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Sunday, March 23, at 2 p.m. will be another of our great Writing Workshop Workshops. As usual, we’ll be gathering downstairs at Olive’s in Cincinnati’s Clifton Gaslight District.

Bring seven minutes’ worth of your writing to read, $5 for the kitty, your books to sell, any publishing or writing questions you’d like to ask, and a friend or two. I hope I will have a big announcement for you!

Head’s up for April: on Sunday, April 27 (same time, same place), at our Writing Workshop Workshop, we’ll be joined by Carol Topp, CPA, author of Business Tips and Taxes for Writers. It’s too late for your 2013 filing, but Carol will have lots of great advice for your 2014 return on how to be a professional writer, in terms of what’s deductible and what’s not.

So put April 27 on your calendar, and in the meantime I hope to see you Sunday, March 23, at 2!

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Hey everybody! If you’re looking for a warm place to gather and share your writing with a great group of people, join us Sunday for this month’s Writing Workshop Workshop. We’ll be meeting at Olive’s on Ludlow Ave. in the Clifton Gaslight District.

We officially start at 2 p.m., but if you’d like to order from the breakfast buffet, you might want to get there at 1:30. Just tell them you’re with the writing group.

Bring seven minutes’ worth of writing, $5 for the kitty, money for munchies, and a friend or two who might be interested in writing.Those of you who have recently published books might want to bring them, too. ;-)

I hope to see you there!

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Our next Writing Workshop Workshop is on Sunday, June 30, at Olive’s on Ludlow in Clifton’s old gaslight district in Cincinnati, Ohio. We officially gather at 2 p.m., but if you want to take advantage of Olive’s breakfast buffet, get there by 1:30! We need to be done by 5 p.m., so the first 10 people to get there and sign up will get to read.

The group is a great mix of people in many genres and subgenres: memoir, fiction, poetry, nonfiction. If you’re a newbie, you’re more than welcome to just attend and soak up the atmosphere, if you like. Or if you want to read, bring seven minutes’ worth of reading and $5 for the kitty (meow). Bring more money if you intend to eat. :-)

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At one time, it was easy to figure out who the self-publishing companies were. They were called vanity presses, and people paid them large amounts of money to get small amounts of books to distribute to their closest friends and family members.

 

Then the self-publishing world exploded and in so doing became a little more respectable. Unfortunately, along with that came a bunch of companies that took advantage of writers who were unfamiliar with how to get published traditionally, who were too impatient to climb up the rungs of traditional publishing, who wanted to control their own publishing process, or (yes) who had written something that wasn’t ready for publication but wouldn’t take “no” for an answer.

 

Self-publishing can be the perfect answer for people whose books are of interest to a limited audience or who want to be able to control the entire experience, but you need to do your homework when choosing the company that’s going to help you do that. (If you want a sickening look at the dregs of this industry, read Ten Percent of Nothing: The Case of the Literary Agent from Hell by former FBI agent Jim Fisher.)

 

After a while, it was still somewhat easy to tell who the self-publishing companies were. It became difficult when the less ethical companies changed names once they got a bad rep among writers. For example, did you know that AuthorHouse used to be 1st Books? Well, it turns out that Author Solutions owns a lot of the less-than-savory self-publishing companies: iUniverse, Trafford, AuthorHouse, xLibris. Many of us relied on sites like Preditors and Editors to keep track of who was on 1st and what they were calling themselves now.

 

Now the plot sickens. Simon & Schuster has entered the self-publishing business. And they’re partnering with Author Solutions to do it. David Gaughran describes it all in Simon & Schuster Joins Forces With Author Solutions To Rip Off Writers.

 

I have to say that I’m not going to think of S&S the same way again. It would be as if I’d found out that Women Writing for a Change had acquired Hustler.

 

There are many respectable self-publishing companies out there, like Orange Frazer Press Custom Books and Queen V Publishing. Author Solutions just isn’t one of them.

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Hey writers! If you’re a beginner looking for a nurturing environment in which to share your writing, or you’re a seasoned professional looking for a new source of feedback, please consider joining us. We’ll be at Olive’s on Ludlow at 2:00. Bring about seven minutes’ worth of material to read, $5 for the kitty, and more money if you plan to eat.

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Today I’ll be talking with the Sisters in Crime of Columbus, Ohio (SiCCO). Don’t you just love that acronym?

We’re going to talk about how to get your writing in the best shape for submitting it to editors and agents (and contests, too!). I read some great stories and can’t wait to meet the authors. Some of the things we’ll be discussing are manuscript format, action verbs, punctuation and style guides.

For example, did you know that you’re supposed to put only one space at the end of a sentence and after a colon? Do you know when that standard changed? In the mid-1980s. Want to know why? Well, you’ll have to invite me to talk to your group to find out!

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Hi folks! It’s that time again. We’re meeting this-coming Sunday at 2 p.m. at Olives at the Ludlow Garage in the Clifton gaslight area for our monthly “Writing Workshop Workshop.” For the uninitiated, our gathering is where you can learn the gentle art of critiquing other people’s work and having your own work critiqued in return. Bring about seven minutes’ worth of material to read or just come to listen to everyone else, and bring $5 for the kitty. We usually end by 4:30 or 5 p.m. All genres welcome; just remember that you’re going to be reading it out loud in a public place. (more…)

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Last-minute notice! Operators are standing by! OK, no they’re not.

Today, August 5, at 2 p.m., we are holding our monthly Writing Workshop Workshop at Olive’s at the Ludlow Garage. If you’re interested in workshopping a sample of your writing, please come. If you’d like to hear some great writing, please come. If you’re thinking about writing, please come.

Please come.

Bring seven minutes’ worth of material to read, $5 for the kitty and (most important) you.

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Friday, July 20, at 7 p.m., at the Wild Fig Bookstore in Lexington, Kentucky, I’ll be reading from my unpublished novel. I’ve been working on it for about 20 years and it is just about done. If you come, you’ll be the first people outside my writing group to hear the tale. River City Talent Showcase is the story of Sandy McKinley who, after being laid off, moves to Ohio and joins an all-women’s singing group whose sole purpose is to make its members sing the same, look the same, dress the same, act the same and think the same. In the middle of all this sameness, Sandy struggles with who she is and what her priorities should be. While she’s figuring out who she is, her father (who has Alzheimer’s) is forgetting who she was. (more…)

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As often happens this time in July, I’m in Yellow Springs, Ohio, attending the Antioch Writers’ Workshop.

 

I’m about to reveal to you one of the worst-kept secrets: if you volunteer to work at a writers’ workshop you can often get in at a reduced price or for free. For me, working as a workfellow at Antioch is like getting to go on a writing retreat with some accomplished writers + getting a physical workout — all for just the cost of my hotel room!

(more…)

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