Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day 5: A Fist Full of Firsts


You may have noticed that another writer has joined our table. Meet Marsha Moore; she lives in London, England and blogs at Write On!. Today, we are helping Marsh celebrate. The mayor of London endorsed her book, 24 Hours: London. [Clink of wine glasses…] Congratulations, Marsha! Link to her blog to read the story.

We are also celebrating another first for Calling All Aspiring Writers with Marsha. She has agreed to write a monthly piece for our site. Beginning on October 15th, Marsha will write on travel books. Her travel book about London is coming out in October and she working on one about Paris. Marsha is our first 897 Regular.

Another "first" for our community is a featured conference. The column on the right shows a fall writers' conference. Escape to Create is a non-profit organization that hosts a January artist-in-residence program in Seaside, Florida. This year, they have expanded their mission to host their first annual writers' conference to be held Oct. 14-16, 2009. This is a boutique conference that accommodates a maximum of 40 people. The award-winning visiting authors will have sessions on memoir writing, the profession of writing, and non-fiction writing that could be of interest to non-fiction writers.

The sessions are small and held in a private residence, so many opportunities exist for one-on-one time with the presenters. Please note that if you are unable to climb stairs, this would not be the conference for you. The sessions are held on the second floor of the home. If you are interested you can contact Mrs. Melayne DeMars at escapetocreate@gmail.com.

Finally, I have posted the first links to organizations that educate writers. The Christian Writers' Guild works toward the goal of giving students the tools necessary to keep them from the many missteps and pitfalls that can stall a writer's career. It is the one with which I am most familiar. I have just started their two-year apprentice program. I will start blogging about that next month.

The second one is The Creative Nonfiction Foundation. Quoting from their web site, the Creative Nonfiction Foundation "pursues educational and publishing initiatives in the genre of literary nonfiction. Its objectives are to provide a venue, the journal Creative Nonfiction, for high quality nonfiction prose (memoir, literary journalism, personal essay); to serve as the singular strongest voice of the genre, defining the ethics and parameters of the field; and to broaden the genre's impact in the literary arena by providing an array of educational services and publishing activities." They have contests that may also be of interest.

That's our fist full of firsts for our blog. Let me know if you find them useful.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day 4: All It Takes Is Time

It is raining here. People come into the coffee shop, loosely close their umbrella, shake off the water and hang it on the hat rack in the corner. The clatter of spoons in cups and murmur of conversation drop into the background in the almost constant rumble of thunder. The room has a very cozy feel. This is a mint tea kind of day, so I sit here with a hot cup of tea in my favorite chair.

Today is another day of firsts for our non-fiction community blog. Sitting at the table with me is Jennifer - trumpets, please! – the first non-fiction writer to join me at the table. Jennifer blogs at Blogging It Out. She is new to the blogging world, so take the time to check out her page and tell her hello. Welcome, Jennifer!

What a pleasure to add another chair to the table just for Jennifer. With a little help from other people who have an interest in writing non-fiction books, our community can grow. If you will help by joining us at the table and telling others you know about the community, we can build some momentum. Jennifer has gotten the ball rolling. Now all it takes is time and enough people who care.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 3: The Who

You might have noticed that my blog ended rather abruptly, yesterday. I spilled lemonade on my laptop. Yeah, bummer, huh? Fortunately, it was not terminal – for the laptop, I mean, but it almost gave me a heart attack.

I had another crazy brainstorming idea while I was gone. All aspiring writers have rejection letters. Those one or two sentences can be very painful, but they are universally dull – at least in my experience. They range from the extreme of "no comment," after waiting three months to hear SOMETHING, through "the project is not right for us," to "you need a huge platform to sell this." It might be fun to collect rejection letters. Twice a year we could vote on the most creative one and award the winning agency/publisher an
"R" (a rejection letter) – pun intended. If we have no creative rejection letters submitted to the community, then we could hold a creative rejection letter-writing contest instead.

A community blog takes a lot of teamwork. The volunteers who commit to writing regularly on a topic in which they are skilled will be part of The 897 Regulars. Some of the talents the community will need: writers in these (and other) genres, cookbooks, travel, academic, devotional, narrative, memoire, biography/autobiography, journalistic, humor, (Please, help me, here! Add some non-fictional genres to the comments.) and experts in building platforms, writing queries, researching, interviewing, marketing, creating blogs and building a following, designing and using web sites, staying motivated to write, editing and self-editing, language usage, and publishing/self-publishing.

Other members of The 897 Regulars will be the volunteers who keep facebook, twitter, and other social network communities updated with the community blog news and those who manage the sidebar extras that we create for the right-hand column of the blog.

Today marks the first time any 897 Community content goes up on the blog. Two agencies who specialize in representing non-fiction work, Daniel Literary Group and Martin Literary Management become the first two members of the N-F A-List. If you know of any agencies that specialize in non-fiction representation and you have researched them thoroughly enough to recommend them to others, please either email me at lynndaell[at]live[dot]com or leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day 2: Brainstorming

This coffee shop is nice. The location is good, the tables are generously sized and the food and drink taste as good as they look.

I sit in the chair I have claimed for my own, back to the wall, ready to welcome those who come my way. Did I mention that the shop has Wi-Fi? I found that out yesterday, so I brought my lap-top, today. While I wait for you to find the coffee shop, I want to drink my lemonade and do a little brainstorming.

In case you've never been in a brainstorming session, the idea is to let the imagination fly, record every thought - no matter how harebrained, and see how well the creative juices can flow. So, here is a list of questions I am asking myself – and you, too, if you want to join me.

Who would be invited to join?
Anyone in the world who is interested in creating and publishing non-fiction books and who can speak English
Would like a diverse group that works in all the genres of non-fiction
Must be willing to share what they know best and generously support other aspiring writers

What should be in the posts?
Anything and everything related to creating and publishing non-fiction books including
Platforms – when you need them and when you don't
Identifying genre – difference between biography and memoire, journalistic and narrative, etc
Research techniques – the web, the experts, libraries, etc
Tips and ideas for writing in a specific genre of non-fiction

What reoccurring topics could be used?
site statistics - how many visitors, countries, etc;
each genre have a focused blog posting once a month;
the student's view of taking a writing course: college/correspondence;
Birthday party for non-fiction books published since the last party;
seminars and conferences of special interest to non-fiction writers (and why);
blog parties to introduce all the new blogs to everyone;
funny story Friday night;
Fording the River, how my manuscript got published (by a person who follows the blog)

What else should be on the site?
Contests -(#1: choosing a better name for the blog!),
corporate sponsors (all related to publishing),
a list of agents specializing in non-fiction books and what they are looking for,
list of blogs and web sites of interest to non-fiction writers,
opportunities for visitors to vote on blog content and other issues,
a non-fiction award for web sites/blogs that are most helpful to non-fiction writers (award created here, sites nominated and voted on by the readers),
blogger award for the most informative blog posted on this blog the previous month (top three chosen by number of comments, winner by reader votes)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Day 1: Sitting Here Alone

Here I am sitting at the table in the corner with my back to the wall, ready to smile and wave a welcome to anyone who heads my way. On the table in front of me is a lined tablet and a fat mechanical pencil just waiting to capture my thoughts, as I sit here waiting to see if anyone else will show up. I have a fresh Dr. Pepper and plenty of time, so come on over and talk.

What am I doing here? That's a good question. Let me tell you how this got started.

Almost a year ago, my hobby of writing got kicked up a notch to the aspiring writer category. I began browsing the web to learn something about the business of publishing and the craft of writing. I've linked up with some great folks and learned a ton of new information. All of that came with much frustration, however. What I discovered – not the first to learn it, I'm sure – is that most bloggers, web sites, and all things publishing focus primarily on fiction.

Now don't get me wrong. I love fiction. Most of the books I read are fiction and 90% of the ones I buy are fiction. But the one I am writing is non-fiction. I have spent hours looking for a web site devoted to non-fiction ideas, issues, and conversation without success. Well, I saw the movie, too; "If you build it, they will come." So here I am.

If this blog is to be a success, I need your help. If you write non-fiction and are willing to contribute posts on this blog, e-mail me at lynndaell[at]live.com. (You know the drill, replace [at] with@.) Let's discuss your participation. Meanwhile, I'll just sit here, drink my Dr. Pepper, and write.

Oh, yes, if you've discovered any web sites devoted to non-fiction writing, leave a comment and I'll start a link list.