enjoy!

What You Missed. . .

From the November issue of The Writer’s Life.

What You Missed... notes about our October speaker, by Mardie Schroeder

Our own Margaret Harmon conducted a charmingly fun evening of full audience participation with her “Literary Games” — that is, games designed to help us break through obstacles to our creativity and productivity as writers. The focus of our particular game was “Plotting to Succeed,” with Margaret reminding us that at the heart of literary plots are three basic conflicts: Man vs. Man; Man vs. Nature; or Man vs. Himself. To play Margaret’s game, we were to build a story around one of the following nine scenarios:

  1. A 10-year-old runs away from home.
  2. A 20-year-old quits college and leaves the US.
  3. A 30-year-old disappears, leaving spouse, kids, job, and friends.
  4. A 40-year-old decides to run for President of the United States.
  5. A 60-year-old starts a new business.
  6. A 22-year-old kills a best friend.
  7. A popular priest leaves his church.
  8. A clown never removes his makeup in public.
  9. An airline pilot refuses to drive a car.

We were then asked to describe our character in over-the-top, whatever-occurs-to-you details that would make the motive inevitable. With 10 minutes or so of silence, we all scribbled away. Then the hands went up as our intrepid authors offered to read their works. The result was that an astonishing variety of characters and story-lines were revealed.

But that’s not all. The next step was to bring in a helper character, as in “No one is an island.” And again, with 10 minutes of furious scribbling, we expanded our scenarios. The plots we created featured an abundance of mayhem and angst -- and quite a few laughs. Is there a new novel in the works? Only time will tell. (Visit www.margaretharmon.com)

You Are Invited to Plot to Succeed

Margaret HarmonSDWEG member and successful fabulist, Margaret Harmon, will be our presenter at our October 23 meeting, and she invites us to join her at play.

All writers face fears. Beginners wonder if they have any talent and don’t know how to start a career. Successes face the Next Book Jinx. Writers without agents get boilerplate rejections. Writers with agents get nastily specific rejections. Fear is a given.

But fear strangles boldness—and thus originality—and paralyzes us when we’re ready to send finished work to agents and editors.

PLAYING defeats fear. Playing, we face no penalty, price, serious consequence, critic, or judge. We do what we WANT to! And discovering what we truly want is a crucial step in creating. PLAYING can turn paper scraps into a . . . who knows?

At our October 23rd meeting, we’ll play three of Margaret's Literary Games on plotting: PLOTTING TO SUCCEED. Bring a fast pen and paper or your favorite laptop/phone, wear comfy clothes, and prepare to laugh and joke and experiment and discover and . . . ?

What You Missed… notes on our September speaker

From the October issue of The Writer's Life

Terror in Ypsilanti: John Norman Collins Unmasked, by Gregory Fournier, is an account of a serial killer in a small Michigan town where the author once lived. Fournier even knew the killer, as they lived a few houses apart.

John Norman Collins killed seven high school girls. He took his first victim to his uncle’s house when the uncle was on vacation and John was taking care of the dog. At that house he violated and brutally killed her.

The police looked for the serial killer for two years. But it was this first murder that brought Collins to trial. He received a life sentence without parole.

Another writer wrote a book about this case and fictionalized everything, changing the names of the victims, the murderer, etc. Greg decided his book would tell everything — a work that ended up being a 7-8 year obsession.

Fournier's book is in three parts: the victims, the court case. and the aftermath. He felt the structure of the book was very important, so he wrote each murder separately to provide essential details.

The parents of the first victim contacted Fournier to ensure he handled her story in a respectful manner. His meeting with them proved to be a highlight of his writing journey.

The Ypsilanti authorities wanted to hide the grisly story under a rug, so records were “lost.” But fortunately, Greg had a researcher in Ypsilanti who volunteered his services and found the newspaper stories and other reports that made it possible for the story to be written.

To promote the book, Fournier hired local publicist Paula Margulies (the author of The Tau of Book Publicity). She suggested he write a blog, which proved to be the most important advice he received. Initially reluctant, he began the blog, titled fornology.com, and it helped him find and develop an audience. He now enjoys writing it. (You can contact Gregory at gregoryafournier@gmail.com)

What You Missed

WHAT YOU MISSED

by Mardie Schroeder

On June 26, Jonathan Maberry spoke to the Guild about crossing genres. In his opinion, a writer should be able to write about anything. He said that although there may not always be a big market for your genre, there is always a market for every subject.

Well-known authors Richard Matheson and Stephen King are just two examples of successful writers who have written everything from sci-fi, horror, fantasy, adult fiction, suspense, thrillers, and more.

You can have more than one genre in a book. Go with the mix you love to write about.

Different genres bring in different income streams. If you have two books in the same genre at the same time they compete with each other.

Jonathan writes eight hours a day. He makes a bullet outline and writes the ending, although he may change it. He does take breaks to write something entirely different. While writing a book he will do research for a new book.

Jonathan suggests bringing characters from your other books into new ones. He’s all for taking creative risks (experimentation) but respecting your audience.

If you write about what makes you excited to write, your passion will show through. Write a story that you would go out of your way to read.

If you write with the same passion you have for reading, you will write a good book.

Resources for Short Stories

Membership Benefit of the Month–Meetings

Each month, on the fourth Monday but adjusted for federal holidays when necessary, the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild invites speakers to share their experience as authors, editors, publishers, publicists, and marketing specialists. There is no cost to SDW/EG members for these presentations. A $5.00 fee is requested from non-members.

Speakers and programs in the past two years have included the following:

  • Neil Senturia and Barbara Bry, Humor in Business Writing
  • Charlene Baldridge, My Writing and All It Entails
  • Carolyn Wheat: Author of Suspense and Mystery
  • Richard Lederer: Celebrating Shakespeare
  • Margaret Harmon: Character-Building: Literary Games
  • Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock: the Jim Croce Story
  • Alan Kilpatrick, Ph.D.: Crafting Plays
  • Kathleen B Jones, Ph.D.: Biography and Hannah Arendt
  • Larry Edwards: How He Did It (Self-publishing and marketing); Using Social Media
  • Richard Lederer: Monsters Unleashed
  • Kathi Diamant: The Art of Giving and Receiving Critiques
  • Judy Reeves: “First Paragraphs and What They Must Do”
  • Hutton Marshall: editor of the San Diego Uptown News
  • Zoe Ghahremani: The Arc of a Writer
  • Bonnie ZoBell: Writing What Happens
  • Donna Eckstein: Telling Your Story
  • Alan Russell: Ghostwriting
  • Jefferson Parker: Writing a Hometown Story
  • Richard Lederer: American Presidents; Shakespeare
  • Martin Kruming: Legal Issues for Authors
  • Gered Beebe: Creative Non-Fiction
  • Marnie Freedman: 7 Essential Writing Tools
  • Dennis Lynch, Leslie Johansen Nack, and Lauri Taylor: Panel of Memoirists
  • Wendy Patrick: The Darker Side of Social Media
  • Antoinette Kuritz: The Business of Writing
  • David Wogahn: Metadata, Registration, and ISBMs
  • Jonathan LaPoma: Screenwriting
  • Christina Alexandra: Romance Writing
  • Diane Hinds: Marketing Your Books
  • Mark Reichenthal: Legal Issues for Authors
  • Penn Wallace: Marketing 101
  • Jonathan Maberry: Writing for MG and YA audiences

The Board of Directors is always interested to know of speakers members would like to invite for meetings. To suggest a speaker, send a message to sandiegowriterseditorsguild@gmail.com.

What You Missed

From the June issue of the newsletter, by Mardie Schroeder

Jeniffer Thompson spoke on creating your personal branding. A brand helps you stand out. You need a logo and a style guide. Use the same typeface. Color is important. Everything should be consistent and recognizable. A brand will give you self-confidence. Consider having more than one domain name.

Begin with a strong platform and build on it. Connect the dots with everything you put out on social media so they work together. Drive all traffic to your website. Get people invested in you.

Make a five-year goal of what you want to do: write, teach, speak, conduct workshops, etc. At times you may have to redirect your course.

Write lots of content and share it with as many people as you can. Every time you speak or contribute an article include a bio with a link back to your website.

Jeniffer suggests updating your bios with different word lengths: 10, 25, 80, 180, and long form. You need a good head shot updated every few years (3 to 4 max).

Find out who your audience is, ask them what they want and need. Share personal stories. Get them interested in you.

Other authors are not your competition. They are influencers! Follow them, network with them, and subscribe to them. They will become part of your tribe.

Be consistent and passionate with everything you do. Budget your time and money, as well as your emotional resources. Remember that you don’t have to do anything that doesn’t bring you joy.

Connect with Jeniffer Thompson with your questions about branding! She is on Twitter @jeniffergrace; on Facebook at facebook.com/jenifferthompsonconsulting; and on Instagram @jeniffer_grace.

EDITOR’S NOTE: As per Jeniffer’s suggestion, the Board of Directors is currently compiling an SDWEG style guide to make use of our new logo (seen at the top of this email) and help direct our own branding strategy moving forward.