Friday, August 21, 2009

NOTES: First Meeting, 8-20-09

Posted by Jason

— Purpose of this Organization:

To offer support and encouragement to local, fellow writers, as well as seeking to learn more about the business of writing and specifically, how to get published.

— Writing a book is an art form that's subject to interpretation; getting published is a science, with strictly defined rules. — Fred

— In the book industry, money always flows to the writer, not from the writer.

— When trying to publish FICTION, these are roughly the steps:

a.) write the book

b.) send a query letter to an agent

c.) if agent approves, send a synopsis and three chapters

d.) send to the publisher

(First-time authors typically get about $10,000.)

— When trying to publish NONFICTION, these are roughly the steps:

a.) write the book proposal first (even before writing the book)

b.) write a query letter to agent

c.) if approved, then send proposal

d.) the proposal should be a complete marketing plan for your book; it’s like a business plan — you have to sell your book, because making money is always the bottom line; try to know what they’re looking for, before you ever send your proposal

— Platform — an explanation of your expertise, or why YOU should be the one to write this book

— Genre: You should be able to assign your book to a specific genre (ex. biography) on bookstore shelves

— Hook (or “Elevator Pitch”) — We should be able to accurately describe our book in 25 words or less — and sell it! This should be short enough to tell your agent what it’s about before the elevator gets to the next floor.

— A Query Letter — tells a little more in-depth what the book is about; note any previous publishing experience in your query letter; this adds to your platform and helps define who you are

— Getting published is possible; distribution is much more difficult

— agents seem to be “the gatekeepers”

— the length of a typical novel is about 80,000 words, but really, the length should be “as long as it takes,” no more, no less

— Fred recommends attending the writers’ conferences; you get a 10-min. pitch with an agent

— Getting published will mean submitting to an agent, to critiquing and to an editor

— Every Tuesday, the Ohio County Public Library hosts “Lunch With Books” at noon, where authors often come

— We are considering a possible book-sharing/borrowing program among our group members

— The 5 W’s and H:







— Once writers get published and distributed, how can they get customers to pick up their books, particularly if they don’t have the financial, advertising muscle backing them?

— Talk to an Author in Moundsville:

Best-selling author Patricia Harman will be presenting a multi-faceted program at 6 p.m. Monday at the Moundsville-Marshall County Public Library, 700 Fifth St. Her main topic will be the impact of stress on family health, but she’ll also discuss her work as a nurse-midwife, her recent book, and the writing and publishing process. Anyone interested in writing and publishing their own work will find Harman’s discussion of her experience with the process very useful. The library program is free and open to the public. For more information about the author and memoir, including reviews and an excerpt, visit


  1. Thank you for taking the time to make this blog-site for us :) I'm excited, and will be posting info in the near future.

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