Spring 2017 Newsletter


Women's National Book Association, San Francisco Chapter Newsletter

upcoming events and news wnba-sf chapter Chapter President


Saturday, March 25, 2017, 8:00 am – 12:30 pm 

Women’s Building Auditorium
3543 18th Street 
(between Guerrero & Valencia)
San Francisco CA 94110 
Includes a continental breakfast 

$65 WNBA members  $75 Non-members. Men Welcome!

Women's Building

Pitch-O-Rama delivers the 4 Ps that lead to publication:

POLISH. You’ve polished your manuscript. Now polish your pitch with our pre-pitch coaches.

PITCH. We’ve assembled top agents, editors, and publishers to hear your pitch.
Click here for the current list with more to come!

PROMOTE. Power up with social media secrets in the Author’s Guide to Success, an ongoing session led by a bestselling author and an award-winning publisher.

PARTICIPATE. From Page to Screen: Turn your book into a movie with authors who did it, screenwriters and a Hollywood director.


Pre-registration required, space limited!

Help us promote this event, our annual fundraiser, by downloading the Pitch-O-Rama 2017 flyer

To read the current list of agents and editors and to REGISTER, click HERE.

Click here for Pitching Tips and Transportation Info

Georgia Hughes & KJ Landis discussing publication, 2015

Dear Friend and WNBA-SF Member,

Trees are now budding along with other signs of spring and new beginnings. One of the brightest blooms of spring is our own chapter’s highlight of the year, Pitch-O-Rama!

We are thrilled with this year’s event, set again at one of our favorite venues, the Women’s Building in the Mission District in San Francisco. This year, it is on March 25th and our roster is bursting with top Bay Area publishing talent- many agents, editors, publishers and author coaches who are there to be pitched book ideas, help polish proposals.

One of the most exciting and new features of this year’s Pitch-O-Rama is the session by acclaimed Hollywood screenwriter, Renee DePalma and bestselling novelist Mary Mackey on the art of getting a book from the page to the silver screen. That alone is worth the oh-so-reasonable ticket cost.

We would love for you to attend this one-of-a-kind opportunity to spend personal time with top experts in the field of book publishing. It is a rare chance to have your ideas heard and to learn from the best. Don’t forget that many of the top Oscar-nominated films started as books; maybe you could be next!

Please let us know if you can attend by registering online for Pitch-O-Rama, inclusive of social media buttons. We also ask that you please share on your personal social media about the event, which is a point of pride for our chapter, with your network, writers’ clubs, and fellow authors. Print out the flyer and post at your local library, bookstores and coffee shop. We greatly appreciate your help in getting out the good word! It is WNBA-SF’s annual fundraiser that allows us to offer free events and sponsor our literacy partnerships in the Bay Area.

In closing, I want to let you know that every Pitch-O-Rama helps get several people published. I myself acquired 5 authors from the last one and working with a gentleman who moved to New York but says that Pitch-O-Rama is the best such event he has ever attended for writers and plans to return for this one.

Brenda KnightOur chapter’s event is truly special, filled with optimism, and is a place where your book publishing dreams can become a reality. I would love to see you there and share a cup of coffee!

With gratitude,

Brenda Knight, SF Chapter President


upcoming events and news wnba-sf chapter Other News

Women, Wine and Books: A Mixer!

Join us for a casual evening in a new, hip tavern downtown!

UTSF logo mixerThursday, March 16th, 2017, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

333 O’Farrell Street,
San Francisco, CA 94102
Lobby Level of Hilton Union Square 

 Urban Tavern’s gastropub features a generous “sides” menu with seasonal and local ingredients to create an innovative experience. 

Share your news and personal projects and learn how you can get more involved in the WNBA Centennial Year activities!

Bring a friend you think would be interested in joining the magical WNBA!

Urban Tavern location of spring mixer
We will meet in the bar area at the long, redwood table.

No Host Bar. Prices moderate for drinks and sides. Special, personalized server, our own member, KJ Landis!

Please RSVP online by March 13th to secure our reservation. Indicate if you’re bringing guest(s). Limited seating. 

10 (+1) Tips on Pitching

We hope this article will be useful to writers planning to attend WNBA-SF Pitch-O-Rama on Saturday, March 25, 2017. Click on the link for details and to sign-up.

Gordon Warnock, founding partner at Fuse Literary, on pitchingWritten by Gordon Warnock

While the WNBA’s 6 minutes sounds like a long time, it goes quicker that you’d think. First, the time is broken down into two 60-minute blocks. Second, there are a lot of ways that you can end up wasting that time. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of it:

1. Show up early. (Take advantage of WNBA pre-pitch coaching.)

2. Lines are inevitable, so don’t get tunnel vision. If you get too focused on one agent, you might miss out on other opportunities. Rank the agents who are attending, and create a list, so if your #1 choice has a line out the door, but your #2 and #3 choices each have a one-person wait, you can quickly recognize and take advantage of that. Know where you’re going, and know where you’re going next.

3. Research the agents ahead of time. I’ve had plenty of folks stand in line only to walk up to my table, glasses trained on the conference program, and saying, “Do you work with fantasy?”  (Research the WNBA pitch-takers here and on their websites.)

4. Don’t try to convince us otherwise. If we say, online or in person, that we aren’t looking for a specific genre, move along to another agent. It’s OK. There are a lot of other agents in that room and even more in existence. You’re looking for the best agent for your work, not just any agent (and especially not one who doesn’t know or like your genre).


Featured Member Interview

BOOKTALK! The Buzz in the World of Books

Barbara Falconer Newhall

Barbara Falconer Newhall

Interview by Catharine Bramkamp

“My book Wrestling with God: Stories of Doubt and Faith was inspired by the amazing people I met on the religion beat at the Contra Costa Times back in the 1990s. So many stories. So many distinctive people. So many ways of experiencing the sacred. There wasn’t time on a newspaper to go deep with those people, so I decided to take some time – hours and hours with each one, as it turned out – to record some of those stories and put them into a book.

“To my dismay, publishers and agents were not much interested in publishing a collection of disparate voices—my book included Jews, Hindus, a Buddhist, a Native American, a fundamentalist Christian and a progressive Muslim to name a few. They kept telling me that my book needed an overarching narrative. I finally bit the bullet and wrote down my own spiritual journey – such as it was – and let that be the connective tissue that held all the stories together. I think the strategy worked, as the book received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and won a book award or two.

“Also, forcing myself to put my very private thoughts about my rocky spiritual journey into words paid off—I learned a lot about myself and I found that, indeed, I had a lot to say. This is the great thing about writing: it makes you learn and grow.

“I’ve been devoting myself to promoting the book full time for nearly two years. It’s hard to let go – there’s always one more book festival, one more blog post, one more influencer, one more book store to contact. A writer friend gave me this advice recently and I’m going to take it (I hope), and that is: Set a date for when you will stop promoting, do what you can within that time frame, then go on to the next book. I’m aiming for January 1, 2017.

“Some writers self-publish some of their works (the ones that are super literary, nichey or are outliers) and they go through a traditional publisher for their commercial books with wider appeal. I might self-publish my next book or two as I have quite a large collection of personal essays (funny and/or poignant) about family and what I like to call The Big Questions. I suspect that a traditional publisher won’t be interested because these books would be collections, which many believe are a harder sell to reader than, say, a memoir like Jeannette Walls’ The Glass Castle that has a beginning, middle and end.

“Self-publishing is looking like a better and better option for writers with every passing day, especially hybrid publishing, where the publisher does a lot of the work for you, while you maintain control over your book and its profits. I’m finding self-publishing really appealing at the moment because I simply do not want to spend time tracking down an agent and a publisher. That could take months. Self-publishing will let me get right to it.”

Read Full Interview HERE.

Book-A-Day Women’s History Month Program

During this March—Women’s History Month—we are putting our Celebrating Women’s Voices lists to work in the WNBA’s Book-A-Day Women’s History Month Program: sending a book for each day to the president and his staff. Selected based on their literary importance and their cultural and social impact, the list will also be sent to members of Congress and other key officials.  

The program is a reflection of a 1955 WNBA initiative, when we sent a book a day to President Dwight D. Eisenhower—a gesture to the president who was recovering from heart attack. This January 1956 WNBA newsletter shows the president’s thank-you letter and other historical documents. 

The aim of the WNBA’s Centennial Book-A-Day program is to help enlighten our new leaders as they seek to address the broad themes and complex issues that make up the landscape of the United States and the world. A PDF of the list is available here.

Press Release Excerpt

Women’s National Book Association Launches Centennial Year with Celebrating Women’s Voices and Book-A-Day Women’s History Month Program for the New Administration

In November of 1917, a group of women booksellers gathered at Sherwood’s Bookstore in New York City to form a league of women active in all aspects of the book world. Having been shut out of the all-male American Booksellers Association and the Bookseller’s League, the women connected, educated, and advocated for themselves, and the Women’s National Book Association was born.

One hundred years later, with chapters in twelve cities across the country and affiliated members in between, we have paved the way for women in the book world and promoted the importance of books in all forms and for all audiences. Our members represent all aspects of the literary community, including authors, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, and more.

One of the signature programs of our Centennial is Celebrating Women’s Voices, two lists of books penned by women—100 in fiction/memoir/poetry and 100 in nonfiction—that the WNBA community considers to be the most influential books penned by women.

 Read Publishers Weekly Article HERE.

To view a wonderful 10-minute video of the January 7th Maxine Hong Kingston event, click HERE!

To see the two 100 lists, go to our Centennial Website:  Celebrating Women’s Voices!

WNBA SF Chapter Board Contact Info Join-Now_btr6my6_0

WNBA-SF 2016-2018 BOARD

President: Brenda Knight
Vice President: Nina Lesowitz
Member Interview Editor
Treasurer: Herma Lichtenstein
Secretary: Sharon McElhone
Membership Chair: Terye Balogh
Past President: Kate Farrell
Member at Large: KJ Landis

Member at Large: Jan Schmuckler
Member at Large: Cathy Turney
Member at Large: Joan Gelfand,
Nat’l WNBA Chair, Chapter Development
Amy Finn, Social Media Manager
Web Editor: Simona Carini

Newsletter Editor: Kate Farrell
Martha Conway
Bookwoman Correspondent
Webmaster: Linda Lee

Mailing address: 
4061 E. Castro Valley Blvd.
Castro Valley, CA 94552-4840

The Women’s National Book Association has been a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) member of the United Nations since 1959. A NGO is defined as “any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group that is organized on a local, national or international level.”  

Two Brand New Websites! 

The Women’s National Book Association, established in 1917, before women in America had the right to vote.

Check out our Centennial website for more information about our history and the celebrations we have planned throughout the year.

The WNBA’s founding idea—that books have power and that those involved in their creation gain strength from joining forces—reaches across the decades to now serve members in 11 chapters across the country and network members in between.  
Read More…



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