Today the local library hosted a program for writers. I'm not sure what it was called and until I got there I wasn't even sure what it was or how it would go.
What it was: an opportunity for local writers to display (and hopefully sell) their work. Each was also given some time, completed unstructured, to discuss their work and anything else they wanted to talk about. There were 7 or 8 writers who came prepared (or unprepared, in my case) to talk. Among the group was a sci-fi writer, three Inspirationa/Christian writers, a poet who also wrote Christian fiction, a fiction writer who also wrote Inspirational fiction and poetry, and me (how to classify me? Folklore writer? Poet? Nonfiction writer? Non-Inspirational writer?).
What happened: the library staff set up tables with placards for each writer. Everyone set out their books, etc in front of them and people came in and browsed and talked to the writers. I did not set up right away since I wasn't sure of what was expected. Then at 10 am the first speaker, Barbara Cozad, discussed her books and how she got them published and why she writes. With her was an elderly woman who, as it turned out, was the great-grandmother of two little boys with a rare disorder. The author was donating some of her sales to the boys' medical fund. After the author spoke, her companion talked about the little boys who have something called Sanfilippo's Syndrome. Hers was a heart-breaking story, and one that spoke to her bravery and her love of her great-grandsons.
Following her was Nancy Merical, a poet and writer of Inspirational Fiction. Nancy is a down-to-earth woman; she was forthright about the difficulties of getting published and book marketing. Nancy has quite a few books in print and her honesty about her struggles to get her work out to the public was an honest look at the challenge faced by today's authors.
Next was Fred Harrington, a science fiction writer. His talk was lively, filled with stories and humor. To hear him tell of the 5 year old neighbor child who moved in with him when the grandma who was raising the boy went to prison (no joke) just made my jaw drop--especially when he said the boy is still living with him and his wife, 6 years later. Now that is a story. Fred discussed his writing process, where he gets inspiration for his books and the company he publishes through.
I left for a bit after Mr. Harrington because our writers' group meets on Tuesday and we had some work to do. I rejoined the meeting afterward and for my segment I discussed blogging as a way to build audience, social networking, and finding new and different ways to market our writing. I don't have novels like many of the others did, and what I do is a good bit different, but some of the methods I use for marketing can work for a traditional author too.
Last of the day's presenters (I missed one lady while at my writers group and don't know her name) was Mike Anders. Mike described his path to writing his current novel about horses, Voices on the Wind, and also gave specifics about publishing an e-book on Kindle. I had not considered doing that, but after listening to Mike, I plan to look into it as a way to sell some of my short stories.
It was an interesting day. The best part was meeting other writers and hearing about their work. I was able to promote our writing group too, and we may have gained a couple new members.
I had not planned to be away all day, but in the end it was time well spent. The company of writers--a pleasure and an inspiration.