Welcome to the Club!

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

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.

April 19th, 2020

Our next meeting will take place on ZOOM.
Register today!

Think Like an Editor:
7 Self-Editing and Revision Tips
with Tanya Egan Gibson

It’s our half-year/half-price membership special!
Click here to commit to your writing career.


Upcoming speakers Spring 2020: Jan Steckel on activism, Tanya Egan on editing, Andy Ross on finding an agent, & a panel discussion featuring local Small Press publishers.



April 19th SPEAKER—”Think Like an Editor” with Tanya Egan Gibson

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Small Press Editors flyer

Learn Self-Editing and Revision Tips at our First Meeting via Zoom

As work-intensive as it can be to put our ideas into words, doing so is only the beginning of the writing process. Revision (“re-seeing”) is what allows us to mold our raw material into art. But where to start? And how do you know when you’re (ever) finished? Tanya Egan Gibson will share with you the process of how a freelance editor assesses a manuscript, marks it up, and comes up with a plan for revision, distilling the process into 7 tips to help you bring an editor’s eye and experience to your own work.

About our Guest Tanya Egan Gibson

Tanya Egan Gibson
Our April Speaker Tanya Egan Gibson

Tanya Egan Gibson is a freelance editor, writing coach, and the author of the novel How to Buy a Love of Reading.

Her short fiction for adults and young adults has been published in Carve and Cicada and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has written for magazines such as The Writer, Parents, and Writer’s Digest, including an article, “10 Things Your Editor Might Not Tell You—But Should,” which has been reprinted over the years in several special issues. She has been in California Writers Club for nearly twenty years and was a founding member of the Marin Branch. Learn more at TanyaEganGibson.com.

Join in via Zoom

Quarantine Meeting Schedule…Take the Poll!

Tanya’s novel

Being stuck in our homes is a great time to get some writing done. It’s productive and therapeutic. Our club is here to help our members keep focused on meeting our writing goals. So we will continue our speaker program this spring, getting together, as usual, on the third Sunday of the month but not in person.

We are still sorting out how best to manage our Sunday schedule in terms of these new changes. Would you be interested in a long day on Zoom? We’d love to get your thoughts in the poll when you RSVP to our Facebook event.

Speaking of getting your thoughts, this is the meeting where we announce our candidates for next year’s board. Bobbie Kinkead is still taking nominations, and will also call for nominations from the floor.

Get Your Ticket

We will be processing our meeting fees on TicketSource prior to the online meeting. After you get your ticket, we’ll email you the link to the Zoom meeting, which you can access day-of via phone or computer. The “room will open” at the usual 12:30 for introductions and a short tutorial on how to use Zoom.

As usual, tickets for CWC members are $5 and guests are $10. However, we are also offering a sliding scale option for writers who have been facing hardship due to the Covid-19 crisis. Additionally, those who have already purchased a full-year of events, funding our Jack and Jenny fund, can choose the (free) pre-paid option.

Get your ticket now.

Our featured reader is Lynn Fraley.

3/15 – Our first Virtual Meeting!

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As the world shifts into a new gear… please join us ONLINE for our meeting tomorrow, not in person!

You’ve seen the interviews with Jennifer Joseph of Manic D. Press, Daniel Zarazura of Pochino Press, and J.K. Fowler of Nomadic Press. Bear with us tomorrow as we attempt to bring them all together on the small screen!

At 1pm, please open the Facebook Event and look for the Livecast event. https://www.facebook.com/events/500708377382765/permalink/644271793026422/ Feel free to post questions in the comments.

After the panel wraps up around 2:30, we will take a short break and then come back again for the “Journalology” presentation by Terry at 3pm. Watch for a link to his powerpoint presentation.

Payment online will be on the honor system. (—Germs like paper money!) 
• Here’s the payment link for members: http://paypal.me/cwcbb/5 and
• Here’s the one for guests: http://paypal.me/cwcbb/10

A HUGE shout-out to our hard-working board members who have not only pulling together this year’s panel but worked flexibly through the panic!

Like never before,
Sail On!

Kristen Caven

President 2017-2020


Interview with Jennifer Joseph of Manic D Press

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Jennifer Joseph of Manic D Press
Jennifer Joseph of Manic D Press

Manic D Press was founded by Jennifer Joseph in 1984. An award-winning literary press based in San Francisco, California publishing fiction, poetry, pop culture, music, art, narrative-oriented comix, children’s,and alternative travel books, Manic D represents a diverse group of unique writers and artists, with emphasis on those who have been shunned by the traditional publishing establishment for lacking commercial viability, regardless of their talent or future promise. Their mission has expanded to offer refuge to established writers escaping from the commercial publishing parallel universe.

How can interested readers find books published by local or special-interest small presses? 

Go to local independent bookstores! Attend local bookfairs! Visit the websites & social media of local presses and find out where their authors are presenting their works!

How do small presses publicize the titles they publish, and how would people find out about those books? 

Social media is always a great source of publicizing books and events. Popular blogs, lit journals, mainstream magazines and newspapers, as well as direct emails and bookfairs and festivals and academic conferences.
How can society and the public best support the unique role that small presses play in getting unique or special-interest books into the world? 
Buy our books and tell others about them through social media and in-person conversation. Suggest small press books to your book club, too.

Awards Granted
to Manic D Press

  • 2000 American Library Association Stonewall Award for Literature
  • 1997 Firecracker Alternative Book Award for Art
  • 2002 and 2000 Firecracker Alternative Book Awards for Fiction
  • 1998 American Institute of Graphic Arts juried traveling exhibition 50 Books, 50 Covers
  • Sept/Oct 2003 + March/April 2004 Booksense 76 lists
  • SF Bay Guardian‘s 2004 Best of the Bay: ‘Best Quintessentially San Franciscan Publisher’
  • Publishing Triangle’s 2007 Thom Gunn Award for Poetry + 2008 Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction
  • SF Weekly’s “Best of San Francisco 2008”
  • 2009 and 2010 Lambda Literary Transgender Awards
  • 2014 Kathy Acker Award.

What do you see as the future of small press publishing, or publishing in general, in the age of technology, Amazon and self-publishing? 

It’s gotten harder to get readers to focus because the news cycle moves so quickly. There are fewer major media sources and more books being published. The distribution system is almost broken, thanks to Amazon. Anyone can print a book but getting it into stores and finding a readership for it has always been a challenge. Technology-wise, the availability of books in various formats (print, ebooks, and audio) is a good thing because it expands the potential audience for a writer’s work. Also, as printing technology has advanced, it’s possible to have cost-effective short print runs, which is also a good thing. On the downside, it’s easier than ever for books to be pirated and put up on the internet for free download, which sucks. 

Ask Jennifer Joseph your own Questions this Sunday at our Small Press Editors Panel

Out of respect for the coming health crisis we are experimenting with live streaming this for our members. Check the Facebook event page for updates on how to access the live stream. If you attend in person we will all work together to take care to stay hygienic, but we hope you will pop into the live stream if you would prefer to stay at home.

March small press editors event

“Lit in the Time of Corona”



Hello writers!

Many are asking if our meeting is canceled. The answer is NO, but we hope it will be a small group. We all need to work together to create “community immunity” against this virus, but we also recognize the importance of being together as we can, and doing our work. Books are everyone’s best friend in “self-isolation,” and great writing happens in isolation as well. To this end, we are still having all THREE of our events this busy weekend, with a few cautions and changes.

On Saturday, 3/14, our Wolf Pack WAG Write-In at The Local in Alameda with To Live and Write in Alameda and 100K Trees for Humanity will be “body optional.” Join us at the café, or stay where you are to write. Check in on our FaceBook event when you “arrive” (open your laptop at 2pm) and click the posted link for an information & inspiration document. You can work on whatever you like with us, with a focus on solving the climate crisis.

On Sunday, 3/15, our Panel on Small Press Editors will be recorded for YouTube and live-streamed on our Facebook Page. Our Marketing Success Group will meet online in our CWC Marketing Support Group. And we’ll change the time of our afternoon craft workshop, Journalology with Terry Tierney, to 3-5pm (instead of 4-6.)

At the meeting (which we expect to be well under 20 people), we’ll all keep space between ourselves, keep our hands clean, and try to only touch our own stuff. If you have any concerns or are feeling at all unwell, please stay home and take care of yourself! 

Now more than ever…
Sail On!

Kristen Caven

President 2017-2020


An Interview with Pochino Press Editor Daniel Zarazua

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Daniel Zarazua
Daniel Zarazua of Pochino Press
will be joining our Small Press Panel

Daniel Zarazua is co-founder of Pochino Press, alongside his sister Monica and wife Xiomara. “We all play an equal role, with Monica handling the editing duties, Xiomara the graphic design, and myself taking the lead on planning events,” he says. Pochino Press have made their mark as a platform for underrepresented voices from places as diverse as Addis Ababa, Taipei, and their home-base of Oakland. Their publications tend to explore the hybridity of cultures and ideas that have come together to explore new ideas, perspectives, and ways of being. “We also draw upon our experiences as K-12 educators, community organizers, and other life experiences to inform our work and connect with others beyond the literary world,” Zarazua said, “Central to our work is creating and contributing to a broader community, not just a literary one.”

Publicist Cristina Deptula interviewed Daniel Zarazua, ask him your own questions when he appears on our Small Press Editors Panel March 15th.

Questions for Pochino Press Editor Daniel Zarazua

How can interested readers find books published by local or special-interest small presses? 

Go to where those who share your interests will be, virtually and literally! I don’t just mean literary events. Many of our best recommendations come from word of mouth, both online and in face-to-face interactions. For Pochino Press, we’re deeply enmeshed in our greater community, supporting local businesses, live music, and festivals as community members, not just publishers, so many of our connections happen outside of literary-specific events.

How can society and the public best support the unique role that small presses play in getting unique or special-interest books into the world? 

Recognizing the value of small presses that may be giving a voice to unique and needed perspectives is a good place to start. We’re often more nimble and willing to take chances on works that we’re passionate about as our decisions aren’t driven by shareholders. Part of recognizing this value is a willingness to pay a little more than you would at a discount outlet. The money might actually have a larger impact! Speaking from a Bay Area perspective, we live here so the money goes directly to the community through us renting spaces, paying local authors, performers, artists, and caterers. Plus, all of our publications have been published with local printers. Aside from purchases, telling others about our publications, leaving online reviews, checking out and requesting our books at your local library, inviting our authors for interviews, and teaching our works in your class are just a few things that come to mind. Everyone has something to contribute and as a press we always seek ways to be collaborative.

How do small presses publicize the titles they publish, and how would people find out about those books? 

In full transparency, this is an area that we at Pochino Press could experience some growth! We’re proud of our publications and related events, but we could be doing more to further our reach. We have an idea of what to do, such as booking more speaking engagements, hosting workshops, and doing more interviews, but balancing the press with our other responsibilities can be challenging, meaning that we are not reaching more people who would be interested in our work.

As a reader I try to be proactive, following key social media accounts, scouring my local public library, and frequently visiting independent bookshops. Through this process I meet people who make recommendations. Once I find a new press or author I like I follow them on social media and checkout who they’re connected to. I’m never at a loss for things to read and I love the thrill of the hunt.

What do you see as the future of small press publishing, or publishing in general, in the age of technology, Amazon and self-publishing? 

We have to adapt, remain creative, and remember that relationships still matter. Yes, we’re literally selling books, but most people still want a human connection, whether that’s through online forums such as blogs, effectively using social media to build relationships, or simply talking to people! Without the connections, we’re just pushing a product, which is probably not the reason most of us started small presses.

We have to make sure that the quality of our books, from the content to the physical materials, are at a high level. Plus, are we offering something unique? Individual small presses can’t compete with the larger corporations, but should that even be the goal? We have to look at traditional entrepreneurial models, such as finding our niche and developing that, while looking to the future, using technology to our advantage, and being aware of changing social dynamics. 

There are unquestionably some major hurdles for small presses, but ultimately, are we working together to create sustainable solutions? There’s no benefit in lamenting the challenges if we’re not solutions oriented.

Have Questions Daniel Zarazua? Ask them at our Small Press Editors Panel Discussion

March small press editors event

3/15 WORKSHOP—”Journalology” with Terry Tierney


SPECIAL EVENT: Journalology: Submitting Your Work to Literary Journals 3-5p.m. at our meeting location in Preservation Park.

At our next monthly meeting, we have a unique offering in lieu of our 4pm CRAFT GROUP. Craft group leader Terry Tierney will be offering a 2-hour, hands-on workshop on the literary submission process to kick-start our club’s new identified goals of supporting writers in this crucial task.

PRICE: Included with meeting: $10 public/$5 members More info here.

Literary journals are the proto-stars of the literary universe. Most famous authors appear first in journals, and established authors often use journals to “try out” new or experimental work. Many journals are open to new authors and genre-stretching creative work that might not have a chance with mainstream publishers. This includes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. There are thousands of online and print journals looking for contributors, and all you need is one editor to like your submission. By publishing in journals you can kick off your literary career, build up some credits, and experience the thrill of publication. This workshop will discuss how to research journals, prepare your work for submission, and track your submissions, along with some useful tips.

Terry Tierney is a writer who hails from the Midwest, but has planted roots in the San Francisco Bay Area. After serving in the Seabees, he completed his BA and MA at Binghamton University, and earned a PhD in Victorian Literature at Emory University. He taught college composition and creative writing courses, and survived several Silicon Valley startups as a software engineer. Tierney’s work has appeared in over fifty publications. His poetry collection, The Poet’s Garage, will be published in May by Unsolicited Press. His irreverent Vietnam-era road novel Lucky Ride (Unsolicited Press), is set to release in 2022.

Learn more about Terry at terrytierney.com.

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