14July2018 Meeting Minutes


San Joaquin Valley Branch

California Writers Club

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Call to Order: June Gillam

Sign In Sheet: Jennifer Hoffman

Introduction of Speaker: June Gillam

SPEAKER: Michele Drier: Traditional and Self Publishing Services

Michele is currently working on #10 of the Kandesky Vampire series, and also writes the Amy Hobbs Mystery series. She has been writing since 1971, but that first novel did not see the light of day until 2011. She also had a previous life as a reporter.

Michele spoke on the two ways to get published.

The first way to get published is through traditional publishing. The Big Five publishers (Hachette, Harper Collins, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, and Simon and Schuster) require that you find an agent or find a publisher that will work with you without an agent, which is rare. In order to shop your book to agents or publishing houses, you will need to have a query letter, a synopsis and a finished, polished, proofread, edited manuscript. When searching for an agent, make sure that you research the agent and the publications carefully. The best way to do this is to look at who is representing the genre that you want to write. Look carefully for what they work with, what they have a reputation for, how many books they accept a year, how much they will be paid (standard contract is 15% of your earnings from book sales).

The second way to get published is through Self-Publishing or Indie Publishing, which used to be called vanity press. Most vanity presses will charge you up front, slap a cover on your book and not help with marketing at all. All marketing is up to the writer, and it will cost you. This is not a recommended path to getting published.

Self publishing through Amazon Print on Demand (CreateSpace), IngramSparks or other publishing routes require that you have your draft ready to go. A service called Draft to Digital will take your draft and put it into multiple formats for digital output and put it on their webpage, and upload it to iTunes and other places, but it will cost you up front.

Amazon’s CreateSpace will allow for your book to be “never out of print”, and it will also allow Barnes and Noble to use Print on Demand services to access and order your book. You are responsible for formatting, cover work and back matter. Most cover designs will cost $150-$250. The royalties from books published on CreateSpace can vary depending on the book length as well as the price set for the book by the author.

If you are going to self-publish, you will need a variety of editors. Content Editors will read through the story of the novel and make sure that everything aligns to create a good story. A Line Editor will go through line by line and check for dialogue, character and make sure your sentences say what you want them to say. A Copy Editor will check for some grammar and word usage. They will look for homophones and word choice. A Proof Reader will check for grammar, spelling and punctuation. Most of these will cost the writer depending on the services that are provided. Do your research, and do not disregard the importance of a good critique group.

For publication formatting, you will want to make sure that your manuscript is in 12 point font, Times New Roman, double spaced with a 0.3 first line indent. It is easiest to set this up early when writing the manuscript and then you don’t have to worry about going back to reformat. In your manuscript draft, be sure to include: Acknowledgements, Biography, Dedication.

When considering self-publishing also consider the number of words and how many pages that that book will generate. Depending on format most books will be between 200-300 pages, which is generally about 70,000 words. Genres will have their own expectations of word count. Be aware of what books in your genre look like and how many words generally per age. The longer your book is, the more money it will cost to produce, which will eat into your profits in the long run.

Also consider marketing when you publish a book. Most self-publishing options will not market for you, so you will have to pay any marketing fees, such as inclusion to book aggregators like BookBub, Book Doggie or Sweet Free Books.

Michele also offers writing workshops through her website at https://micheledrier.com

Break and networking

Club Business

Installment of New club Leadership: Postponed until new club membership is present

Announcements from members: June Gillam

  • Jen Hoffman- working on rewriting her book, also there is a fundraiser for the Manzanita Writers Press: The Arts Harvest Dinner Dance at the Pickle Patch in San Andreas. Tickets are $35 for dinner and music.
  • Trish is working on a play and a “bad novel”
  • Heidi Andersen is working on Camp Nanowrimo
  • Tory Marinelli is working on just getting writing done using https://4thewords.com
  • Anthony Marinelli is taking a course on editing using The Story Grid, and working on a rewrite for his novel. He also adds that the SJVW website at https://sjvw.org is ready for submissions and content.
  • Deborah is working with Beta readers and rewriting
  • John commends Leslie Liberty and Jennifer Gonzalez for publication in the California Writer’s Club Literary Review. He also commends the SJVW critique groups for helping him with editing his own works.
  • Dan implores people to come to the critique sessions, both on Saturdays and Tuesdays to help give feedback to local writes. Also offers book reviews and blog interviews on his blog https://benleiter.com. He currently has 4 books out on query.
  • Betsy teaches at the UOP Benard School of education and has been working on summer school She is working on a short piece about hospice care and a coloring book. Also working on a short/middle piece on her father’s experiences in China during World War II.
  • Loy Holder joins us from the Sacramento branch of the California Writer’s Club and is looking for a speaker for the Elk Grove Writer’s Conference to be held on October 22nd. The conference is $50, which includes continental breakfast and lunch. This year’s theme is “Writers Helping Writer” and she is currently looking for someone to help teach a session on “How to Market your Book through the Use of Social Media, Webpage and Book Trailer.” If interested, contact her at loyholder77@gmail.com. For more information about the conference, find information at https://www.egwg.org.
  • Harlan send a manuscript to the publisher last month.
  • June Fern is working on a Cat Cozy Mystery.
  • Pam VanAllen recently recieved feedback through her first developmental edit through Shannon Winter.
  • Maria is working on her first novel- A romance and fantasy. Enjoys the critique meeting.
  • Robin joins us from the Sacramento branch of the California Writer’s Club. She writes children’s stories and is currently editing.
  • June Gillam is working on a manuscript and is enjoying the camaraderie of

her cabin on https://CampNanowrimo.org.

Summer Lineup—Every Tuesday, Drop In Critique Sessions, 5:30 p.m. UOP Library

  • August 11 -- WhatchaGot? Members showcase their projects
  • September 8 – Susan Osborn, Storytelling to Strengthen Your Writing
  • October 13 -- Great Valley Bookfest Booth in Manteca- plan on attending
  • November and December- Will be meeting in the Taylor Room.

Officers Reports:

  • Treasurer: Financial Report Postponed. General vote taken on transferring funds from club account to donate $400 to the Writers Conference at UOP to cover losses. General vote taken: All in favor, none opposed. So moved.
  • Secretary: Minutes Approval Postponed- see webpage

Adjournment: June Gillam

Manuscript Critiques followed in adjacent room.

Victoria Marinelli, Acting Secretary Date of Approval