Posts Tagged ‘writers swap meet’

Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009

I just got home from being with 26 writers who showed up to help each other, and, I am still smiling.

Thank you, Marlene, for having created the Writers Forum of Petaluma. What a caring community you have attracted!

Tonight, Mickie, Carol, Jeanne, Malena, Nancy, Claudia, Eva, Elaine, Catherine, Susan, Christina, Connie, John, Janice, Meta, Armando, Linda, Brenda, Nancy, Mona, Dave, Sharon, Karen, Pat, Elizabeth and Marlene all helped me facilitate “Swap Meet/Circle of Sharing.”

These generous writers brought items from the list I had presented to Marlene months ago. Items included: Submission guidelines from agents and publishers; publications that accept unsolicited submissions; info on writers’ conferences, classes, workshops, writing contests; calendar of community events.

What was the purpose of the swap meet? To demonstrate that there are opportunities for all of us to sharpen our writing and marketing skills (conferences, workshops), compete for awards (contests), identify publications or agents, acquisition editors and publishers most suitable for the type of writing we wish to sell; be in the greater community to build relationships and write about the experiences.

Be the Matchmaker for Your Writing:

How to find the “right” agent or publisher (for books) or the “right” publication (for articles, essays, short stories, poetry): Examples: If you write novels for teens, pitch your work to agents or publishers who specialize in selling that genre. If you write personal essays, submit your work to publications that typically publish personal essays. Sending your work to places that don’t have the readership/audience for your type of writing is “rejection waiting to happen.” In other words: “Give them what they want.”

Honoring Instructions:

Whether you’re looking at submission guidelines or writing-contest rules, create a checklist so that you don’t miss any steps. In any competition, the contestants who follow instructions make the first cut. Again… “Give them what they want.”

Be True to Yourself:

What if you don’t want a website or a blog, not even an email address? That’s okay. You don’t want them because you don’t need them right now. Don’t force yourself. When the need arises, then, reconsider. Focus on what needs to be done, right now. If what needs to be done is your writing a letter to a friend who suffered a loss, then, that piece of writing would be the greatest gift you can give to your friend and yourself. If a mentor/colleague/friend says: “Everyone is doing [it] and if you want to succeed you’d better do [it] too!” . . . but your intuition says: “I’m not comfortable with the idea” . . . please trust your inner voice. My motto: I do what brings me joy and light; stress I don’t want.

Reaching Out (not stressing out):

Because we are writers, we can do outreach without leaving our homes.

We can write:

* “Letters to the Editor.”
* Book reviews on or bookstores’ websites or publishers’ websites or authors’ websites.
* Thank you notes to people who have inspired us.
* Tips on how to have fun and excel (in our hobbies).
* About our experiences after attending an event or receiving service (this could be as simple as posting a rating and review on
* on our blogs and post comments on other people’s blogs.
* an article for our club’s newsletter. Offer to write a recap of a meeting (focus on what you gained).

Why do I write?

· To connect with the reader on an emotional level.

· To speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.

· To honor the people in the stories.

Why do YOU write?

“Goodnight and sweet dreams” to the awesome members of the Writers Forum of Petaluma who made “circle of sharing” a huge success. I encourage you to do a little outreach with the members who were not able to show up tonight. Ask each other these questions: “How are you doing with your project? What do you need to get to the next step?”


Teresa LeYung Ryan

Visit: for more information on the Writers Forum of Petaluma.

Teresa LeYung Ryan’s Tips for Success

In the fiercely competitive arena of the publishing world, how does one stand out in a crowd? Building relationships is one key to success in this business. Another key is to know how to translate the themes from your life to your writing and articulate those themes as community concerns. I want to see all hardworking writers realize their dreams.

  • Make every word count—especially in your query letter and synopsis.
  • Research when looking for an agent or acquisition editor/publisher. Who are their clients? How well are they connected in the industry?
  • Learn about the industry yourself. Join organizations; talk to people in the business; find mentors; find joyful ways to network and gain resources.
  • Say “Thank you” whenever anyone helps you. Being courteous goes a long way.
  • Surround yourself with people who are supportive of your dreams and encourage others to do the same.
  • Keep voicemails and E-mails succinct. Use bullet-points when asking questions.
  • Follow-through will save you from “I assumed…” headaches.
  • Remember that perseverance + talent + business savvy = dreams come true.

Subscribe to my blog

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner