Friday, April 12, 2019

What to Expect When You're Expecting (a Book): From Acceptance to Book Launch and Beyond

Jennifer Geist
The journey to a finished book can be a long, tedious, sometimes painful process, ultimately resulting in a little bundle of pride and joy. However, like having a child, your work is not complete upon publication!

Set yourself and your next book up for success by getting a behind-the-scenes peek at what happens after the publishing contract is signed at the St. Louis Writers Guild workshop from 10 a.m. to noon, May 4, at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd., St. Louis, MO  63131. Free to members; $5 for nonmembers.

Author Cynthia Graham and publisher Jennifer Geist will discuss how authors and publishers collaborate on bringing a book to publication, including editing, the design process, the book launch, and the marketing that follows.
Cynthia Graham

Cynthia A. Graham is the winner of several writing awards, including a Gold IPPY, two Midwest Book Awards, and was named a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. Her short stories have appeared in both university and national literary publications. She attained a B.A. in English from the Pierre Laclede Honors College at the University of Missouri in St. Louis. Cynthia is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the St. Louis Writers Guild, and the Missouri Writers Guild.

Jennifer Geist is the publisher of Pen & Publish, Inc. With a decade of experience in editing, book compositing, photography, graphic and web design, marketing, writing, and more, she is able to see any book from acquisitions to publication and beyond. Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree in creative writing with a focus in small press publishing through Southeast Missouri State University. She has worked with numerous small presses and her stories and photos are published in a variety of literary magazines. In addition to heading Pen & Publish, Open Books Press, and Transformation Media Books, she added a literary fiction and poetry imprint in 2015: Brick Mantel Books. Jennifer is a member of the St. Louis Publishers Association and the St. Louis Writers Guild."

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at

Friday, March 15, 2019

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. The St. Louis Writers Guild’s April 6 workshop will explore the conference pitch-session process from start to finish. This free workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd, St. Louis, MO 63131.

Leading the 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. We’ll touch on query letters, using your time, what to include, and just what is an elevator pitch! Plus, we’ll explore tools to find agents and publishers online and at conferences.

Upcoming conferences include the Missouri Writers Guild conference in Cape Girardeau (May 19), and the St. Louis Writers Guild’s Gateway Con (June 14-16) and Penned Con (Sept. 12-14), both in St. Louis.

“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

Thursday, February 7, 2019

“Freelance Your Way to Success” workshop March 2

Freelance author Linda O'Connell will share tips on writing creative nonfiction that sells at her “Freelance Your Way to Success” workshop from 10 a.m. to noon, March 2, at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd, St. Louis, MO 63131. Free to St. Louis Writers Guild members; $5 for non-members. 

Are you hesitant to write personal essays? Wonder if anyone really cares about your life experiences? According to Linda O'Connell, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

“We all have had similar life experiences. It's the honest emotions conveyed that makes each of our personal experiences unique and marketable,” she said. 

Learn how to write creative nonfiction, target diverse markets, write with authenticity, and publish your work. She will share tips on how to target anthologies, mainstream, and literary magazines. 

Linda O'Connell is a successful freelancer and multi-genre writer with more than 250 publishing credits. Her personal essays, poetry, and articles have appeared in diverse regional, national, and international publications. 

Linda's nonfiction essays have been published in 28 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She is a frequent contributor to Sasee Magazine. Linda has published creative nonfiction in Saturday Evening Post, The War Cry Magazine (Salvation Army), True Love, The Good Old Days, and Reader's Digest. Her work also appears in numerous literary magazines, in print and on line.

Linda published a book, Queen of the Last Frontier, and created an anthology, Not Your Mother's Book On Family, for a publisher in Northern California. She is a three-time recipient of Metro Lines/Poetry in Motion. Her winning poems were posted on local buses and MetroLink trains for one year each. 

As a columnist for a local sports paper, Linda wrote parenting articles for two years. She has written articles for Writers Journal and also for an educational publication.

Find out about the St. Louis Writers Guild at

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Workshop Feb. 2--“Writing with Humanity: Improving Characterization Across Gender & Sexuality”

J. Rachel Clay

Kathleen Kayembe
Writers, don’t miss J. Rachel Clay’s and Kathleen Kayembe’s Feb. 2 discussion of “Writing With Humanity: Improving Characterization Across Gender and Sexuality.” Held from 10 a.m. to noon at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd, St. Louis, MO 63131, the workshop is free to St. Louis Writers Guild members; $5 for nonmembers.

Their presentation will cover the need for authentic representation in fictional LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex and Asexual/Allied) characters, as well as the benefits for the author and work in pursuing that authenticity. Examples and tropes will be explored, with time for questions.

Julia Rachel Clay is the Director of Communications for Pride St. Louis and the chapter lead for pride@KPMG (a local employer pride group). They hold a Master's degree from Washington University in St. Louis and write about LGBTQIA issues. In their personal life they enjoy spending time with their partner and writing poetry and fiction.

Kathleen Kayembe’s work has appeared in Lightspeed and Nightmare, the Hugo-nominated anthology Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, and been reprinted in The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year, Vol. 12, and Year's Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 5. She attended Clarion in 2016 as its Octavia E. Butler Scholar. In addition to writing speculative fiction and nonfiction, she also writes queer romance under the pen name Kaseka Nvita. A longtime member of the St. Louis Writers Guild, she has been known to organize write-ins and run Amherst Writers and Artists writing workshops for her fellows. You can find her on Twitter as @mkkayembe, online at, or in the flesh falling in love with the world every time she writes with a fountain pen.

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Sargent focuses on “Book Descriptions that Sell” at Jan. 5 workshop

Award-winning author Karen Sargent will share her expertise on how to write “Book Descriptions that Sell” from 10 a.m. to noon, Jan. 5, in the Dogwood Room at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd, St. Louis, MO 63131. Free to St. Louis Writers Guild members; $5 for nonmembers.

“Many authors don't realize how important writing irresistible back cover copy is. Instead, they see it as a dreaded struggle,” she said. “Before a book description can entice readers to buy a book, it must first win over agents and publishers.”

Whether your book is a work in progress or a complete manuscript, Karen will share a few simple steps to help you write book descriptions agents, publishers, and readers won't be able to resist.

Award-winning author of Waiting for Butterflies, Karen Sargent is on a mission to use her experience to help other writers on their journey. Whether presenting at conferences, teaching at writing groups, or mentoring individuals, Karen enjoys meeting writers where they are and helping them take their next step. She is a member of the Womens Fiction Writers Association, American Christian Fiction Writers, the Missouri Writers Guild, and the SEMO Writers Guild. To learn more about her writing or to receive help with yours, visit Karen at

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

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Guild honors young writers at Dec. 1 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. 1, 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: “The lunchbox began to move….” or “The book had no words….” 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 9, 2018

NaNoWriMo Workshop Nov. 3: “Surviving the Hike and Planning the Aftermath”

Writing a novel in a month seems like an impossible journey! Learn how you can “Survive the Hike and Plan the Aftermath” from Amanda Wells at a NaNoWriMo workshop from 10 a.m. to noon, Nov. 3, at The Lodge Des Peres, 1050 Des Peres Rd., St. Louis, MO  63131. Free to St. Louis Writers Guild members; $5 for nonmembers

The National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. Amanda comes ready with a full rucksack of strategies and maneuvers for getting on, keeping up, and just writing the darn thing already. 

She’ll then discuss post-writing critique and what you might do with that monster tome once complete. Bring any notes, questions, or trail wounds you’d like show for all your trekking into the woods of NaNoWriMo.

Amanda Wells is a writer, scholar, and community builder. She was awarded the first ever stARTup grant from the Arts & Education Council of St. Louis, and is joyously busy building FLOW, a community-based literary arts center, at Centene Center for the Arts. Wells is a member of the traveling poetry collective Liminal Women, who claim the vocation of "aiding and abetting women on the threshold." She has a Masters in English Composition from the University of Missouri - St. Louis and has featured on various stages around the country, including Kranzberg Center for the Arts, The Focal Point, The Stage at KDHX, Prohibition Hall, and even a rundown truck stop in Tennessee. Her work has been printed in The 2River View, Bellerive, UMSL’s Litmag, Flood Stage: An Anthology of Saint Louis Poets (which she also edited), and elsewhere. She plans to put more miles on her Nissan in pursuit of liberation and magic, however those may find her.

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at