Saturday, June 28, 2014

Connecting to Readers

twobee, published on 12 October 2011
Recently a fellow writer posted a blog about her experiences on Facebook as an author. It doesn’t matter what conference you go to or magazine on writing you read, we are all told that we should have a platform that includes blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media oriented pages. The purpose of which is two fold: to sell our products and to connect with our readers. But do we really connect with them? Do we really want to open up who we are with them?

There is no treasure map with X marking the spot to tell us exactly what we need to do and not to do to connect with our readers. They get tired of the “buy my book” routine that you see all over Twitter and Facebook. They really don’t want to read about your politics and you are likely to attract more trolls than readers that way. Also, your readership is usually comprised of people from all political parties and walks of life. Once you post in favor or against a political party or its representative, you just put at risk losing a huge chunk of your readers. In fact, I had stopped following one famous author for a long time because every time I turned around she was posting about politics. Eventually I started following her again, but that was because she went back to talking about her writing.

What do our readers want to know from our social media and our blogs? The good news is that while we are all writers, we are also readers. As in my example above, what did you want when you first clicked “Like” on someone’s Facebook Page? Sit down and make a list of what you were hoping to get out of following that author’s page—except writing techniques. Only we fellow writers are usually looking for that.  Now, ask yourself, are you providing this information—this list of topics—to your readers? Is there anything special about you and why you do what you do that might be of interest?

I am not going to say that this is easy. I don’t know about you, but by nature I am an introvert. I find it more comfortable to discuss writing technique than about why I do what I do. The skill of opening up about who I am and what I go through is something I am just now learning to do. It is something I have to do. We’ll see how it goes. Unless I am willing to fall down, how else can I show who I am and be able to connect to those whom I want to reach with the stories I write?
What are you doing to reach your readers?

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Fiction is the world where the philosopher is the most free in our society to explore the human condition as he chooses.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Literary agent helps writers prepare query letters at Guild’s July 12 workshop

Inklings Literary Agent Whitley Abell
Literary agent Whitley Abell will help writers gear up for the Publish Your Dreams contest by explaining the dos and don’ts of writing query letters from 10 a.m. to noon, July 12, at the St. Louis Writers Guild (SLWG) workshop.

Whitley, who joined Inklings Literary Agency in 2013, will also talk about what agents look for in submissions. The workshop will be held at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Rd. in Kirkwood. Free to St. Louis Writers Guild members; $5 for nonmembers.

Jennifer Stolzer, SLWG secretary and contest coordinator, will join Whitley to explain the Guild’s submission guidelines for the members-only Publish Your Dreams contest. The winner will be announced Aug. 23 at SLWG’s free conference, Writers in the Park.

Prior to joining Inklings Literary Agency, Whitley completed successful internships with Carol Mann Agency and P.S. Literary Agency. She is based in St. Louis, Mo., where she daylights as a production manager for several medical and S & T journals. She graduated in 2011 BA in English and Creative Writing, and again in 2012 with a MAT in Secondary English Education, which basically means she can tell you anything there is to know about feminist literary theory and the Common Core Standards. Whitley is primarily interested in Young Adult, Middle Grade, and select Upmarket Women's fiction.

The winner of SLWG’s Publish Your Dreams contest and entries from other Missouri Writers’ Guild chapters will be submitted to Walrus Publishing Inc. for possible publication. If the SLWG manuscript is selected, it will be placed on their editorial schedule for publication between Winter 2015 and Summer 2016, said Walrus founder Lisa Miller. If not selected, Walrus will provide a one-page review of the manuscript with recommendations for editorial assistance.

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Voice coach explores “The Five Elements” at Guild’s June 7 workshop

At the St. Louis Writers Guild’s June 7 workshop, voice coach Sheila Dugan will provide insight into some basic elements writers can use at their next Open Mic night, or anywhere they are called upon to perform written materials aloud.

“The Five Elements” workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Rd. in Kirkwood. Free to St. Louis Writers Guild members; $5 for nonmembers.

Sheila is a Master Teacher of Voice and will lead exercises to boost writers’ expressiveness while reading out loud. Additionally, some writers’ work may be workshopped, IF time permits. Bring a couple of pages you’d like help with, and be sure to have a second copy for Sheila.

For 46 years, Sheila has taught singing and public speaking refinement and has provided voice therapy for clients, upon medical referral. Her voice students have appeared in 15 Broadway shows, and have also performed off Broadway, with numerous national tours, and many regional theatre companies. Sheila’s classical voice students have performed at major opera houses and with major symphony orchestras both at home and abroad. She has served as a public speaking coach in the areas of medicine, law and business. For more information, visit her website:

Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild at