Welcome to The Club!

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The Berkeley Branch is the founding branch of the oldest professional writers’ club West of the Missisippi.

NEW LOCATION: PRESERVATION PARK!

CWC Berkeley Branch welcomes all California Writers Club members and guests to our monthly speaker program and affordable workshops on the art and business of writing.

Join us for our next meeting featuring

Joel Friedlander

“Author Platform, Branding, and Monetization”

November 19th, 2017

Click here to commit to your writing career.

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Interview with Joel Friedlander on Indie Publishing

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Berkeley CWC volunteer Cristina Deptula caught up with the speaker of this Sunday’s meeting for some questions about independent publishing. If you don’t know Joel, he is an award-winning book designer, blogger, and writer. He speaks regularly at industry events and is the author of A Self-Publisher’s Companion and coauthor of The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide. Joel is a columnist for Publishers Weekly, and was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 10 people to follow in book publishing. He runs a number of helpful websites such as TheBookMakers.com, offering full service book production for authors and publishers.

Come out to our Sunday meeting to ask Joel your own questions about indie book publishing.

Joel-2014-headshot 300xHow does an author decide when to self publish and when to seek an agent and a traditional publisher? What sorts of books do you think are best served by each form of publication?

​Several elements go into this decision. Traditional publishers will be looking for books that will be sufficiently profitable to justify the expense of publishing them. Some authors may not want to wait the 1 to 3 years this process takes, and others want more control of their publications than is afforded in typical publishing contracts. Authors who have ready access to an audience for their books, or who are innately entrepreneurial, are likely to have the best results from self-publishing.

What are some big mistakes to avoid when self-publishing that make your book look unprofessional?

​The worst mistake is to publish a book with an “amateur” cover. It will mark your book as an amateur production before anyone even has a chance to open the book.​ Similarly, publishing a book that hasn’t been edited by a professional book editor isn’t a good practice.

What are some tips to make your self-published book stand out?

​Again, do yourself a favor and hire a professional cover designer and editor. Beyond that, look at the market you are entering. What does your book contribute that is not available? Does it do something better than any other books in the market? Or do it better, more extensively, or in greater depth? Why do people need this book?​

How can authors get self-published books noticed by media and bookstores? Are there hacks to the process or is it still a matter of calling and emailing place after place and dropping off copies?

​There’s no shortcut to marketing a book. Self-publishers can run review campaigns to print, electronic, and online media just like any other publisher. They can advertise on social media sites, build community through blogging or sharing their stories. There are no “magic bullets.” Most self-publishers will not have the assets to attempt a national marketing campaign with offset-printed books, a marketing budget, and a national distributor, all of which are necessary to go beyond consigning books to your local bookstores.​

What’s worth spending good money on as an author and where can a self-publishing author save cash?

​Use free reviews before you pay for any. You can find cover designers who charge very reasonable fees. Editing and cover design are the places to spend your cash. Use a template for your book interior, it will save you a lot of time and money with designers and formatters.​ Partner with other authors who publish books that appeal to the same audience and run promotions where you split the cost. Develop a blog and grow an email list, nothing you can do will pay off as well.

Whether or not you have questions for Joel, we hope to see you this Sunday at our monthly meeting at Preservation Park. Remember, though Joel speaks at 3:15, the meeting starts at noon with support groups to help you resolve issues in your writing or your book marketing…or just network with other writers over tasty snacks and coffee. Doesn’t your writing career deserve a little time this week?

november-Joel Friedlander-Author-Platform-Branding-Monetization

 

Nov 19th: Author Platform, Branding, and Monetization with Joel Friedlander

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november-Joel Friedlander-Author-Platform-Branding-MonetizationAre you confused by all the talk about “building your platform,” about “author branding,” or how authors today make money from their work? At our November meeting, Joel Friedlander will walk us through how to establish a following and build a career for your work. You’ll learn how to:

  • use your expertise to build a valuable online asset,
  • turn your content into an amazing variety of multimedia products using the latest technology, and
  • reach the readers just waiting to hear your message.

About Our Featured Speaker, Joel Friedlander

Joel-2014-headshot 300xJoel Friedlander is an award-winning book designer, blogger, and writer. He speaks regularly at industry events and is the author of A Self-Publisher’s Companion and coauthor of The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide. The blogger behind TheBookDesigner.com, Joel is a columnist for Publishers Weekly, and was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the 10 people to follow in book publishing. Joel also operates BookDesignTemplates.com, where he provides predesigned interior book templates for Word and InDesign; AuthorToolkits.com, where authors find digital products to help in their marketing and business activities; BookPlanner.com, the only project planning tool specifically designed for indie authors; and TheBookMakers.com, offering full service book production for authors and publishers.

But That’s Not All!

Get Marketing Support, Get Your Craft Questions Answered, and Network with Other Writers…and Check Out Our New Location in the Heart of Oakland

Our featured member this month is Henry Hitz. His latest book combines politics, racial justice and S&M. Rawr! I can’t wait to hear an excerpt. Be sure to arrive early to participate in the Craft and Marketing groups. These are interactive conversations where you can talk to other writers to resolve the issues in your writing and your writers career. Make the commitment to be join us every third Sunday; your writing career is important and you deserve this.

preservation-park-480pxMEETING SCHEDULE

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
1:00–2:00 – Marketing Group

Simultaneously

12:30–2:00 – Social Hour
2:00–2:30 – Break, Book Sale
2:30–3:00 – Announcements

Featured Speakers

3:00–3:15 – CWC Featured member Henry Hitz gives a short reading
3:15–4:30 – Featured Speaker Joel Friedlander

Meetings are $5 for members, $10 for non-members.

We are meeting at Preservation Park

Our next meeting will be right off 980 in downtown Oakland, at beautiful Preservation Park. Just off 12th Street, naturally you can get there from the 12th St. BART station. Those with limited ability can use the parking lot off of MLK Way; otherwise there should be plenty of FREE parking within the park and on surrounding streets.

 

California Writers Week 10/15-10/21

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WHEREAS, The California Writers Club was founded in 1909, with Jack London, Ina Coolbrith, George Sterling and others as members; and

Screen Shot 2017-10-15 at 10.18.51 AM

WHEREAS, California’s literary tradition dates back to the works of Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Mary Austin, Nobel prize and Pulitzer prize winner John Steinbeck, Delilah L. Beasley, Joaquin Miller, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Barrio, Gertrude Atherton, Raymond Chandler, Pulitzer prize winner William Saroyan and a great many others, and

WHEREAS, The California Writers Club honors all California writers, past and present, and continues to nurture the talents of new writers as well as established authors, and to provide a forum for the sharing of their writing experience, and

WHEREAS, The California Writers Club’s mission is to teach, mentor and encourage all writers for the good of our society; and

WHEREAS, California libraries are the forum where the writing of Californians is preserved and provided to the public, and

WHEREAS, the California Writers Club encourages all California libraries to showcase the works of California writers through displays, author programs and reading clubs; and

WHEREAS, The California Writers Club urges all educational institutions to place more emphasis on developing the writing and reading skills of everyone; and

WHEREAS, The California Writers Club is observing the third week in October as California Writers Week; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED BY ASSEMBLY MEMBERS TIM LESLIE, JOSEPH CANCIAMILLA, GUY S. HOUSTON, BILL MAZE, GENE MULLIN, JOE NATION, AND PATRICIA WIGGINS AND PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE JOH

N L. BURTON AND SENATORS NELL SOTO AND JACKIE SPEIER, That they recognize the third week in October as California Writers Week, and encourage the people of the State of California to reflect upon the contributions that California writers have made to humankind.

Members Resolution No. 2170.     Dated this 4th day of September, 2003.

See more information and signatures

 

An Interview with Sunday’s Speaker: Laurie Ann Doyle, Dialogue and You

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We caught up with Laurie Ann Doyle before she speaks for the club this Sunday. At our monthly meeting, she’ll be talking all about writing better dialogue. Doyle knows her stuff: she’s been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and won the Alligator Juniper National Fiction Award. Her work has been published in The Los Angeles Review, Timber, Jabberwock Review, Road Story, Arroyo Literary Review, Under the Sun Magazine, and many other journals. She teaches creative writing at the San Francisco Writers Grotto and UC Berkeley Extension, where she received the Honored Instructor award. Learn more at her site, LaurieAnnDoyle.com.

We hope you will bring all pressing craft questions to this Sunday’s meeting. Until then, our social media chair Cristina Deptula asked her some questions.


Cristina Deptula: I see your new book, World Gone Missing, is a collection of stories about people who go missing, or disappear from our lives, in one way or another. How did you select that theme?

The truth is I didn’t select that theme as much as it picked me. Before I had even a thought of a book in my brain, my brother-in-law went missing. Decades later, sadly he still hasn’t reappeared. Though the opening story in World Gone Missing—“Bigger Than Life”—has a similar through-line, I completely fictionalized the characters and specific plot points. What remains true to life is the feeling you get when a loved one seems to vanish into thin air. The best way I can describe it is a sinking, helpless sensation. As the years wore on, I began to see my brother-in-law in new ways. I appreciated his subtle kindnesses and sharp wit, along with his sometimes brash and irrational nature. Thought I’m not sure this would have changed anything, I wish I could have been more compassionate.

As I finished the “Bigger Than Life” story and embarked on others, I realized that losing a loved one can trigger many conflicted feelings, and conflict is at the heart of fiction. Sometimes a person’s absence can free up a character to do things they’d never done before, wonderful things. Sometimes they find it almost impossible to move on. This realization got me going and in this book I’ve explored both the loss and liberation that absence can bring. But I had to get a chunk of stories written before that unifying theme floated up.

What makes dialogue good? So many people stumble over their words and not everyone speaks in an interesting way.

I love writing dialogue, and there’s a lot of what I hope is interesting dialogue in World Gone Missing. The tricky thing is that dialogue in fiction and memoir should sound like authentic speech, even though it’s not. Strong dialogue is distilled, rather than transcribed, speech. If you tape record people talking, you’ll hear lots of “filler” words: um, uh, yeah, etc. On the page, this needs to be edited out.

At my October 15 Dialogue Workshop, we’ll talk about the importance of giving the reader only the most dramatic elements of what was said. Usually less is more. Consider keeping your sentences or phrases short. The Russian author Anton Chekhov advised, “A line of dialogue should always leave the sense that more could have been said.” Depending on your character, you don’t have to necessarily be grammatically correct or eloquent. Quirky is great! If within character, use of profanity is also fine.

Consider the difference between “It’s a pleasure to meet you”—vs.—“Hey man, what’s up?” Or “I feel unwell”—vs.—I feel like crap.” Good dialogue accomplishes many things at once; it reveals the character and their relationships, creates tension, advances plot, and modulates the story’s pace.
On fascinating aspect of dialogue is that people often don’t mean what they say, or avoid the “real” subject. Strong dialogue also creates subtext, or the unspoken meaning underneath the words on the pages. Consider what your characters are not saying, where they are not finishing their sentences or falling completely silent. What is the implicit tension, as well as the explicit tension?

If you’re coming to this Sunday’s meeting to meet Laurie Ann Doyle, don’t forget we’re at a new location: Preservation Park.

Your workshop covers dialogue in both fiction and memoir. How do you think the ability to craft good dialogue could benefit the nonfiction author?

Dialogue is every bit as important in memoir as it is in fiction, because it’s vital in creating compelling drama and powerful scenes. In a nonfiction piece, you don’t have to accurately reflect every word that was said. It’s fine to reconstruct the conversation and give us the gist, including the most dramatic elements, as I discuss above. The key is to stay true to the people you are portraying and how they expressed themselves.

If you need more information, consider talking with a relative or friend, or reading old letters. If appropriate, you could even eavesdrop. Base your dialogue on the knowledge of the people you’re portraying. If they swore, include swear words. If they were excessively polite, craft your dialogue to show that. Again, work to stay true to the experience of them and yourself.

On October 15, we’ll go into greater depth on all this, and you’ll have a chance to try out some new dialogue techniques in a free-write exercise yourself.

Join us this Sunday at Preservation Park to meet Laurie Ann Doyle and learn all her tricks for writing terrific dialog.

 

 

 

 

 

See you Sunday at Preservation Park!

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Laurie.porch.color.croppedAward-winning author and creative writing teacher Laurie Ann Doyle will be speaking about the nuances of writing dialogue at our October meeting.

Our meeting will end a little earlier this month, as we have to be out by 4 sharp, but until then it will be a hive of mental activity and conversation about the mysterious work of writing.

Come for the whole meeting or part of it! Cover charge for the whole afternoon is $5 for members, $10 for non-members.

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
1:00–2:00 – Marketing Group
2:00–2:15 – Break, Book Sale
2:15–2:45 – Business & Announcements
2:45–3:00 – CWC Featured member Karma Bennett reads & introduces…
3:00–3:45 – Featured Speaker Laurie Ann Doyle, Said and Unsaid: Dialogue in Fiction and Memoir.

MEMBERS:
Please Sign up to bring a snack or volunteer – this month, or any month!
Don’t forget to bring a headshot and a book cover. We will decorate the space with US! Always bring books to sell or trade!
Have you renewed your membership? Do it today at this link or bring a check on Sunday.

GUESTS:
Would you like to join the club? We welcome writers of every genre, both published and aspiring, plus industry professionals such as agents, publicists, and editors. Come to the meeting and introduce yourself! You can join at the meeting or online beforehand…just bring your receipt to get the member price.

EVERYONE:
Say you are coming on Meetup!
Get club announcements by clicking the “follow by email” link on the right side of the web page, www.cwc-berkeley.org.

The meeting is at 1204 Preservation Parkway in Downtown Oakland, just a few blocks from BART. We will be meeting downstairs in the Robinson Classrooms. See our website for more details.

Whatever your genre or your project, it’s great to have a community of colleagues. We look forward to seeing you Sunday.

Sail On!

Kristen Caven
www.kristencaven.com

President 2017-2018
berkeley.cwc

CWC-Berkeley.org

 

10/15 SPEAKER— “Said and Unsaid: Dialogue in Fiction and Memoir” with Laurie Ann Doyle

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Preservation Park

Our new locatation: Preservation Park

Is dialogue meant to reveal or conceal?

Strong dialogue in fiction and memoir actually accomplishes both, revealing the characters by what is said and not said. October’s featured speaker Laurie Ann Doyle will share excerpts from masters of dialogue, examining how artfully crafted speech, gesture, and silence helps the writer not only develop character, but generate tension, subtext, and move the plot forward. Participants will learn how to take full advantage of their characters’ expressive tics, favorite phrases, and utter withdrawal to build an immersive world for the reader. They’ll have the chance to free-write some of their own dialogue, trying on different personas, and share what they’ve created in a supportive atmosphere.

Laurie.porch.color.cropped

About Laurie Ann Doyle

Laurie Ann Doyle is the author of World Gone Missing, a book of short stories to be released by Regal House Publishing in October, 2017.

The winner of the Alligator Juniper National Fiction Award, her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in The Los Angeles Review, Timber, Jabberwock Review, Road Story, Arroyo Literary Review, Under the Sun Magazine, and many other journals. She teaches creative writing at the San Francisco Writers Grotto and UC Berkeley Extension, where she received the Honored Instructor award. Learn more at her site, LaurieAnnDoyle.com.

But That’s Not All!

Get Marketing Support, Get Your Craft Questions Answered, and Network with Other Writers…and Check Out Our New Location in the Heart of Oakland

We are meeting at Preservation Park

Our next meeting will be right off 980 in downtown Oakland, at beautiful Preservation Park. Just off 12th Street, naturally you can get there from the 12th St. BART station. Those with limited ability can use the parking lot off of MLK Way; otherwise there should be plenty of FREE parking within the park and on surrounding streets.

Laurie speaks at 3:15, but remember our meetings start at 12, and include interactive groups to help you with your writing and your book sales. In our craft group, we discuss how to tackle challenges in our writing. In the marketing group we help you spread the word about your books and build your platform. We also provide tasty snacks and plenty of opportunities to network with other writers.

MEETING SCHEDULE

12:00–1:00 – Craft Support Group
1:00–2:00 – Marketing Group
2:00–2:30 – Break, Book Sale
2:30–3:00 – Announcements

Featured Speakers

3:00–3:15 – CWC Featured member
3:15–4:00 – Featured Speaker Laurie Ann Doyle

Meetings are $5 for members, $10 for non-members.

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