I had the pleasure of attending the 2010 Chattahoochee Valley Writers’ Conference in lovely Columbus, Georgia this weekend. I loved the fact that the workshops were an hour and a half long and were small enough that everyone had a chance to get to know each other. (Plus I won a door prize of several great books!) Sarah and I arrived just in time for the reading by Jessica Handler, author of Invisible Sisters: A Memoir. It is such a hauntingly sad story, it made me cry! But it is also a story about her finding herself through her journaling, after becoming lost in amid illnesses, hospitals, sorrow and death.
These are the workshops I attended on Saturday:
1) Keith Badowski— “How to Get Started, How to Keep Going: Poetry Prompts, Exercises, and Springboards for Those Times When Your Muse Takes a Vacation.” Keith Badowski, “The Bearded Poet,” had to substitute at the last minute for Rick Campbell whose wife and daughter were in a wreck (they were not injured). While I did hate missing Rick, Keith conducted a great workshop and did a wonderful job of getting poetic “juices” flowing. He used words, line prompts, partners, pictures and other springboards to inspire us to write several poems during the workshop. He was also on hand to write spontaneous poems on Ron Self’s antique typewriter. Keith and Ron Self, President of the Georgia Poetry Society, co-founded Brick Road Poetry Press. Contact Keith Badowski at firstname.lastname@example.org
2) John Travis–Publishing in Today’s World. After a brief history of printing , John led us on a trip through internet websites for writers. He also talked about the future of publishing–ebook readers and self-publishing sites. John is the editor for a very small literary press, Portals Press in New Orleans. He asked us to keep an open mind about e publishing. He said there are some writers who are marketing straight to e books and then using print on demand for those who want a print copy of their books. For a listing of agents, see www.clmp.org (Council of Lietary Magazines & Presses; directory) Kindle is owned by Amazon, therefore you have their free advertising for your book, whereas Nook has the same situation with Barnes and Nobles (which is up for sale). John likes www.createspace.com for a POD (print on demand) or for ebooks. They are also owned by Amazon, again, free advertising from the #1 book seller.www.scribd.com prints your PDF FREE, but is permanent after you send it. You can send a photo for the cover and set your own price for the book, with a 50/50 split on profits. They also protect your work from being copied on the internet.
3) Sarah Campbell–Earn $$ Before Getting Published. This was the second of Sarah’s workshops, the first being “Photos + Stories=Winning Nonficton.” I wish I could have attended that one, but I was in the poetry workshop. I did have the good fortune of catching a ride with Sarah on her way from Jackson to Columbus, GA! Sarah Campbell is the author of the award winning children’s nonfiction book, “Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator,” and “Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature.” This workshop dealt with ways to make money by speaking engagements, free lancing and teaching in schools, but it was primarily about how to incorporate your own knowledge about writing, and/or the subject matter of your work, into a classroom setting.
Home of Carson McCullers (1917-1967)
After the workshop we had a great social at the great GA writer Carson McCullers’ home. There is a call for papers and a huge 94th birthday celebration being planned for February 17-19, 2011! Deadline for submissions: October 1, 2010.