If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

June Interviews

6/3 Gretchen Archer, Double Trouble
6/10 Kaye George, Deadly Sweet Tooth
6/17 Annette Dashofy, Til Death
6/24 Adam Meyer

Saturday Guest Bloggers

6/6 Mary Keliikoa
6/13 William Ade
6/20 Liz Milliron

WWK Bloggers:

6/27 Kait Carson
6/30 WWK Writers--What We're Reading Now


Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel, and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination! All are winners but without Agatha Teapots. Onto 20121!

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Kaye George's second novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Deadly Sweet Tooth, was released on June 2. Look for the interview here on June 10.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Business Bootcamps for Writers

By Margaret S. Hamilton

On January 18th, I attended an all-day workshop organized by the Authors Guild (AG) at the Cincinnati Main Public Library. Cincinnati is the second stop on the workshop tour, after Philadelphia, and followed by Atlanta and New Orleans, with Santa Fe and Seattle events to be scheduled. As stated on their website, the Authors Guild “chose regions with diverse literary communities, but few free educational or networking opportunities for authors to learn about the industry.” Most of the attendees were fiction writers, with a few non-fiction writers, poets, and a contingent of former Cincinnati Enquirer journalists.

The program provided an overview of the path to traditional publication, with insights into Indie publication.

Paths to Publication: Umair Kazi (Staff Attorney, AG) and Intisar Khanani (Cincinnati teen fantasy author) discussed traditional and Indie publishing. Khanani first published her books on Amazon. An agent read them and pitched Khanani’s novel, Thorn, to a Harper teen editor, who accepted it for publication with a new companion novel.
An Editor’s Perspective: Acquiring books and planning for publication, Roger Scholl (VP, Exec Editor, Penguin Random House). Scholl gave a succinct overview of the entire acquisition to publication process at PRH, the largest trade-book publisher in the world. PRH has 270 imprints under one umbrella organization.

Your Legal Rights and Making Contracts Work for You: Cheryl Davis (General Counsel, AG) and Umair Kazi (Staff Attorney, AG). Davis and Kazi gave us a traditional publication contract check list, a guide to e-publishing, and a hybrid publishing contract checklist, all excellent resources for future reference.
The Revision Process: Working with Agents and Editors, Leah Stewart (Cincinnati novelist and U of Cincinnati creative writing professor). Stewart described her unusual path to publication-- a fellow graduate student recommended that she contact an agent about her debut novel. She hadn’t written a novel, only short stories, but Stewart cobbled together some pages and sent them to the agent. She spent the next two years submitting pages for agent editing before she was ready to query. She has published six novels, including her latest, What You Didn’t Know About Charlie Outlaw.
Over lunch, I asked her about a recent trend: publishers are looking for stand-alone psychologicalthrillers and domestic suspense, not a new mystery series. Stewart assured me there is a discernible difference in the quality of an author’s prose if she writes to a current trend instead of her passion.Stewart’s favorite mystery writer is Tana French and she is reading Louise Penny’s books in order.“Tell me,” she asked, “Why are mystery writers crazy for Louise Penny?” I gave her a short overview of Penny’s publication story and position in the mystery writers community.

Overview of the Marketplace: David Underwood (Regional Sales Director, Penguin Random House). Underwood focused on the relationship PRH has with independent and chain book stores, big box stores (Walmart, Target), and niche markets (museum book shops).

Intisar Khanani has built an impressive organization: a street team, a launch team, a newsletter with thousands of subscribers, and a pre-publication strategy that produces 100 reader reviews in nine days. She discussed swag, blog tours, cover reveals, teasers, excerpts, and exclusive short stories. Khanani writes beautiful prose, is a mother to several young children, and is engaging and enthusiastic.

Everything You Need to Know about Agents and Query Letters (Chuck Sambuchino). Sambuchino gave an abbreviated talk about pitching and query letters. Synopses must be no longer than one single-spaced page. He outlined the ideal query letter, which includes an introduction (title, word count, genre), pitch (introduce the main character and what she wants, what happens, complications, but don’t reveal the ending), and a very short author’s biography. Twitter isn’t optional for aspiring writers—it’s the location of all the hot publishing news.

The Authors Guild Business Bootcamp was the most valuable workshop I have attended, with everything from pitching to publishing contracts explained clearly and succinctly. Santa Fe and Seattle writers, check the Author’s Guild website for information.


Writers, have you attended a similar work shop? Readers, after you read a book do you write a review on Goodreads, Amazon, or your own blog?


KM Rockwood said...

Sounds like a great opportunity!

As far as reviews go, I do write them, especially when I like a book, but I'm still not clear on when Amazon permits authors to review other authors' books, if at all. I know they sometimes remove those reviews.

Grace Topping said...

Margaret, thank you so much for the summary of this session. Sounds like you got a lot of valuable information in just one day. I've found conferences intended for writers, such as Sleuthfest and Crime Bake to be very helpful, specially since they are for an audience of mystery writers.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Kathleen, I'm very confused about Amazon reviews. I'm now able to post them. I post on Goodreads and sometimes, the author sends me an email (once in a while a creepy reader sends me an email, too). And I post comments on Facebook.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Grace, the Author's Guild event was a sweet surprise! A member sent me an email the same day the hordes descended for Christmas. I quickly banged out an application, including links to my published stories and website, and promptly forgot about it until January. I enjoyed meeting other Cincinnati area writers and chatting with the two featured writers.

Kaye George said...

I haven't attended a session like this one. I have done weekend sessions with Donald Maass and Mary Buckham and they were both tremendous! That's an interesting choice of cities, given their criteria.

Warren Bull said...

It sounds like a very interesting event

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Kaye, I agree. Writer's Digest is here, which may be part of the reason. Columbus, Louisville, and Indianapolis are two hours away, Lexington 2.5 hours. The Main Branch of the Hamilton County library system has a large room with desks and adjacent food service room. I look forward to attending Jessica Strawser's writer-in-residence talks in the same room.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Warren, it was a great event. So much information about contracts and the book distribution chain.

Leslie Budewitz said...

Thanks, Margaret. The AG will reprise this in Seattle this spring, though I won't be able to get there. I'm curious about the editor who asked why mystery readers are so crazy about Louise Penny's books. Did you get the impression she didn't care for them, or why?

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

It was Leah Stewart, who teaches creative writing at U of Cincinnati. She writes upmarket? women's? fiction and I suspect, is not familiar with the depth and breadth of the mystery genre. Her favorite mystery writer is Tana French and she's reading the Louise Penny series in order. I tried to explain that Penny has carved out her own unique niche, voice, and main character. Penny writes about a high-ranking police officer, but not police procedurals. Suspense elements, but not a domestic nor a psychological thriller. Something of everything distilled to perfection. Ann Cleeves does the same with her own unique voice. And Martin Walker, in the Inspector Bruno books. Leah Stewart likes Penny's books because they're well written with interesting characters.

BTW, while I spent a week on the couch recovering from #despite the shot the real flu, I enjoyed your Christmas cookie book.

Leslie Budewitz said...

Ah, so it was a reaction of surprise, to see how good modern crime fiction can be -- how refreshing!

And I'm glad you enjoyed As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles, even though you were probably too sick to eat cookies yourself!

Shari Randall said...

Margaret, I'm sorry to hear you got the flu! I got a terrible cold right after my flu shot - not sure if it was #despite or not! What a great experience - your writer's batteries got a full charge! And it's great that you got to meet other local authors.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

It was! I enjoyed meeting the other author, Intisar Khanani. She writes teen fantasy, and the opening chase scene in one of her books is engrossing and well-paced and could be mainstream fiction or fantasy (young woman v. evil forces). I'm hoping to connect with other authors at Jessica Strawser's writer-in-residence workshops. She's also attending library-sponsored book clubs reading and discussing her novels.

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret it sounds like a great event. One of my two online editors lives in Cincinnati. I'm wondering if she was there although she has not been writing much in the last few years she enjoys editing my chapters.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

A friend who is a member of AG sent me the link. I didn't ask how other people found out about it. There were poets and non-fiction writers and a woman who writes cozy romances.