Falling into the Publishing Industry

Did you start the new year on the right foot? I didn’t. I started 2017 on my left foot and two crutches.

A couple of days before the end of the year, I did the splits–unintentionally. For five days, I could not straighten my right leg. On that fifth day, a monster-size bruise showed up on the inside back of my thigh. The doctor said I had a severely pulled hamstring. Now, I walk with a crutch to remind me not to get in a hurry. When I rush, my leg threatens to throw me back on the floor. I don’t EVER want to do that, again.

If you are a writer in the OK AR TX KS MO area, you can’t afford to miss the upcoming Meet the Publishers! event on March 6th in Tulsa, OK. Designing the World with Words and Tulsa Area Children’s Book Writers are bringing SIX area publishers together to answer authors’ questions and offer tips from self-publishing to traditional publishing. (Click here for more information.) This FREE event is open to ALL writers. As usual, we are expecting an audience from multiple states, again.

Have you seen the latest publishing news? Tate Publishing and AWOC.COM Publishing  have sent their authors scrambling to find new publishers. Are you one of those authors? If you are, you can’t afford to miss the publishers event mentioned above. Don’t sign a contract with anyone else until you hear what the six experts have to say about the future of publishing.

I’ll be speaking at multiple events, this year. You can find me at the Read.Write.Share! event in Morrilton, AR, the Tulsa Genealogical Society meeting on March 20th, and the Arkansas Writers’ Conference  in Little Rock, AR. I also scheduled a number of writing workshops. I expect to find serious writers at all these events. See my schedule for a full list of places I plan to be.

I’ve decided to offer mobile writing workshops, this year. One person will receive free registration in exchange for organizing each event. Simple requirements must be met, of course. For more information, visit Designing the World with Words and click on the “Mobile Workshops” link.

Have you entered any writing contests, lately? If not, you should. You can’t win money and awards if you never submit your work.

The Summer Scoop

So, here’s the scoop. It’s summer. It’s HOT. We’ve had our grandchildren over, one by one, for two weeks, each. Well, the last one has been more in piece-meal visits. He’s a homesick boy, so he has to go home for a day or two in the middle. He’s at home, today. I miss him, but I have a moment to myself, too.

I hope you’re writing. If not, I hope you’re putting together some fabulous event for writers, or marketing your latest books. Do something writerly, today.

I’m working on last minute preparation for the Writing for Children workshop I’m holding this weekend. I’ve had some folks write in about it, which is always encouraging. At least two may be driving in from a little distance. I plan to offer some information not always shared by other speakers. I have some great door prizes for this week. If you’re interested, there’s more info at this website.

I found another conference I’d like to check out this September. I added it to my list of area events on my LINKS page. Are you going to any conferences, this year? Did I miss any area writers’ conferences in my links?

The new school year is about to start in most places. Some of my grandchildren will be going to new schools. I’m excited, but nervous for them. It’s almost like I’m the one going to the new schools.

I better get back to my planning. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday.

 

Conference Fears

Have you ever had the opportunity to go to a conference in your area of expertise, but you chose to stay home? Why? There are many reasons people don’t attend conferences and conventions. Here are a few.

1. Finances… Not everyone has the money to pay out hundreds of dollars for an event they aren’t even sure will help them. If you look around, you’ll find some events are more affordable than others. Check into them.
2. Fear of looking stupid… Don’t even allow this one to bend your brain. It’s not worth it. Everyone who attends a conference has a first time. Why do we keep going? That’s discussed soon enough. But fear of looking stupid is not an allowable excuse.
3. Fear of being found out… All of us feel a little under-educated in our field in the beginning, and sometimes later on. If you’re afraid you won’t know things others know, don’t worry. Plan on letting everyone else answer any questions at your first conference, unless you are absolutely certain of the answer. Silence while paying close attention to the speaker looks good on anyone.
4. Fear of not knowing anyone… Ask around to see who’s going. If you can’t find anyone you know who’s going, and you don’t like to go alone, bring a friend–even if you have to share a room or pay for part of their expenses.
5. Fear of big places or crowds… This one is a little harder to help you through, but if attend with a friend, it will help you focus more on learning and sharing with your friend and less on feeling swallowed in such a big atmosphere.
6. No time… Make time. Most conferences are worth every penny you pay and every minute you give up. Ask a family member to watch the kids for a couple of days. Find out which events are the best in your industry and region. Make it a point to attend one or two of those a year. If you can manage a trip to one or two of the best known national or international conferences, go.

What will you gain if you attend a conference that you can’t gain through a workshop or discussion with friends in the industry? Why do so many others attend conferences? Why do they keep going, again and again? What makes it worth all that?

1. Vital connections… Even if you don’t speak to them (but you should!), you will learn who makes things happen and has achieved the highest respect in your field. When you have questions or needs, you will feel more comfortable contacting them and asking for advice or references.
2. Surprises… Most likely, you’ll know more than one person at the event, especially if it is local. It doesn’t matter if you’re only acquaintances. If they know it’s your first time at that particular event, they’ll often introduce you to other professionals you need to connect with. You may have new friends when you return home.
3. Special offers… Sometimes, just being at an event gives you an opportunity to take advantage of special offers only given to those who attended the conference.
4. Support… A conference is about helping others achieve their highest goals in the field. It is about learning, sharing, and friendships; being part of a camaraderie in a larger field than the one you have been playing in, so far.
5. KNOWLEDGE… When you leave, you will most likely know much more about some things than you knew before. At the very least, you have gained confidence in your own skills and insight and that’s worth the trip, in itself. And that confidence will show in your everyday work, too.

If you’re a writer, editor, publisher, or even a reader who wants to know more about the field, you should attend a good conference or two each year. If you’re around northeastern Oklahoma, I have listed a few of the area events on my LINKS page. If you want to go to the same conferences I’m attending, you can find them listed on my EVENTS page. Let me know if it’s your first time and I’ll gladly spend a little time helping you adapt to the format and meet others who will help you along.

If you’re into people-watching, try sitting near the sign-up tables at a conference and watch as attendees walk near, but seem to be taking in too much at once. It makes many of us look lost, even if we’ve been there for the past three years. So, don’t be afraid to walk up and look lost with the rest of us. We’ll never know you’re a conference newbie unless you tell us. And since we’ve all been there, we understand how overwhelming it can seem compared to how simple it really is.

See you at the next conference!

I am currently packing to attend the Arkansas Writers’ Conference, in Little Rock, Arkansas, this weekend. Will I see you there? I hope so!

Workshops…

I finally got my workshops listed on the Designing the World with Words website. Click on the link at the top of this page to visit the website. I added a few new workshops for this year, including Writing for Children, Writing Emotion, and Basic Computer and Internet. I had a lot of requests for the last one, so I decided to offer it twice. Those who attend  it may request up to five things they’d like to learn and I’ll do my best to make those five things part of the workshop. I’ve tried to keep the prices as low as possible. Click on the link and see for yourself.

It’s almost time for my annual trip to Louisiana. There’s a cemetery meeting and folks who will be gathering for multiple reunions, as well as a story I want to finish writing at a couple of cemeteries. And I hope to spend a little time with some of my very special family members, too. Nobody is getting any younger and I want to make sure they all know how much I love them. I’m also looking forward to meeting some writers in the area. There’s a critique meeting on May 12th, in Minden. If you’re interested, visit Designing the World with Words and scroll toward the bottom, where you’ll find a link to WONLA.

Did I mention we’re raising chickens? Life has been a little crazy these past two months, but much of the reason is our wonderful flock of chicks: Bossy, Greta, Chippy, Scooby, Chloe, Zippy, Fluffy, and Thelma. I seem to be building chicken runs and over the next week, a chicken coop. I never run out of things to do around here. And just when I think I have a few spare minutes to relax, the chickens tear a hole in their box and I have to do some quick mending. I hope the outdoor contraptions are impossible to escape, when I’m finished building them.

I have actually had a couple of chances to write lately, so I’ve entered some writing contests. I hope my stories win some prize money. I am trying to find a few minutes here and there to enter more, soon.

Do you ever enter contests? Have you won a lot of prize money? What’s the best thing you ever won for a story you wrote?

 

 

Read.Write.Share! Writers Weekend — and Family Appreciation Day

It’s here! I can’t wait to see everyone at this great event. I am driving in from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Will you be there? I hope so. We have some wonderful things planned.

We have Iris M Williams, Brittany Reese, Janis Kearney, and ME lined up for sessions that will give you the head start you need in the publishing world. I can promise there will be lots of discussion!

I may have a very special surprise with me. I’m not sure, yet.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On Saturday, April 9th, Gene and I will be celebrating our “best friends” anniversary. We’ve been best friends for 30 years, now. Because of the trust that grew from that friendship, we will also be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary in August. So, we have always called April 9th our FAMILY APPRECIATION DAY and encouraged others to use it for that, as well. Buy a simple, inexpensive gift for each of your family members, or go somewhere special together, just to celebrate how lucky you are to have each other. A single rose, a good book, a tank of gasoline, or just an afternoon free of housework can do wonders for a person. Show them how much you appreciate all of them. Make it an annual event… every April 9th. That’s when you’ll see we are celebrating. Always.

To my wonderful husband… If you happen to read this, I’m still very thankful for every year we’ve had together. I couldn’t think of a more handsome, more wonderful man to spend my life with. (I hope that’s okay with you.) I’m sorry I won’t be home until late, but you will be on my mind all day and I’ll be looking forward to hearing your voice on the phone! I love you!

 

Meet the Publishers! Monday, March 28th

To all authors, publishers, illustrators – anyone who wants to know:

Meet the Publishers! is coming to Tulsa in mere days. Learn how the publishers work with your books in different settings. This is a FREE event.

Monday, March 28th, 7:00 PM
Martin Regional Library (Auditorium)
2601 S. Garnett Rd., Tulsa, OK

Website: http://jespiddlin.com/designingtheworldwithwords/meet-the-publishers.html

See you all there!

This year’s event is brought to you by Tulsa Area Children’s Book Writers and Designing the World with Words.

Also…
– COMING ON APRIL 8TH AND 9TH –
In one fabulous weekend, learn how to take your manuscript from the first draft to book signing. Register soon! Time is running out! (Click on the flyer for more info.)

Read.Write.Share! Writers Weekend

 

Tulsa – Meet the Illustrators! Monday, March 14th

As the organizer of Tulsa Area Children’s Book Writers, I started a new thing, last year. I decided to introduce my writers to some local illustrators  and give them an opportunity to ask questions. It’s back this year and open to the world.


To all authors, publishers, illustrators – anyone who wants to know:

Meet the illustrators this coming Monday evening and bring all your questions! Learn how the illustrators work with your books in different publishing settings. This is a FREE event.

Monday, March 14th, 7:00 PM
Martin Regional Library (Auditorium)
2601 S. Garnett, Tulsa, OK

Website: http://jespiddlin.com/designingtheworldwithwords/meet-the-illustrators.html

See you all there!

This year’s event is brought to you by Tulsa Area Children’s Book Writers and Designing the World with Words.

Writing Believable Dialogue

This Saturday, August 22nd, I’ll be holding another workshop in Broken Arrow for folks who want a little more insight on writing believable dialogue. Visit the website for more information.

http://jespiddlin.com/designingtheworldwithwords/believabledialogue.html

In the meantime, here’s a tip:

Include the setting in the dialogue. Let your characters use that setting. Have them pick up the piece of paper they are talking about, stare at a picture on the wall, or spill a drink on new clothes.

People don’t just talk with their eyes closed, in the dark. There are things all around us. We move within that space and use those things. Let your characters do the same. Let them “experience” their surroundings the same way we do. When you go back to edit your work, don’t forget to make sure you activated all the readers’ senses (sight, sound, smell, taste, touch) through the characters.

See you on Saturday!

Dayton Barnes Anthology

The Adventures of Dayton Barnes anthology is taking short story submissions to entertain ages 9-12. Multiple stories may be accepted per author. If you’re interested in writing middle grade stories / chapters for this anthology, check out the website at 

Deadline for submissions is February 28, 2015.

 

 

Writers Need Critique Groups

I love and appreciate my critique groups. The fellowship and support they offer are necessary parts of good writing. Even so, there are times it would be too easy to convince myself to stay home and finish that story I’ve been working on. Here is a mix of serious and lighthearted reasons to attend regular critique meetings:

  1. I’m a good writer.
  2. I need the exercise.
  3. I want my work to shine.
  4. This job can be a lonely one.
  5. My writing isn’t always perfect.
  6. Sometimes, I need encouragement.
  7. I don’t feel like doing the dishes, tonight.
  8. The reader changes and so must my writing.
  9. My peers also need my discerning ears and eyes.
  10. The fuel in my car will turn to varnish if I don’t use it.
  11. I need to see if the world outside my front door still exists.
  12. I need a chance to show off the new clothes I bought last year.
  13. I wrote the word “sleep” four times in three consecutive sentences.

As a writer, I am often my own worst critic. Hearing how others respond to my work can be very encouraging as long as I remember they are not telling me how bad it is. They are helping me see how to make it even better. What group is more qualified to do that than serious writers with their combined knowledge and experience?

Here are some suggestions on how to get more out of your critique meetings. . .

  • Bring at least five or six copies for others to read along when it is your turn. Ask them to make notes for you to refer to, later.
  • If you don’t bring copies, have someone else read your work out loud. Hearing someone else’s interpretation of your work can help identify problem areas.

If you are a writer, check with your library or look online to find more information about critique groups near you.