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Summary of October 28, 2017 Meeting

I still can’t believe the Guild just wrapped up its second full season.

It seems only a few months ago that a dozen or so of us were sitting around thinking, Hmmm, I wonder if there are writers in the local area who’d like to get together once a month?

If you build it, they will come. – Field of Dreams (1989)

The answer: as of now, we have 79 members. The Hemet library had to move us upstairs to their big meeting room. We normally have a minimum of 50 people at our meetings. 

We started the meeting with elections, which will happen every October from now on, but hopefully, not for a full board each time.

Congratulations to the newly elected Board of Directors! The following officers were elected:

  • Lynne Spreen, President, November 1, 2017 – October 31, 2019
  • CJ Hernley, Vice President, November 1, 2017 – October 31, 2018*
  • Marj Charlier, Treasurer, November 1, 2017 – October 31, 2019
  • Melissa Eiselein, Recording Secretary, November 1, 2017 – October 31, 2018*
  • George Gurney, Member-at-Large, November 1, 2017 – October 31, 2018*

*Although terms normally span a two-year period, half the directors’ terms were shortened in this first regular election. This will ensure the entire board won’t be terming out at the same time in future.

Thank you, Brooke Warner!

Brooke Warner

Brooke Warner is an industry expert. She’s an author, writing coach, and publisher of SheWritesPress and Spark Press, as well as a regular contributor to HuffingtonPostBooks and the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) among others. We appreciated her coming from her home in northern California to talk with us on Saturday, October 28, 2017.

As Brooke spoke about creating our author platforms, I smiled, thinking of how many years ago I began platforming, and how annoyed I had been to discover I would be responsible for this! Like many, I had dreamed of having a publisher who’d do all that work for me. All I wanted was to cash the advance check and go back to my turret to continue writing.

No longer. Now, we must create our own platform. But it doesn’t have to be difficult and can even be enjoyable.

A platform, said Brooke, is necessary for building credibility with future publishers and readers, and this leads to exposure (visibility for future sales.) You build credibility by blogging (your own or guest blogs), speaking engagements, podcasts, author interviews, and just about any kind of media opportunity.

Brooke said, “I say yes to everything, and my only ‘ask’ is that they mention whatever I want mentioned.”

This adds value to your time. These days, it’s rare to be paid for such work–the author is accustomed to being “paid” in “exposure”–but be sure to include an ask at the end of your contribution, such as “Did you like this post? For more, click here.” Offer something of value, such as a chapter, a short story, or an ebook, in exchange for your audience’s email addresses. Brooke called it a “bribe to subscribe.” Others call it an ethical bribe.

By building your email list, you’re building a pool of potential customers. Oops, I mean followers.

When Brooke asked who in our group was on social media, only about a third raised their hands. Don’t be discouraged, she said. Start with baby steps to build a readership. For example, an author could create a Facebook fan page (also called business page) and post about the writing process, the writing life, the issue you find most interesting to write about, events you’ve attended, interesting realizations about your topic, etc. You could talk about what’s hard or surprising about it, or what was a win. Another advantage of doing social media is that you become more comfortable in online interaction.

Brooke provided this handout:

For a free chapter about platform from “What’s Your Book?” email her at Brooke@WarnerCoaching.com.

What Do I Talk About On Social Media?

What is it about the story you are telling that interests you? From that you can deduce themes, topics, and issues, and that’s where you dig in. These are the topics you can address on Facebook and other social media. Eventually, if you work on your themes enough (like adoption, childhood, domestic violence, career, or adoption, for some examples), you’ll become something of an expert on the topic, which can lead to speaking engagements, podcasts, interviews, and other expansions of your platform.

For myself, I kept going back to the theme of positive aging—having a positive outlook about getting older, and focusing on the good. I’m frequently asked to speak about this topic to groups, and I only say yes to such talks if I can sell my books afterward. I also work to build my email list at these events.

Brooke could have taught us for hours, but we ran out of time. For more, why not visit her website and get on her email list?

After the meeting, Brooke was busy answering further questions and accepting our good wishes. One gentleman told me our meeting was “better than a college class.” When we adjourned to Chili’s for lunch afterwards, I heard the same thing. People were very pleased with the presentation. Thanks to Marj Charlier for suggesting Brooke Warner as a speaker.

Enjoy the holiday season!

This was our last meeting of the year. 2017 was very successful for the Guild. We plan to build on the success of our first twenty meetings. Please let us know if you have any ideas for topics or speakers, or if you’d like to lend a hand.

This blog post was prepared by Lynne Spreen, President of the DVWG. Lynne writes midlife fiction, because she believes we learn and grown continuously throughout our lives. You may access her website here and her books here.



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