Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Anna Quindlen on Personal Writing

Columnist/fiction author Anna Quindlen has written a column inspired by the new movie "Freedom Writers," and the real-life story behind it. "Write for Your Life" extolls the importance of personal writing, such as journals and letters, as she asks "Wouldn't all of us love to have a journal, a memoir, a letter, from those we have loved and lost? Shouldn't all of us leave a bit of that behind?"

The entire column appears in the Jan. 22 issue of Newsweek.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Next Meeting/Anthology

The next meeting of the Oshkosh Area Writers Club is 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb, 3 in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library.

Items on the agenda include the club anthology. If you have a submitted a selection(s) or would like to, please attend this meeting.

2006 Wisconsin Book Festival

Video clips from the 2006 Wisconsin Book Festival are now available online. The short clips are provided by Isthmus and include:

· What Scares Neil Gaiman?

· Tony Grooms Reads From Bombingham

· 1 Dead in Attic, one determined columnist

· A heroic crown of sonnets for Emmett Till

· Urban renewal claims a Milwaukee lifestyle

· Marjane Satrapi discusses the appeal of her medium

· Chris Ware: Graphic novels or comic books?

· Fairy tails, not tales, at the Wisconsin Book Festival

· Laughing at Rejection at the Wisconsin Book Festival

The 2007 Wisconsin Book Festival will be October 10-14, 2007 in Madison; special events will also take place in Milwaukee and other communities.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Hope's Rant

An interesting editorial on whether writers should work for free by C. Hope Clark of The Shy Writer.


What is the difference in not getting paid for your writing versus almost getting paid? I'm talking about publications that pay pennies a word...paper publications, mainly. I'm fussing about those who gloriously flaunt the fact they pay you $10 or $5 or, better yet, three copies of the book or magazine, and tell you to be happy you received compensation. They tell you to take that check, frame it on the wall and be proud.

In the meantime, the printer, the cover artist, and the distributor, get paid. In most cases, the editor, too. The excuses range far and wide...

- we're a nonprofit (my favorite)
- we're a fledgling publication, but once we're on our feet...
- the cost of publication is too much to pay the writers.

My question? Why are they publishing in the first place? For publicity? For recognition? First of all, who is flipping through these no-pay publications looking for writers to snatch up, offer contracts and pay big money? Secondly, if the only credits a writer has is in nonpaying publications, then what are those credits worth?

Every other entity involved with the book/magazine receives compensation for their time and talent. The writer is the last person on the list to be considered, and most times, isn't given the courtesy of a consideration. After all, since writers are supposed to struggle, and since they're a dime a dozen, why should an editor go out of his/her way to pay them when nonpayment is a viable option?

A thousand words for $5 or $10 is a joke. Payment in copies is an insult. No payment ought to be a crime called stealing.

Writers can be cannibals. Editors used to be, or still consider themselves, writers. They know they can find a higher income editing. They are higher on the pecking order. You'll probably find that the friggin' interns get paid more than the writers in an anthology. Don't you love that concept? Get paid to intern to learn how to write for nothing.

If you sell a commodity, you are in business. Businesses are supposed to make a buck, or quit operating. The term nonprofit doesn't mean you aren't supposed to make ends meet. Nonprofits are supposed to be self-sustaining, or they can be considered defunct entities. They have an obligation to make sound business decisions, and if they cannot publish, pay the writers and make a profit, then they need to quit publishing until they find enough financial means to pay the worker-bees who provide the honey in the editor's honeycomb.

I could take this rant into ten pages, if I allowed my fussing to gain momentum. My husband has already listened to it, poor thing. The vicious cycle never seems to end, and I see it gaining ground, gobbling up more newbie writers in its spin. Hell, it eats up mid-list writers much of the time, all in the name of exposure.

If you write for free, fine. Don't ever complain about not making enough money. I don't want to hear it. There are a few reasons to write for free, and I know them well. But if you choose to exercise your right to pen words for no money, then you lose your voice to seek higher pay.

For those who are in the business of writing and publishing, and like a writer's work, for goodness sake, pay him or her a respectable income. Otherwise, write the dang stories yourself. There's no prestige in making less than minimum wage...and I'm not talking about the new wage increase, either.

Friday, January 19, 2007

RIP Art Buchwald

Pulitzer-prize winning columnist/satirist Art Buchwald passed away Thursday, Jan. 18, living almost a year longer than doctors anticipated when Buchwald refused life-saving dialysis to treat kidney failure. After getting "kicked out" of hospice, Buchwald returned to his home on Martha's Vineyard and wrote a book about his last months, titled "Too Soon to Say Goodbye."

NPR has collected some of Art's finest moments here.

Book Sale

Bookcloseouts.com offers new books at discounts of 40% or more. They have a great selection of childrens and adult fiction and non-fiction titles and are currently offering customer coupons to be used on all orders purchased from now until Jan. 31. These coupons represent an additional 20% savings off already great prices. Use them as often as you want and check back regularly because hundreds of new titles arrive daily.

The coupon codes are:

Coupon #1:
Deal: Get $5 off an order of $25 or more
Coupon code: 5off25
Coupon password: bookcloseouts

Coupon #2:
Deal: Get $10 off an order of $50 or more
Coupon code: 10off50
Coupon password: bookcloseouts

Coupon #3:
Deal: Get $20 off an order of $100 or more
Coupon code: 20off100
Coupon password: bookcloseouts

Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Dark and Stormy Night

Submissions are currently being accepted for the Bulwe-Lytton Fiction Contest, a literary contest that challenges authors to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels.

The rules to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest are childishly simple:

* Each entry must consist of a single sentence but you may submit as many entries as you wish.
* Sentences may be of any length (though you go beyond 50 or 60 words at your peril), and entries must be "original" (as it were) and previously unpublished.
* Entries should be submitted on index cards, the sentence on one side and the entrant's name, address, and phone number on the other.
* Entries will be judged by categories, from "general" to detective, western, science fiction, romance, and so on. There will be overall winners as well as category winners.
* The official deadline is April 15 (a date that Americans associate with painful submissions and making up bad stories). The actual deadline may be as late as June 30.
* Wild Card Rule: Resist the temptation to work with puns like "It was a stark and dormy night."
* Finally, in keeping with the gravitas, high seriousness, and general bignitude of the contest, the grand prize winner will receive . . . a pittance.

Send your entries to:

Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest
Department of English
San Jose State University
San Jose, CA 95192-0090

Writer's Institute

The 2007 Writer’s Institute annual conference will be held Friday through Sunday, April 27-29.

The Writers' Institute is an annual two-day summer conference for fiction and nonfiction writers, held at the Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Fiction and nonfiction writers gather each year at this conference to get inspired and learn the latest techniques for writing and marketing. The conference also features book sales, a writing contest and take-home materials.

The 2007 conference will feature Keynote address speaker Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Maraniss as well as numerous literary agents. On the Wednesday prior to the conference, there will be an early bird workshop from 7:00-8:30 pm, titled "How to pitch to an agent,” with Joelle Delbourgo.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Author Spotlight Info

The person scheduled for the Author Spotlight on Jan. 20 needs to reschedule so there will be no Spotlight that day - which means the entire two hours will be open to anyone who has a short piece to read.

The Author Spotlight piece for Feb. 3 is now available through Yahoo! message board. Look for the file authored by Dixie.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

2007 Schedule Change

Just a reminder that Thursday meetings have been discontinued and we will NOT meet on Thursday, Jan. 11.

If you can’t attend Saturday meetings and/or you would like to meet with a few other select members as a sub-group outside of (or in place of) Saturday meetings, Ruth can book a meeting room at the library for groups of three or more at no charge. If you are interested, please give her a call at 231-6182.

Judges Needed

Wendy Thompson of Oakwood School has asked if anyone from our club would like to be a judge for the Create-a-Book contest, a writing/illustration contest for Oshkosh students in grades 3 to 5.

Manuscripts will be a maximum of 1500 words each and will be judged on Creativity, Originality,and Mechanics (spelling, grammer, puncuation, usage, legibility and neatness).

The judging dates are as follows:

Saturday January 20: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Thursday January 25: 4:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Winning authors at each grade level and their families, teachers, and
principals will be sent special invitation to a Read Across America
Author’s Celebration, “Under the Dome” at the Oshkosh Public Library
on Sunday, March 4, 2007 from 1 – 2 p.m. The 1st place winner at
each grade level will have his/her book published in the Oshkosh

If you would like to be a judge please contact Wendy Thompson at (920) 424-0315

Friday, January 05, 2007

Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Conference

The WFOP Spring Conference will be held Friday–Saturday, April 27–28, 2007 at the Holiday Inn Select in Appleton.

A block of rooms has been reserved through 3/27/07; call (920) 735-9955 and mention the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets or WFOP. Room rate of $72 plus tax, for up to 4 people per room.

There will be a panel presentation titled "Publishing Secrets". The panel consists of well-known poets Jerry Hauser and Marilyn Taylor, and publishers Linda Ashbrenner and Michael Lehman. The four will present honest direct insights and opinions based on their own experiences as poets and editors. Jerry Hauser will moderate the presentation, which will be about one hour long and include discussion between panelists and audience Q&A.

Attendees are invited to submit questions before the conference by e-mailing Jerry Hauser at jerrypoems@hotmail.com. The questions will be sent to the panel and answered at the conference.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

2007 Meeting Schedule

Mark your 2007 calendar for the upcoming meetings:

10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 6

10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 20

10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 3

10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17

10 a.m. Saturday, March 3

10 a.m. Saturday, March 17

10 a.m. Saturday, April 7

10 a.m. Saturday, April 21

10 a.m. Saturday, May 5

10 a.m. Saturday, May 19

10 a.m. Saturday, June 2

10 a.m. Saturday, June 16

Please note: Thursday meetings have been discontinued.

Meetings are held in the lower level meeting room of the Oshkosh Public Library.

All meetings are free and open to anyone age 17 or older.