Archive for June, 2008


Writing and Publishing The Short Stuff
Especially For Moms (But Not Only for Moms)!
Another Class Begins on October 8th
Prerequisites: None
Finally, a writing workshop that fits into the busy lives of moms! You will learn how to create short, easy-to-write articles-a skill that will make it easier to move up to longer, more time-consuming articles when you’re ready. Try your pen at tips, fillers, short interviews, list articles, how-tos, and short personal essays-all within six weeks. Now includes markets!
Cost: $199.00. [This Class Fills Fast.]
Register at Writers on the Rise

Platform Building 102: The Basics for Writers
Next Class Begins on October 8th
Prerequisites: Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff & Targeting Your Best Writing Markets are recommended or Permission from Instructor
Be the first to sign up for the companion class to my forthcoming book, Get Known Before the Book Deal. Picking up where Targeting Your Best Writing Markets left off. This class helps you go position yourself as a seasoned professional, who isn’t afraid to let the world know what you have to offer. This is an advanced class, for people who have taken classes with Christina Katz and who are ready to take their writing career to a more professional level with a blog, Web site and newsletter. By the end of our six weeks, you will have a clear vision of your platform, and a plan for first and future steps. You will be ready to anchor your book proposal to that all-important online and in-person presence, agents and editors are looking for.
Cost: $199.00
[This Class Fills Fast.]
Register at Writers on the Rise

Take All Five of Christina’s Classes!

  • Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff
  • Targeting Your Best Writing Markets
  • Pitching Practice: Write Six Queries in Six Weeks
  • Platform Building Basics for Writers
  • Craft a Saleable Nonfiction Proposal


In the Spotlight: Deborah Schneider, Public Programming Coordinator, King Country Library System

Deborah Schneider

Interview by Lori Russell

After writing and publishing a book, an author’s attention turns to promotion. One key to creating a successful author event is matching a particular book to the right community, says Deborah Schneider, public programming coordinator for the King County Library System in Washington State. With 43 libraries and a circulation of over 19 million items per year, King County is the second busiest library system in the country. It hosts about 100 events annually for local and touring authors. Here, Schneider explains how authors can benefit by including library events in their list of promotional activities and shares her tips for creating a memorable program.

How is a reading at a library or other venue similar to or different from reading and signing books in a bookstore?

There is actually very little difference in my opinion. We work with booksellers and have an author’s book for sale at all of our events. Part of the attraction to an author program is the opportunity to have a book inscribed to you. We have great meeting rooms and can provide audio-visual equipment, such as LCD projectors for presentations.

What is the most engaging author performance you have seen and why?

Charlie Williams, aka The Noiseguy, had a book release party for his children’s book, Flush: An Ode to Toilets in one of our meeting rooms a few years ago. He and his wife decorated the room with toilet plungers, toilet paper, and even toilets with plants. They had refreshments, including a punch “bowl” ice sculpture that was a toilet. He performed two shows, and we had over 100 people. A television reporter for a local show came. They even TP’d a librarian! It was all hilarious fun. He was interviewed on the radio and that segment from Evening Magazine has been shown at least three times. It was great publicity for the book.

What are the most effective promotional strategies for inviting people to an author event?

While having a big name author with lots of holds on their books is a sure-fire way to have a successful event, not every author is on The New York Times best seller list. It takes more energy to promote an unknown author. One of the mistakes authors make is to look around a room and only count “noses” to measure the success of the event. Even the big name authors who travel the country know it’s about the publicity, not the number of books sold. Book tours are created to generate “buzz” – publicity and talk about the book and author.

There are several factors that can benefit an author in creating a successful event. Put the event on your website. Have a great publicity packet with good photos, a JPEG image of your book cover and basic publicity materials like the blurb. You can’t rely upon your publisher to do this. They can give you the cover art, and you need to make it available for promoting your program.

What should authors keep in mind if they want to engage their audience at an event?

Start by not calling it a “reading.” Most people get an image of an author standing and reading to an audience for an hour. How exciting does that sound? Instead you need to find a topic you’d like to talk about (that relates to your book), and create a program around it. If your novel is set in a specific time, you can use that as a topic of interest and draw readers because they love those kinds of books. If you take the time to develop a program, you have more to offer. You can read from your book, but find a way to set the scene and leave the audience craving more from you.

How can authors find out about events at libraries in their region and whom should they contact if they want to participate?

Libraries love having author events, but the publishers don’t often consider sending an author to a library when they are on tour. Many don’t understand that books can be sold at the event, and quite honestly, they don’t know how many millions of dollars libraries spend purchasing books every year. You can easily discover what kinds of author events your local library is offering by visiting its website. You will find our author events listed on the front page at A great resource for those who want to plan successful author events is The Author Event Primer: How to Plan, Execute and Enjoy Author Events by Chapple Langemack.

Deborah Schneider can be contacted at dschneid (at) kcls (dot) org


Lori RusselLori Russell is an award-winning writer who has had the pleasure to work with several great editors in her 17 years as a freelancer. She is a contributing editor to Columbia Gorge Magazine and has been a regular contributor to Ruralite for more than a decade. Her articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines throughout the country and her short fiction and poetry has been published in several journals and anthologies. Lori recently completed her first novel, Light on Windy River.


Great Sites For Writers

By Tiffani Hill-Patterson

Publisher’s Weekly: News and deals galore
If you want to keep up with book industry trends, you should be a regular at Publisher’s Weekly.
The website offers subscribers a virtual edition of its print version, and “with guaranteed delivery by 8 a.m. (EST) Sundays, each issue is fully searchable, printable and archived.”

In addition to the magazine itself, you can also sign up to receive newsletters on religion, children’s books, and comic works, as well as PW Daily, which features all the day’s publishing news.

Searching for a new read? Check out PW’s reviews section, which includes fiction, nonfiction, children’s and religion. Blogs abound, and all you have to do is click the tab on the front page and find the writer who interests you. And, finally, get the latest scoop on who’s getting the big deals in the book-writing world. Let us know when you make the list!
Tiffani Hill-Patterson is an award-winning journalist with 13 years of writing and editing experience. She’s a regular contributor to The Writer Mama zine and Birmingham Parent magazine, and her articles on health, parenting, fitness and pop culture have also appeared in The Huntsville Times, The Moulton Advertiser and The TimesDaily. She lives in Alabama with her husband and daughter. Read more at

Ask Wendy: Your Writing & Publishing Questions Answered

October 2007 Family Fun MagazineBy Wendy Burt

Q: As a full-time freelancer, what essentials do I need to make a living?

Freelance writing has the lowest overhead of any business I know. And with the wonders of technology, it’s even cheaper than when I started 15 years ago. I very rarely spend money on postage, envelopes or paper and even my incoming faxes go right to my email. (I pay $12.95/month for unlimited faxes through I’m saving trees, I can store them on my computer, and there’s no loud fax to wake up my two little kids.)

Obviously, a good computer is your biggest investment. I have two Macs – a desktop and a laptop. They read PC and Mac files and include a new drag-and-drop program that lets users with no experience create websites for themselves.

I highly recommend that you create a website describing your experience and expertise. You can send a link to your site when you apply for gigs (rather than or in addition to sending a whole resume) and you can even post samples of your work, your photo, and links to your articles on the Web.

I also recommend a 3-in-1: printer, copier, fax (for sending). Nowadays, you can get one for less than $100 and it’ll save you trips to Kinko’s.

Spend the money on a comfy chair, as you’ll be sitting in it for many hours a day (and night). Ditto with a good wrist pad.

And finally, I highly recommend investing in high-speed Internet access. You can talk on the phone while you check email or download files, and big files download in seconds rather than minutes.

Wendy Burt is a successful full-time freelance writer and editor who has more than doubled her income since leaving her job as a newspaper editor just four years ago. With two women’s humor books for McGraw-Hill and more than 1,000 published pieces, Wendy’s work has appeared in such varied publications as Family Circle, The Writer,,, Home Cooking Magazine and American Fitness. Wendy teaches “Breaking Into Freelance Writing” and still finds ample time to spend with her beautiful children, Gracie and Ben. Visit to see books by Wendy and her award-winning dad.

Beyond What You Know: Allow Fallow Time

By Sage Cohen

Nature has four distinct cycles. No matter how lofty we might imagine ourselves to be, writers are subject to the laws of nature like every other living thing around us. There is no permission slip that will excuse us from this fate, no matter whose signature we forge!

Yet, despite a lifetime of witnessing the world around us bud, blossom, drop petals, push out lush fruit, ripen, burn glorious autumn flames of color, lose everything, slumber, then start over, we seem to expect more of ourselves. Many of us strive for a nonstop cycle of bud, blossom, fruit, harvest, repeat. (This is not surprising, since this is how the clockwork of our culture turns: to produce, produce and produce some more.) But the fact is that flora and fauna don’t work that way, and neither do we.

It’s simply not natural or sustainable to be continuously producing. Farmers rotate their planting so that the land can replenish after a harvest. Writers who want to make the most of their natural resources will make similar choices. One of the great blessings of the writing life is that we are not beholden to supervisors or stockholders. This means that we get to decide how, when and where we write. You can clock in and clock out if that’s what works for you. But I recommend finding a way to align your process with the natural world and learn from the seasons how to trust the cycles of your writing.

Once upon a time before most of us knew of her, Alice Walker was given a grant to write. She proceeded to move out the country where she spent a year knitting. As she knit, the characters in The Color Purple made themselves known, and the force of the story’s narrative gathered like rain clouds. I’m guessing that by the time Walker sat down with pen to paper, a veritable storm of a narrative shook the entire landscape as it poured forth from her. When it came time for harvest, we readers had the good fortune to pluck The Color Purple ripe from the virtual vine.

I remember the first time I heard this story about Alice Walker’s writing process. I wondered if she worried, as I have, that when she was “doing nothing” that nothing was happening. I wondered if the people around her (if there were any) were anxious that there was no sign of a book being written during that year. But clearly, this is an author who understood far more than I did about embracing and moving with the cycles of nature.
I’m not proposing that you match what the seasons are doing exactly by writing furiously all spring and summer, then spending the winter canning and preserving all of your good ideas. But I am suggesting that you have a four-part rhythm that’s worth exploring so you can better understand when your high productivity times are, when it’s time to add fuel, and when it’s time to rest.


Sage Cohen is the author of Writing the Life Poetic, forthcoming from Writer’s Digest Books, and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World. Her poetry and essays appear in journals and anthologies including Cup of Comfort for Writers, Oregon Literary Review, Greater Good and VoiceCatcher. In 2006, she won first prize in the Ghost Road Press annual poetry contest. Sage holds an MA in creative writing from New York University where she was awarded a New York Times Foundation fellowship. Sage teaches Poetry for the People and Personal Essays That Get Published.


Next Round of Classes Starts August 20th


Christina KatzWriting and Publishing The Short Stuff
Especially For Moms (But Not Only for Moms)!
Next Class Begins on August 20th
Prerequisites: None
Finally, a writing workshop that fits into the busy lives of moms! You will learn how to create short, easy-to-write articles-a skill that will make it easier to move up to longer, more time-consuming articles when you’re ready. Try your pen at tips, fillers, short interviews, list articles, how-tos, and short personal essays-all within six weeks. Now includes markets!
Cost: $199.00. [This Class Fills Fast.]
Register at Writers on the Rise

Abigail GreenPersonal Essays that Get Published with Abigail Green
Next Class Begins on August 20th
Prerequisites: None
The popularity of reality shows, blogs, and tell-all books proves that it pays to get personal these days. Whether you want to write introspective essays, short humor pieces, or first-person reported stories, your life is a goldmine of rich material that all kinds of publications are pining for. Personal Essays that Get Published will teach you how to get your personal experiences down on the page and get them published. Students will learn how to find ideas, hone their voice, craft solid leads and endings, reslant their work for different markets, and submit their essays for publication.

Cost: $199.00

Register at Writers on the Rise

Christina KatzPlatform Building 101: Discover your Specialty
(Formerly “Targeting Your Best Writing Markets”)
Next Class Begins on August 20th

Prerequisites: Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff is recommended or Permission from Instructor

Identifying your writing specialty is one of the trickiest and most necessary steps in launching a writing career today. This class will help you find your best audiences, cultivate your expertise, manage your ideas, develop marketing skills, claim your path, serve editors and become portfolio-minded. You’ll learn how to become the professional you’ve always wanted to be and, most importantly, how to take your writing career more seriously. This class is discounted so that anyone who wants to take Platform Development 102 in October will take advantage of this important preparation stage.
Cost: $175.00. [Last time at this price. And last time in 2008.]
Register at Writers on the Rise

Dear Fellow Writers (June 2008),

It’s June. Hooray! We’ve almost reached the half-way point of the year.

This month is the perfect time to assess how you are progressing on your annual goals, rechart your course to achieve those ever-elusive goals and celebrate what you have already accomplished.

As for me, let’s just say it’s been an extremely busy year so far. I’ve been pouring heart and guts into my second book, Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform (October 2008 Writer’s Digest Books).

Writing is hard work, for me, but publicizing and promoting my books feels more expansive and gives me a chance to share the value I’ve worked so hard to create with others. So I know what I’m going to be doing this summer. An online presence revamp, including a much overdue website makeover for

Sharing my hard work with others gives me a chance to celebrate. And when you share your work with others I hope you will celebrate too. What are we celebrating? Our hard work, our commitment to our topic, our service to our readers, and the synergy that occurs when the writing finally ends up in the reader’s hands (or on the reader’s screen, as the case may be).

Since I haven’t had a lot of time this year to sit around and pat myself on the back, I plan to set aside some time this month to do just that. It’s a job every writer really needs to do for herself. I can’t wait to re-connect with writer friends, to catch up on all that we are celebrating so far this year and to spend some quality down time with my family.

What are you celebrating? I hope it’s something satisfying.

One of our contributors is celebrating a major milestone. Columnist and editor, Kristin Bair O’Keeffe is cheerfully expecting with her husband Andrew over in Shanghai, China. You can follow their adoption journey over at Kristin’s blog, Shanghai Adventures of a Trailing Spouse.
Congratulations to the O’Keeffe family!

In further WOTR news, former columnist Abigail Green (who is now a columnist over at The Writer Mama e-zine has stepped up to teach Personal Essays That Get Published. Of course, we have many excellent essayists who write for WOTR. I asked Abby to teach this class because she had a real knack for helping students as a former TA for my Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff class. Abby is a skillful and widely published essayist and I know that anyone who takes her class is going to be so glad they did. (More info below or stop by Abby’s blog Diary of a New Mom.)

In the writing-for-publication spirit,

Christina Katz

Editor and Publisher

Writers on the Rise

P.S. If you have a special writer mama in your life, feel free to swing by my blog for some great gift ideas for moms who love to write. And I hope you’ll consider my first book, Writer Mama, too.


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