Post Pitch-O-Rama Expert AMA: Next Steps to Getting Published
Saturday, July 18, 2020
Noon – 1pm
Online, via Zoom
Free to Pitch-O-Rama PLUS 2020 attendees
$20 for WNBA-SF members, $35 general
Here is your chance to ask anything in this virtual event featuring publishers. As everyone probably knows, you or your agent needs to get your book or proposal into the hands of an interested editor; that’s the first hurdle. A well-crafted proposal, an agent with good relationships, and choosing the right editors to approach are the first steps.
Note: we are limited to 90 attendees at this event, so register early!
First Ever Effie Lee Morris Writing Awards & Mixer!
Friday, July 24, 2020
Online, via Zoom
Free! Please come celebrate with us!
Join the WNBA-SF for our First Ever Effie Lee Morris Writing Awards & Mixer!
The Women’s National Book Association San Francisco Chapter is pleased and proud to debut the first-ever Effie Lee Morris WNBA Literary Awards in honor of our founder.
Ms. Morris was a pioneering Black librarian and the founder of this chapter of the Women’s National Book Association in 1968. She first started her library career in Cleveland, Ohio. She became the first female chairperson of the Library of Congress and was the president of the National Braille Association for two terms. She was dedicated to literacy for children as well as children in underserved and those who learn differently. The WNBA SF Chapter is continuing our advocacy for the voices of women and diverse authors. In tribute to Ms. Morris’s important work and legacy, we are announcing the first winners of the Effie Lee Morris WNBA Literary award.
Note: we are limited to 90 attendees at this event, so register early!
Create Your Online Style to Sell Yourself… and your book
Friday, Aug 12, 2020
Online, via Zoom
Authors recognize the importance of making connections with the right people in the publishing industry. A fabulous first impression can be your doorway into a valuable relationship, book deal, or partnership. Since COVID-19, your first meeting will probably be on a video call. Projecting your personality through the eye of a camera is an art and demands a carefully curated shift from in-person to online conversations and presentations.
Do you impress and connect with your audience on a Zoom call?
You will learn to:
Dear WNBA-SF Members,
This year is zooming by, literally as we are all on Zoom for work, for family hangouts, happy hours, book club get togethers and even birthday parties. In addition to all the video chats, we sincerely hope you are getting some summer vacation reading time. And writing time! Speaking of that, make sure to attend our First Ever Effie Lee Morris Writing Awards & Mixer coming right up! https://wnba-sfchapter.org/july-24-effie-lee-morris-writing-awards-mixer/
A gentle reminder to renew; if you have not yet had a chance, please do before the end of the year.
Keep your eyes on our website and Friday email updates for when the WNBA-SF Writing Contest starts back up this fall so YOU can have the opportunity to be an Effie Lee Morris Award Winner.
We are very pleased to be able to honor the founder of our chapter, Ms. Effie Lee Morris, who was a pioneering Black librarian who worked assiduously to help underserved communities and children had access to books. We are inspired by her life and legacy and aspire to continue her advocacy.
Last month, we also had our first ever Virtual Pitch-O-Rama and it was wild, wooly and wonderful. Big shout out to the team that made it happen, especially Sue Wilhite who made it work and is an exemplar of good-natured grace under pressure. We were thrilled that so many writers got quality pitching time with publishers, agents and editors.
A most unexpected dividend was that the *breakout room rooms* become literary support groups cheering each other on. We even got feedback that some folks prefer the virtual platform as it was more relaxed. We are taking all the feedback so we can bring Pitch-O-Rama 2021 to the next level and make it the best it can be. We have a follow up session which is free to all POR attendees and highly affordable for anyone else looking for coaching, agent advice and insight from publishing pros. Be sure to register on this link and bring all your questions to this event.
Save the dates for fall big-deal event that will help you become a star on Zoom: https://wnba-sfchapter.org/aug-12-judy-baker-create-online-author-style/ Shelley Golden from Shelley Golden Style and Judy Baker from Book Marketing Mentor will show you the way.
They have been sharing their insights over Zoom with writers like you. They will show how to pivot your online presence, so you feel more confident and become irresistible within the confines of a small screen.
We would also love to hear YOUR news and welcome you to consider penning a blog post for our weekly newsfeed and website.
We also have openings for board members and if you are interested, please contact me at the Brenda.Knight@gmail.com We are also very happy to set up a call with you to see if you have any ideas, question or suggestion for making WNBA-SF even better. We love nothing better than learning from the wise women who comprise the WNBA-SF.
In closing, I’ll remind you our membership renewal period starts August 1st and we very much appreciate your continued support and contributions to our community.
Many thanks and keep the pages turning,
Elise Marie Collins, President
Brenda Knight, Immediate Past President
Featured Member Interview – Geri Spieler
Interview by Nita Sweeney
Self-Proclaimed “Political Junkie” Reveals Her Writing Secrets
The members of the Women’s National Book Association of San Francisco come from a variety of backgrounds and careers. I’m grateful for the opportunity to ask questions of smart, successful authors like Geri Spieler. Every interview provides splendid takeaways. I hope you enjoy the ones I heard in our conversation.
Nita Sweeney (NS): What draws you to the type of writing you do?
Geri Spieler (GS): I’m strictly nonfiction. Fiction is much too difficult for me. I’m sure it has to do with being a newspaper reporter and total political junkie. My book, Taking Aim at the President: The Remarkable Story of the Woman Who Shot at Gerald Ford, was written in the creative nonfiction genre. It was very difficult for me to write it the way I wanted–like a novel but, entirely nonfiction. I took writing courses to understand things like “scene.” I hired a number of editors along the way.
NS: Your publication credentials are impressive. Please tell us how you got started and what helped you land those projects.
GS: Thanks. My interest in writing started with an awareness of news and politics. My grandmother was a Holocaust survivor in that she realized early on things were going downhill for the Jews in Poland. She left before it got really bad and tried to convince her siblings to come with her to the states. They thought she was over reacting and hence were killed by the Nazis. She taught me early on to pay attention to the government because things can get very bad and you need to be alert. My mother was a political junkie and she taught me the same lessons.
I realized pretty fast that if an event did not get covered in the press it might as well not have happened at all. I wanted to have that control, so to speak. I was always interested in news and politics.
NS: Taking Aim at the President has been optioned for a major motion picture. How did that come about and what has that process meant for you?
Featured Member Interview – Annemarie O’Brien
Interview by Nita Sweeney
Each time I interview a WNBA-SF member, the opportunity reminds me how fortunate we are to be part of a group of such interesting women. I hope you enjoy this conversation with Annemarie O’Brien and learn as much from her as I did.
Nita Sweeney (NS): As a fellow dog-lover, I must ask about yours. Please tell us about your dogs.
Annemarie O’Brien (AO): When I wrote Lara’s Gift, I had two borzoi, Zola and Zar. They inspired the key fictional canine characters in Lara’s Gift of the same name. Borzoi are also known as Russian wolfhounds. They were the dogs of the Tsar during the Imperial era and considered a national treasure. They are very tall, slender, super-fast dogs that belong to the sight hound group. The Tsar and his court used them to hunt wolves. Today, many Russians use them to hunt hare. Beyond the squirrels who dare to steal fruit from the trees in my garden, neither of my borzoi hunt. Unfortunately, Zola passed away two years ago. She was a sweet, outgoing borzoi with a golden retriever personality. To keep Zar company we now have a silken windhound named Zeus. This is a newer breed of sighthounds developed in California, I believe, that looks like a miniature borzoi. Both of my dogs like to go to Stinson Beach and play tag with other dogs. They are both loyal and great companions.
NS: Each of your dogs sounds lovely. I’m sorry to hear about Zola. Our pets are such gifts. Changing the subject a bit, can you tell us more about Lara’s Gift, perhaps something that isn’t in the blurb?
AO: Lara’s Gift is a girl empowerment, father-daughter, historical fiction, dog story for young adults. It is set in Russia in the early 1900s during the Imperial era. The main character, Lara, wants to breed borzoi worthy of the Tsar, just like her father and her ancestors have done for hundreds of years. Lara has a special gift, or sixth sense as I’d liked to call it, regarding the borzoi such that she sees things before they happen. I got the idea from my own sixth-sense sort of experiences I had with my first childhood dog, Emma. Once when she was at a kennel while we were on vacation, I had a strong feeling that she had escaped and was lost. I begged my parents to call the kennel to check on her, but they assured me that there was no way she could escape from the kennel. Sure enough, when we picked her up upon our return, they told my parents that she had escaped and had, indeed, been lost on the same morning I had felt that something was wrong…
NS: How interesting that dogs have played such an important role all of your life. Your bio explains that you worked in Russia which inspired the setting for Lara’s Gift. Which part were you in?
10 Goals for Writers for 2020
By Debra Eckerling, author of Your Goal Guide: A Roadmap for Setting, Planning and Achieving Your Goals (January 2020)
It’s an opportunity to jump into new writing projects … and perhaps revisit some old ones. Whether your long-term goal is to sell a manuscript, get an agent, or break into a new publication, start by setting some short-term writing goals.
I’ve made it easy, and listed some goals to get you started. Keep the ones that resonate, tweak the ones that don’t quite hit the spot, and add new ones that will help you reach your long-term goals.
Here are 10 goals to set you up for writing success in 2020.
It’s Complicated: 3 Rules for Writing about Difficult Relationships
By Nita Sweeney, author of Depression Hates a Moving Target
“Love truth, but pardon error.” – Voltaire
If my mother hadn’t died, she would have been 89 on March 1st. And if she hadn’t died, I might not have written Depression Hates a Moving Target: How Running with My Dog Brought Me Back from the Brink because I’m not sure I would have taken up running. Sorry for the cliffhanger, but the book tells that story.
When I posted a photo of Mom on social media, as I do nearly every year on her birthday, friends and family commented with fond memories. They weren’t making it up. She could be kind, thoughtful, generous, creative, witty, and brilliant.
But she was the most confusing person in my life.
Mom only appears on a few pages of my running and mental health memoir, but she might be the most interesting person in the story. The year after she died, I wrote a first draft of a memoir about our relationship. I found the writing so painful that I set it aside to heal and gain perspective.
Her birthday and my reaction to the social media comments (curiosity and a bit of terror at the thought of what people who loved her might think after they read the book) led me to ponder how we can love someone so much yet also find the relationship so hard. As a writer, I reflected on how to write about difficult relationships.
Did her death grant me artistic license to tell the truth?
When I wrote this memoir (and the other memoir drafts sitting in files on my computer and in boxes in our basement) I heeded Karr’s words. “Don’t make shit up” was my canon, my lodestar, my guiding light. I wrote with abandon while compulsively checking journals, running logs, and datebooks to ensure accuracy.
Then came the revisions where I had to decide what I really wanted to say. How could I portray my experience without making any of the people in the book, and especially my mother, look like either monsters or saints?
WNBA-SF 2020-2022 BOARD
President: Elise Marie Collins
4061 E. Castro Valley Blvd.
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.”
WNBA-the National Organization
The Women’s National Book Association, established in 1917, before women in America had the right to vote.
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.
Check out: NEW NATIONAL DIRECTORY!
You must be an ACTIVE MEMBER to be listed in the new directory and have login access to your personal profile and all other members.