Diamond Valley Writers' Guild

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Summary of May 25, 2019 Meeting

There are as many different ways to get published as there are books, it seems. At our May meeting, Pam Sheppard spoke about getting noticed by publishers, agents, and readers. And she should know.

Pam was once a sales rep for so many publishers, our eyes spun. At one point she even dumped out samples of catalogs — hundreds of them? — that she used to carry around to various book outlets, hoping for sales. She represented hundreds of publishers. That being the case, Pam has seen it all, publishing-wise. She advised us to find comps, largely on Amazon, and how to glean information from them to enhance our visibility and hone our pitch.

She suggested checking out AgentQuery.com, QueryTracker.net, the Guide to Literary Agents blog, and Publishers’ Marketplace.

Hot tip: Pam suggested approaching our fiction like a non-fiction proposal, in which we’ll consider the cover, table of contents for the proposal, author bio and platform, target market, comps, marketing and promo plans, and the book’s table of contents with a chapter-by-chapter synopsis. She says if we think this way about our fiction, our book will be written.

Another hot tip: have you ever wondered how to write your blurb or elevator pitch? Check out Netflix for DVD blurbs, where you’ll get great examples of succinct, interesting thumbnail descriptions.

When considering whether to go with a publishing house, Pam suggested reading the Hybrid Publisher Criteria produced by the Independent Book Publishers’ Association. Click here to open and/or download that document. 

Pam was a real joy to meet and an expert from whom I learned a lot. I look forward to getting together with her again sometime in the future.

Writer’s Circle

Thanks to Jim Hitt, former English teacher, publisher, and award-winning writer, for our monthly writing tip. The topic was the art of saying more by using fewer words, or using more effective words (such as those that end in ‘ed’ rather than ‘ing’.) This is a topic that fascinates me. Try cutting some of your own and revel in the improved sound of your words.

Book Donation Reminder



Programming note: Marj Charlier, Guild Treasurer, will be heading a unique program at our July meeting. Since the mission of the Guild is to bring together writers in a friendly, social setting, this gathering will be dedicated to that purpose, with refreshments and guided discussions. In this way we hope to get to know each other better, have fun, and even learn something. At the end of the session, a prize will be awarded consisting of all the books donated by published members. If you have a book you’d like to donate, please bring it to the June meeting.




More than Just Talk:

Painting Scenes with Dialogue & Narration

with Helga Schier


Helga Schier, Editor and Speaker

Whether fiction or nonfiction, a great story is constructed from great scenes. But what makes a great scene sing? Helga Schier is an editor whose work focuses on the refinement of story, character, and style, helping writers sharpen their vision, refine their voice, and unlock the potential of their manuscripts.

A writer’s job is to create a world that unfolds before the reader’s eyes. We want to hear people speak and see what they do and where they do it. With the well-tuned interplay of dialogue and narration, you can create scenes that sizzle with romance, suspense, excitement, or joy, engaging the reader in your characters’ plight from your first to your last word.

A regular speaker at Writers Digest conferences, Helga will show us how the interplay of dialogue and narration:

*Creates the atmosphere of a scene

*Exposes the context and purpose of the dialogue

*Reveals the personality and relationship of the dialogue partners

*Builds the underlying tension, conflict and motivation

*Drives the plot forward

Helga Schier, PhD, is the founder and owner of WithPenAndPaper.com, an independent editorial services firm. With more than 25 years of experience in book publishing, as editor and executive editor in several publishing houses, Ms. Schier guides authors through the development and revision process. Her clients are published, self-published, and not-yet-published writers.

You won’t want to miss this fabulous learning opportunity! That’s Saturday, June 22, 2019, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m., at the Hemet Public Library, 300 E. Latham, Hemet CA. Free and open to the public.




This blog post was prepared by Lynne Spreen, President of the DVWG. Lynne writes women’s fiction with romantic themes. You may access her website here and her books here.

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