Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Old Dogs *Can* Learn New Tricks

I went for my second writer's gathering at Rico's last night (see here: http://www.pikespeakwriters.com/html/writers_night.html). As with the first time, it was a pleasant experience. There were a few of the same faces and many new faces, which was great. My end of the table ended up being the rowdy, raunchy end. Well, what do you expect from a bunch of stay-at-homes who finally get out for some socializing, eh??

We talked about query letters with a great example from an author who was published upon his first query, which is rare and definitely encouraging and inspirational! Two important items of note on query letters: 1. Keep it to one page, and 2. Try to establish a connection to the agent you're querying (example: "I've been a long-time follower of your blog" or "We met at the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference"). Obviously, there are other things you need to know, but those are two biggies I figured I'd mention. I hope to be addressing query letters, specifically, later on this month.

One thing I learned from speaking to other writers last night was that I needed business cards. I've had them in the past for various job positions, yet I hadn't considered making myself a card that said "writer" on it. When I asked who had cards for this purpose at the table, quite a few cards came out. Color me surprised! On the theme of old dogs and new tricks, I have now ordered some cards that say "writer and photographer." Though typing this out now I'm thinking I may have messed up and put "author" instead of "writer." Ah, well, too late now! I guess I can sort of learn new tricks? Whoops!

You may be wondering why that even matters to me. I'm not positive it does, but to me a "writer" is anyone who writes, whether for the public or just for themselves. An "author" is someone who is published, established, a professional. I just have my couple little published non-fiction articles and poems, but I guess I can accept that as meaning I'm an author. It just feels presumptuous, which is a fear I have frequently on discussing writing, and something I need to just move past. Get over it, me!

I also wanted to mention the Pikes Peak Library District's Mountain of Authors event. It is this Saturday, April 2nd, from 12:30 to 6pm. It's a free event that requires no registration. I'm excited about the Paranormal Fiction Panel, as that's the category I write in. There will also be a Publishing Panel and authors there signing their books. I spent way too much last year and foresee the same happening this year, but there are some great Colorado authors and I refuse to feel bad about it. Here is the link for more information: http://www.ppld.org/whats-new/jenkins-headlines-mountain-authors

Lastly, I'm participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge for April, for which you can read more or sign up here: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/p/sign-up-for-to-z-challenge.html. I have no idea if I can think of something for each letter of the alphabet, but I'm sure going to try. I'm hoping this will spur my creativity and get me better about posting in here. This is not a challenge for authors only, but for anyone who blogs and would like to participate. If you sign up, leave me a comment and let me know so I can follow your progress, and I hope you will follow mine, as well.

On that subject, I'd be delighted to hear your comments and questions on my posts. If you know anyone who may be at a similar place in their writing career, please encourage them to follow this blog. If there are topics people would like to see, I'm open to those ideas.

Happy Writing!


  1. Hello Shannon. Greetings from a fellow aspiring writer and A to Z blogger. I've been working on a list of topics for a couple of months now and I'm still not convinced I'll stick with it.

    Good luck with everything...

  2. Hello, M.J.! I first heard about this oh, about two days ago, so I'm brainstorming like mad so I don't get caught at the last minute any more than I have to.

    Thank you, and good luck to you, as well!

  3. Your writers group sounds cool, I wonder if they have anything like that around me. Looking forward to reading about your publishing endeavors.

  4. Shannon I really enjoyed this post. I LOL when you talked about the business cards. The past 2 years at a huge writers conference, people have asked me for "my" card. Of course I did not have one but I would try to have one for the next conference. Well, I ordered my business cards last night!! I finally took the plunge and I am so excited. I think it does make you look and feel more like a "professional" writer, even if we aren't published yet.

    Best of luck to you on the challenge!!

  5. Missy, it might be possible to do a search online for your area and find one. Also, look at your local library's website. Our local library does a writing gathering once per month and seems to have a few other resources for writers.

    Sheila, awesome about the cards! I'm excited while also feeling a teeny bit...cheesy(?) about it. But everyone else handed them around with so much confidence that I think I just need to embrace it and walk the walk. Plus, I really liked the cards I chose.

    Good luck to all of you!

  6. Great query tips, Shannon. And I am hearing such great things about the Pike's Peak writing events. Hopefully you had fun and made good contacts.