Thursday, February 25, 2010

Open Mic???

photo courtesy of mrgilles

I know this post is probably going to draw some backlash, but that's never stopped me in the past, so.... have at it.

I have a dirty little secret. It keeps me awake at night, and I hate myself for it. I've tried to change, to be more open, but I just can't do it.

I hate open mic events.

You know what they are, right? Usually a coffee house setting, where people sit around and drink java or cappuccino or hoity toity tea and listen as amateur poets, writers or singers stand on stage or sit on a stool and perform. Reminds me a bit of Maynard G. Krebs in Dobie Gillis. Okay, you may be too young to get the reference, but it worked for me.

The thought of sitting in an audience listening to an amateur read his or her work sends shivers up my spine. I'd rather have a root canal. And I've had a root canal, so I know of what I speak.

I believe open mic nights are the literary equivalent of Karaoke, only without the alcohol. I kind of even understand Karaoke. Enough rum and Coke and I might even be persuaded to get out and belt out my version of I've Got You Babe. On second thought, I don't think there is enought rum in the whole world to make me to that.

There are generally a couple of types of people who read at those sorts of functions. The ones whose work is boooooring and they just like to hear themselves talk. So we, the audience, sit and twiddle our thumbs and pray for a power outage.

Then you get the ones whose work is really good, but they can't read worth a damn. Why ruin a good story by reading it aloud. Just pass me the paper and let me read it. That's how I absorb best anyway. If you are an open miker, I'm sorry, but it's just my opinion

Blame it on my childhood if you like, maybe my mother read to me too much or didn't read enough. Or school, blame it on my teachers and professors for subjecting me to hours of lecture. Or just blame it on me. I hate to be read to.

I love words. I love paper and I especially love words on paper.

So what do you think of Karaoke Open Mic events?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Book Signing

Photo by Carrie Schechter Studios

Laura Bradford will be at Main Street Books in St. Charles, Missouri on Saturday, March 6th signing her books SEW DEADLY (Elizabeth Lynn Casey) and KAYLA'S DADDY (Laura Bradford). The event time is 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Laura spoke at Saturday Writers a few years back and did a great job talking about book promotion. I was impressed with Laura's 'go-get-em' attitude, and it looks like it's really paying off for her.

If you haven't read one of Laura's books, it's your loss, but it's not too late. Please show your support for this fantastic author and stop by Main Street Books for one or both of her books.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Warren Adler Short Story Writing Contest

TRIVIA FOR THE DAY: Did you know the first Groundhog Day was celebrated in 1887? Neither did I.


Did you also know it's time for the Fifth Annual Warren Adler Short Story Writing Contest. First prize is $1000. Entry fee is $15.

Check out this link for details. There are also links to previous winning entries, so you can scope out the competition.

Check out this link for Warren Adler's bio.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Social Networking Class for Writers

photo courtesy of Margo L. Dill
logos courtesy of WOW!

My friend Margo L. Dill is teaching a 4-week course on social networking for authors. Learn how Twitter, Facebook and other techno stuff can help you expand your social network. Margo will show you how to spend a few minutes a day using these tools and others to get great results.

Margo is an excellent teacher, writer, conference planner and all around great person. She is also the social media manager for WOW! Women on Writing.


START DATE: Monday, February 22, 2010

DURATION: 4 weeks

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This class will teach writers how to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social networking sites such as Shelfari or Jacket Flap (students’ choice) to network; to build a following of fans; to start working on a brand/image; and to promote books, articles, magazines, and blogs. Instead of using Facebook and Twitter to write about your fabulous dinner or disastrous day at the grocery store, you will learn to sell yourself and your writing!


Week One: Facebook: We will discuss how to use Facebook to promote yourself and your writing. We will talk about posting links to your work, using status updates to promote writing, joining Facebook groups for writers, and even starting a Fan page for yourself or your work.

Assignment: Create a Facebook profile if you haven’t yet, complete your Facebook profile, make it scream writer!, join at least one writing group and become active!, and start promoting your writing with your Facebook page.

Week Two: Twitter: My favorite marketing tool ever is Twitter. Twitter can be used in so many ways as a writer—to promote your work, to follow writers and editors who provide useful information, to find other writers for support, and to discuss writing. You will learn how to do all of this and more on Twitter. You will be introduced to two Twitter tools—Tweetdeck and Hootsuite, and you will register yourself with Twellow.

Assignment: Create a Twitter profile if you haven’t yet. Make your Twitter profile scream writer! Start tweeting. Participate in a writers’ chat. Register with Twellow. Try out Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.

Week Three: LinkedIn: This week, we will talk about how to use LinkedIn as a writer. LinkedIn seems harder for people to figure out and use to market yourself, but there are ways through your status updates, by checking out your contacts’ contacts, by recommending others and having them recommend you, and by participating in LinkedIn groups.

Assignments: Create a LinkedIn profile and/or complete yours. Make it scream writer! Join a few LinkedIn groups. Find more contacts. Check out your contacts’ contacts and link to them.

Week Four: More Social Networking and Evaluation: The content in this week’s class will depend on the participants in the class. The instructor will do a survey to find out what people are most interested in learning about and trying out with guidance: Shelfari? JacketFlap? Digg? Students will also fill out a class evaluation.

Assignments: Try out one or two of the social networks that classmates are most interested in. Fill out the class evaluation.

COST: $100, which will include four weeks of instruction on how to use social networking as an author and one critique for each student of a social networking profile page—student’s choice.

To sign up: (scroll to the bottom of the class listing)