Thursday, January 9, 2020

Get Conference-Ready: Perfecting Your Pitch to Literary Agents & Publishers

Pitching a book to literary agents and publishers shouldn’t be more stressful than writing the original manuscript. Learn tips and tricks on how to write and prepare a pitch for your novel at the St. Louis Writers Guild’s workshop from 10 a.m. to noon, Feb. 1, at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd, St. Louis, MO 63131.

Leading this free workshop is someone who has sat on both sides of the pitching table—author and lecturer, Brad R. Cook. Participants will learn what goes in a face-to-face pitch, as well as what to expect from a remote pitch session. He’ll touch on query letters, using your time, what to include, and just what is an elevator pitch! Plus, he’ll explore tools to find agents and publishers online and at conferences.

Upcoming conferences include the Guild’s half-day conference – Writers in the Lodge (March 7) – and Penned Con (Sept. 17-19), both in St. Louis; Archon (Oct. 2-4) in Collinsville, IL; and the Society of Book Writers and Illustrators’ Middle of the Map conference (Nov. 6-8) in Kansas City.

“I can’t guarantee you’ll find an agent, but you’ll have the tools to do so!” Brad said.

Brad R. Cook is the author of The Iron Chronicles (treehouse publishing group) and Steamtree: The Airdrainium Adventure (Broadsword Books). A former co-publisher and acquisitions editor for Blank Slate Press, he currently serves as Historian of St. Louis Writers Guild after three and half years as President. He learned to fence at thirteen, and never set down his sword, but prefers to curl up with a centuries’ old classic. Find more at

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Jan. 4: Van Stockum discusses “The Writing Techniques of Jules Verne”

Scientist, sailor, trader. Playwright, poet, lawyer, dreamer. We are all familiar with the famous characters of Jules Verne and the places he took them in exploration. With Ronald R. Van Stockum Jr. as our guide, let us take a look at this innovative writer, the dreamer from Nantes.

“The Writing Techniques of Jules Verne” workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon, Jan. 4, at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd, St. Louis, MO 63131. Free to St. Louis Writers Guild members; $5 for nonmembers

Verne kept 20,000 note cards of data in his old-fashioned desk drawer. And Verne put them to good use after he met his French publisher, but only after that man ⎯ Pierre-Jules Hetzel ⎯ rudely rejected his first novel, according to Dr. Van Stockum.

Here is what Hetzel said of Verne’s work; "In this piece, there is not a single issue concerning the real future that is properly resolved. No critique that hasn't already been made and remade before. I am surprised at you ... lackluster and lifeless." Into a drawer that manuscript went, only to be rediscovered more than 100 years later. Paris In the Twentieth Century was finally published in 1994.

Hetzel demanded ⎯ yes, demanded in the way that only editors can ⎯ something to educate and illuminate. Five Weeks in a Balloon set the form just fine. Until Hetzel’s death forty years later, he held Verne to that formula. Then Verne was free again.

Ronald R. Van Stockum, Jr. is a lawyer, teacher, biologist, writer, guitarist, and recently an actor living on his family's old farm in Shelbyville, Kentucky. He has published numerous books, articles, and short stories in the areas of law, science, and creative writing. Eighteen of his titles are available on Amazon in hardback, softback, and Kindle formats.

To learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild, go to

Monday, November 11, 2019

Guild honors award-winning young writers at Dec. 7 holiday gathering

Join a celebration honoring award-winning young writers at the St. Louis Writers Guild’s annual holiday gathering from 10 a.m. to noon, Dec. 7, at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd., St. Louis, Mo. 63131.

Find out how these fourth- through eighth-graders created stories that all began with the words: “When the cup turned over…” Judging was based on originality, cohesiveness, spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

It’s free to attend. All are encouraged to bring a dessert dish for sharing.

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Enter short story contest by Dec. 1!
Since its founding in 1920, St. Louis Writers Guild has sponsored an annual short story contest. The contest is one of the oldest in the country, and is certainly one of the most prestigious. Tennessee Williams won first place in 1935 for his story, "Stella for Star."
Annual Short Story Contest opens for submissions every October, the deadline is in December, and prizes are awarded in January. Historically, entries have come from all across the nation and Canada. Stories are blind-judged by an expert in the fields of writing and literature.
Deadline Dec. 1
Entries can be submitted via email or mail.
  • Email: SLWGSubmissions (@) gmail (dot) com
  • Mail:
St. Louis Writers Guild
Attn: Short Story Contest
P.O. Box 411757
St. Louis, MO 63141
Prizes for 2019!
First Prize $50
Second Prize $30
Third Prize $20

Honorable Mention $10  

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Workshop Nov. 2: Navigating the Wild, Wild West of Publishing

If you’ve been thinking about publishing your book but might not be sure where to begin, start by joining us for the “Navigating the Wild, Wild West of Publishing” workshop from 10 a.m. to noon, Nov. 2, at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd., St. Louis, MO 63131. Free to St. Louis Writers Guild members; $5 for nonmembers.

Cathy Davis explains the myriad of publishing options available to authors today — from DIY and self-publishing to traditional publishing (with several buyer-beware options in-between). In today’s publishing world, it’s not about how well your book sells, it’s all about how well your book sells YOU. Join us to find out just exactly what this means, and walk away with a better understanding of how to become a published author. 

You’ll also learn more about how to:
·              Develop a brand and start marketing your book BEFORE it is published
·              Minimize your financial investment
·              Maximize your return on author compensation
·              Retain 100% of your profits
·              Secure ownership of your copyright
·              Access global distribution
·              Avoid self-publishing pitfalls

Cathy Davis founded Davis Creative, LLC in January of 2004, after her second corporate downsizing within a span of three years. The bulk of her professional career was spent as Creative Director at a Bank of America (nee Boatmen’s) and TIAA Cref, marketing Trust Services to high-net-worth clients. Cathy’s husband, Jack Davis, joined her in August of 2008, after almost 20 years as an Art Director at Fleishman-Hillard Public Relations. 

What started out as a full-service branding services agency soon took a pivot towards the publishing industry, with Davis Creative helping one of their clients publish a book in 2005. Several hundred books later, Davis Creative now specializes in helping their clients use the power of publishing to build their brand, grow their business, and make a difference in the lives of the people they reach

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at

Monday, September 16, 2019

Workshop Oct. 5: Kickstart Your Writing Career with Wattpad and Social Platforms

Learn how to use Wattpad and social platforms to kickstart your writing career at a workshop featuring Shelly X. Leonn and L.L. Montez from 10 a.m. to noon, Oct. 5, at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd., St. Louis, MO 63131. Free for St. Louis Writers Guild members, $5 for nonmembers.

The writing and podcasting pair will discuss community-building through Wattpad, an online social platform that connects stories with millions of readers. They will also provide tips and strategies for using other social media platforms—including Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest—to their fullest potential. The session will close with crafting a personalized plan for kickstarting your social media presence on the platform of your choice.

Shelly X. Leonn: Dr. Michelle M. Oyola is the author of The Broken Series under her pen name—Shelly X. Leonn. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, Shelly worked at her hometown newspaper in Washington, MO, as the web and youth editor. During her time advising the youth staff, Shelly realized her true calling was to teaching. She applied and was accepted to Teach For America St. Louis as a member of the 2008 corps. Her twelve years in St. Louis City education have been spent in middle school and high school language arts classrooms as well as in mid-level administration. She is also an adjunct professor and a member of the St. Louis Writers Guild. Stephanie Hansen at Metamorphosis Literary Agency represents Shelly, whose debut novel will be published through Owl Hollow Press. Her other publishing credits include anthology short stories and education articles. She is currently writing her fifth manuscript. She and her two boys reside in Affton, and she enjoys reading, writing, outdoor activities, anime, video games, and other dorky pastimes.

LL Montez: LL Montez is a writer, reader, hereditary bruja, stargazer, teacher, and mediator living in the bones of Chicago's historic printing district. She writes science fiction on Wattpad and has work published an anthology through Dark Ink Press. ARC10, her first manuscript, won the 2017 Watty award under the Storysmith category for "mastery of plot and character development" from among 280,000 entries and was accepted into Pitch Wars 2018. With co-host Shelly X Leonn, she discusses the trials and joys of her publishing journey on her podcast, The Writers XL. LL Montez dreams of becoming a pilot and shares her life (and love of aliens) with her husband and dog.

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Guild “Editing Extravaganza” Offers Consultations with Experts

Sign up now for editing consultations at the St. Louis Writers Guild’s Editing Extravaganza! 

Submit the first five to ten pages of your manuscript to be reviewed by an editor and have a 20+ minute one-on-one consultation at the Sept. 14 event. That day’s workshops feature editing tips by local editor Catherine Rankovic (“Manuscript Preparation”) at 10 a.m. and author Andrew Jobling from Australia (“How to Write A Book Publishers Want”) at 11 a.m. at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd., St. Louis, MO 63131. The workshops are free to Guild members; $5 for nonmembers.

Consultations are $40. To sign up, click the “editing consultation signup” button on the St. Louis Writers Guild website’s home page ( or Event page. The form asks for your editor preference. If you sign up before all the editors have been announced, you will be contacted for your first choice. Pages are requested by Sept. 1 to allow editors time to review them. Editing consultations will be held between 9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Sept. 14, by the following: Catherine Rankovic (fiction, nonfiction, and poetry), Meghan Pinson (fiction and nonfiction), Kortney Price (picture books through middle grade and young adult), and Andrew Jobling (nonfiction). 

CATHERINE RANKOVIC is a deeply experienced professional editor of book-length novels, novellas, and nonfiction, and a mentor to new authors; her BookEval clients have 41 books in print. She doesn’t simply edit, but teaches you how to write like a pro. M.F.A., Washington University; M.A. Syracuse University, B.A., Marquette University; author of five books. Professional editor since 2000; member of St. Louis Writers Guild and St. Louis Publishers Association.

ANDREW JOBLING (of Australia) is an unlikely athlete and an accidental author. He somehow played senior-level professional football with the St Kilda FC for seven years, and has 30 years experience in the wellbeing industry, fifteen as a personal trainer. Then, with no time, no training, no experience and no clues, he ‘accidentally’ wrote his first bestselling book, Eat Chocolate, Drink Alcohol and be Lean & Healthy. To date he has written nine books, which have sold in excess of 200,000 copies. His latest book, The Wellness Puzzle, is helping him fulfill his purpose to empower people to take control of their wellbeing and create a wave of wellness all around the world. Andrew is an in-demand speaker and mentor in schools, for companies and for aspiring authors. He works with teams and groups, large and small. He spends his time sharing a perspective that is changing many lives.

MEGHAN PINSON of My Two Cents Editing provides expert editing, engaging critique, and fearless consulting to authors of novels and nonfiction manuscripts. She specializes in story development and author education. Current favorite genres: historical fiction, crime/mystery/suspense, middle grade adventure stories, and prescriptive nonfiction. Connect with her at  

KORTNEY PRICE is a Literary Agent with Corvisiero Literary. Having grown up in a small town, Kortney has always valued the stories that allow readers to escape into fantastic worlds and visit far away places. She loves reading about the things she loves so stories featuring an awesome sense of humor, art and artists, antiques and old buildings, and strong and quirky families are always welcome. Because of her 15+ years working in the special needs community, Kortney is always looking for stories featuring characters with special needs. Her preferences are picture books through middle grade, and young adult. She is not the best fit for books about cancer, suicide or school shootings.

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at