Monday, April 28, 2014

A Blog, A Newsletter, Both?

With all the talk about how a writer can build a platform or build a brand, I am pleased to see this   helpful post  

The author believes a writer should have a blog and a newsletter. I definitely believe a writer must have a blog. Read this article to see why  feels a blog is necessary.


Some of the comments show the writers don't see the "big picture." When the person comments that he doesn't  need a blog because he doesn't have enough books published yet, he is woefully neglecting his platform. The blog can be helpful in his getting those books published, in getting his name recognized before the book is published so that marketing of the book is easier. With a blog, a writer builds a community of readers and friends who will tell their friends about this writer. This is like moving into a neighborhood and taking time to get to know the folks who live there. When you know them and they know you, you have built an identity in your community. You are no longer a stranger, but someone to be trusted, and you have friends you can call on if needed. This doesn't happen overnight and neither does creating a writing community. It takes time and effort.

A blog increases a writer's online visibility because the search engines pick up his blog posts. I would rather visit an author's blog than simply see a website where his books are listed. And then, of course, he can share his blog posts on all the social media which will likely bring him new readers.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Mirrors

Since this is poetry month, I want to share at least one good poem with my readers.

Mirror by Sylvia Plath is one that hits a chord with me today.

I wrote a poem called The Woman in the Mirror. 
Mirrors hide nothing from us. I have heard of people who will not have a mirror in their home. But mirrors are my security, my safety net. My mirror tells me the truth when no one else will. A mirror can bring us to our knees at times and can also send us soaring like a kite set free on the wind.

I knew a young man who, each morning, looked at his reflection in his mirror and said out loud, "I look good! I feel good!" He smiled at himself and began his day. 

My mirror speaks to me frankly and never minces words when I ask, "who is the fairest?"
It doesn't hide my flaws, but pronounces them in a silver quiet voice perfect for my hearing these days. 
I seldom visit my reflection anxious as I did in my youth. Now I speak to myself and say, job well done



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Self Pub, Traditional or Small Press?

Recently I spoke at a writers conference and the subject of how to publish is always the first thing novice authors ask. Which is best? Self-publish or go the traditional route?
In this article, Robert Brewer discusses the other alternative which I would recommend to anyone who has a manuscript ready to submit. Try a small press.

I like that a small press is not limited to a three month window for selling the book as are the major publishers. The process of marketing by a small press goes on and on, unlimited. Of course, the author has to be doing his part to promote the book as well.
Brewer says that when asked about the top advantage small presses offer to authors, Erika Goldman, publisher and editorial director of Bellevue Literary Press, says, “Tender, loving care.”




The book's cover and design is accomplished with the cooperation of the author and the small press.
“I work directly on each book, designing it along with the author to produce something that a reader will want to purchase, as well as an object that best fits how the author wants their writings to be displayed,” says Geoffrey Gatza, founder, editor and publisher of BlazeVOX [books].

Brewer's poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems was published by Press 53. When he visited and taught at Writers Circle last year, he spoke highly of his editor and all the folks at Press 53, a North Carolina company.

Read the full article here.

Monday, April 14, 2014

What can I give? What can I do?

Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you. 
                                                                                                                --Mother Teresa

My mother didn't tell me this, and she was no Mother Teresa, but she lived it. I watched Mother and her relationship with other people from the time I was a small child. She didn't run around looking for places to be of use. She had a large family, seven kids, and a farmer husband. She didn't have extra cash stashed to donate to others. But when a neighbor was in need, mother comforted her, gave her refuge from an abusive husband. When a relative lost a child, Mother was there to listen to the same stories over and over poured out with a cascade of tears. When a poor family had needs, Mother could find some way to make things better. I didn't know, of course, when I was observing her, that I was learning how to live my own life, and I was learning from a master teacher.

In the mail, every day, I am inundated with solicitations from organizations as varied in their needs as The Baptist Children's Home to the Democratic Party. My telephone rings and I see numbers from far away cities that I know are charities wanting my money. I just don't pick up anymore. 

On the TV news I see earthquakes, mudslides, refugees of war, and my heart aches for those people caught in the worst of all situations. I am overwhelmed with so much need and suffering in this world. If only I were strong and healthy enough to go and help, but I am not. Those days are gone for me now.

Although I have always been frugal with my resources and saved for my retirement, the nagging worry still hangs over me. Will I outlive my savings, my nest egg?

Are the needs of others more important than my own? If I give to all the organizations that ask, will I one day find I am among those doing the requesting?


I have made the decision to help one person at a time and to start with the person nearest me. 
I will help him/her in the way that is best for me. What do I have to offer? Not money. Not physical strength. 

  • I can offer what I know about writing, about publishing, about marketing, about building relationships, about organizing events and I can offer ideas to improve my community. 
  • I can offer to help those who have lost loved ones and have trouble moving on and finding purpose. My experience in that department is vast.
  • I can offer sympathy and empathy where it is needed. I can offer encouragement to that young person who has yet to enter the arena, to pursue her dreams, to take the risks involved to become a success. I can be there as backup if needed. 
  • I can share what I know with mature adults who want to be remembered for the lives they have lived - either by their family or by the world at large. I can and do help them find a way. I can listen. Sometimes that is the most important thing we can do - simply listen.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Traveling around western NC

I can't believe how much is going on this spring and summer. I am a member of the NC Poetry Society and on the committee for Poetry Day. My sister is traveling with me to Hickory for Poetry Day.
I am one of the volunteers working on the Netwest Writers Conference in May. It takes many volunteer hours to hold a conference.
And as part of the NC Poetry Society, I will be reading in Franklin, NC. in July.
I hope to see you, my friends and readers,
Scott Owens
at the events below. 


Saturday, April 26, 9:30 am - 3:00 pm
Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory NC
Becky Gould Gibson, NCWN Regional Representative, Scott Owens, and Pat Riviere-Seel will read as part of the 2014 North Carolina Poetry Society's Poetry Day. Owens, NCWN Regional Rep Glenda Beall, and others will sit on a panel, "The State of Poetry in Western NC." The day also includes workshops and an Open Mic.



Saturday, May 10, 9:15 am
Jackson County Courthouse Library Complex, Sylva, NC
Judy Goldman will give the Keynote Address; Gary Carden and Newton Smith will present "History and Writing: the Cowee Tunnel Tragedy"; Kathryn Stripling Byer and Nancy Simpson will present "Building a Readership for Your Poetry"; William Everett will be the special guest at a workshop hosted by City Lights Bookstore; and more at the 2014 NetWest Writers Conference. Register: www.netwestwritersconference.blogspot.com.




Saturday, July 19, 2:00 pm
Macon County Community Facilities Building, 1288 Georgia Rd., Franklin NC
Glenda Beall and others will read as part of a poetry reading series sponsored by The North Carolina Poetry Society and Ridgeline Literary Alliance.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Do You have to be High Tech to Build a Brand?

What a great time I had at the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference in Blue Ridge Georgia. Carol Crawford and her staff including Caroline Mann make it seem effortless to host over 80 people all day long and move them from room to room as needed, keep all the presenters moving toward their posts, and feed them lunch.
Glenda B. and Carol Crawford   

Although I was deliberately late, needing to pace myself for energy, and because I had suffered from the overload of fragrance at the reception on Friday night, the day was quite long for me. 

Eager writers filled almost every seat in the room for my 11:00 a.m. session waiting to learn something that would help them to become published writers. Even now, at my age and with my experience, I am still honored and pleased when others look to me for expertise. I was there to help all the wanna-be writers and those who considered themselves writers already, but needed a boost to get their name out there, to be known to the readers they want to reach. 

I have been going to this conference for seventeen years. Never missed one. I know who attends this event in the beautiful little tourist town in the North Georgia mountains. I have walked in their shoes and know what they want to know. I know that most of them are not into high tech marketing. 

I asked how many had a website and then how many had a blog. As I expected, a few hands shot into the air. Many of the folks in the room were over fifty. I relaxed and felt right at home. These were my people. 

We talked about building relationships with readers, building a name as a writer at home in our own community and I told them the many ways I had done that before finding the Internet in 2007. 

In another room a professional writer with a movie contract and ten novels to her name explained her method of building her career - Facebook and Twitter mostly - it seemed. I suggested to my group that they set up a free blog and "dip their toe into the water of the web." I did this because I know that most of them are scared to death of jumping into cyberspace in the way many do today to promote yourself and your work.

I like blogs because the writer has the opportunity to show her writing ability, show her readers who she is, what she likes, and what she expects and wants people to think about her. My theory is that a writer must first think about her readers and give them some reason to choose her words over others, to buy her book if she has one. I have favorite authors who blog and I like to know them through these weekly posts. I had some author's blogs I followed and enjoyed until those authors decided to go to FB and Twitter and leave their blogs. Now I don't follow them.

It is just not the same on FB or Twitter. If one is a famous author, he has a staff that plops up promotion material for him or he tells where he will appear next week. But an author, like our own Vicki Lane, author of The Elizabeth Goodweather Appalachian Mysteries from Bantam Dell keeps her readers with her every step as she writes and publishes her next book. We read her blog and we know the ups and downs she faces just as we do. We learn to care about her as a regular person as well as the author of the series. We worried about her when she had a car accident recently.

This quote from Seth Godin says what I think about depending on Twitter to build your writing platform.
How many eyeballs are passing by is a useless measure. All that matters is,
"how many people want to hear from you tomorrow?"

I had planned to go on with more information on building a brand, but our 45 minutes flew by once the audience became interactive with the discussion of blogging. I will be most interested to see if anyone there will set up a blog and I hope, if they do, they will let me know. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Memoir or Fiction, we have you covered

Check out the subjects for workshops at the Netwest Writers Conference on May 10, Jackson County Public Library in Sylva, NC 


2:00 - 3:45: Workshops

Second Floor Conference Room: Judy Goldman
What I Wish I'd Known Before I Wrote a Memoir


In this workshop, geared to both beginning and experienced writers, Judy will explain how to find the focus for your memoir, how to use the techniques of fiction to make your memoir come alive, how to write a beginning that gives the reader goose bumps, how to use reflection, how to understand the difference between scene and exposition, and how to deal with loved ones who might have a problem with what you write. She will do one in-class exercise to help you find your most engaging material.

First Floor Conference Room: Susan Snowden

Brighten Your Writing


Whether you write fiction or creative nonfiction, this workshop will help you hone your skills. Author and veteran book editor Susan Snowden will discuss creating strong characters, writing believable dialogue, self-editing, and more. Come with pen, paper, and your questions for the Q&A period at the end of the session.