April 2019 Newsletter

April Meeting Saturday April 13th

Join Grammar Girl for a Workshop on Social Media!

Our April meeting will feature Mignon Fogarty who will talk during the free public session about social media. The paid afternoon session will go into more specifics as Mignon shows us how to use Facebook, Twitter, and other social media to grow our business and make more sales. If you have not yet signed up for the afternoon session, it is $30 for members and $50 for non-members. The non-member price includes a High Sierra Writers membership, so if you want to sign up for the Story Grid Workshop or any other one we present, you get the members price along with the rest of the benefits of HSW membership.

The morning session will also include First Pages and a short presentation by Matt Bayan about editing tips. For those in the editing process, this will help you to tighten your work and improve your phrasing.

The Meeting begins at 10 am at the South Valleys Public Library, 15650 Wedge Parkway in South Reno. 

To sign up for the workshop, go to:
http://highsierrawriters.org/workshop-payments/

Remember, we cannot accept any payments for workshops or dues renewals at the library due to library policies. So, please sign up in advance. It also helps our presenter to determine how many copies of handout materials to print.

 

 

FROM THE PRESIDENT

KILLING YOUR BABIES

You’ve spent hours on the chapter. Your time is valuable. Ergo, the words you’ve written are also valuable. You expect to see them again in your finished manuscript. You set down your pen or close your computer with a sense of satisfaction over a day well spent.

Not so fast.
 

Most of my editing clients are verbal-retentive. They cling to their words. I’ve had writers fight me over a comma. I’ve had writers stalk out of the room, fuming, because I cut out some bloated description. It usually goes like this:

“These are my words, my ideas.”
 

“Yes, they are. But why are you writing them? To put in a locked cabinet and hoard like Silas Marner or to have people read them?”

“To have people read them.”

“Then to do that you have to write in a way that holds the reader’s interest. You’re not doing that.”

“That’s your opinion.”

“Yes, it is. But you’re paying me for that opinion. And I’m telling you, you have to be willing to kill your babies. Your words are not sacrosanct. Some of them need to get tossed.”

At this point, they either calm down or we part ways.

Each time you sit down to write, try to inure yourself to the idea that the words you are writing may not be permanent. They may get red-lined. Be ready to drown them, incinerate them, and throttle them in their cradles. Their bodies will form the bridge that will eventually get you to a finished manuscript that’s reader-ready.

Matt Bayan


Does Your Story Work?

Story Grid Workshop on Saturday May 11. Register soon!

Join us for an all day workshop May 11th with certified SG editors as they teach us what the SG method is, and how to use it from our first idea to final draft to make a story that truly works.  We all know that writing a novel goes far beyond that first draft, requiring the hard and often confusing work of editing and rewriting. The Story Grid is a way to for that work to make sense, and in the end will leave you with a solid story that others will want to read!

Two lucky HSW members will have their  scene (3000 words or less)  evaluated through the Story Grid lens during the workshop. If you’d like to have your scene considered, send it (Word or pdf format) to NicoleFrens@gmail.com no later than April 23rd. 

The workshop will start with a hour during our general meeting, then, after a BYO lunch, continue with the scene analysis and more, including how to make Super Hardcore Editing Groups of our own!  Spaces are filling up fast, so go to http://highsierrawriters.org/workshop-payments/ to sign up now! It’s only $20 for paid members and $30 for all others. The first 35 to sign up will receive a free copy of the Story Grid book.  For questions, contact Nicole at NicoleFrens@gmail.com


The August 10 deadline is coming up in a few months. 

We are now a little over four months away from the end of the contest entry period. What stage is your novel in? You should be through the draft and possibly the first edit by now. Have you sent it to beta readers or gotten involved in a finish critique group to get feedback and help to improve your novel? Time is flying by, and you need to make sure you have a completed, clean book before you submit it. This needs to be 100% complete by the August meeting even though you are only submitting the first four pages for the contest.

How about your query letter and blurb? Have you started working on those yet? They are due at the same time as the four pages. 

As a reminder, this contest is for novels only. They must not have been previously published, and the minimum length of the finished manuscript is 70,000 words for adult fiction; 65,000 for YA, and a maximum length of 100,000 words.

All the rules and format information are available on the web site at http://highsierrawriters.org/2018-2019-novel-writing-contest/

This is a great opportunity, so if you’re aiming to get it done, then make sure you’re on schedule to make the deadline.


Dues and Workshop Payments on PayPal

A reminder that you can now pay your annual dues renewals and workshop payments using PayPal. You do not need to have a PayPal account, simply use your credit card to pay. Your transaction is safe through PayPal’s secure server. Go here to pay dues if you haven’t renewed for 2019 yet.
http://highsierrawriters.org/dues_payments/


“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it, and the writing will be just as it should be.” 

― Mark Twain


Book Blurb Writing

One of the more challenging things for me to write is a book blurb. Sometimes it feels like the whole novel is easier to do than to write these three short paragraphs that will hook the reader into buying your book. Just recently, I’ve been struggling with this. As usual, I turn to the internet for the latest tips on how to do this. I also run my potential blurbs by my regular critique group. If you have a willing group, this is a great resource to fine-tuning or reworking your blurb. If you have a reader group, share your blurbs with them and see which one they like the best.

What exactly is a book blurb and what should it do?

The sole purpose of a blurb is to convince your readers they want to read your book. It’s a short description of your characters and your story. On a paperback book, it’s the teaser on the back page. When publishing an e-book, it’s the description that will be displayed with the book cover.

According to editor Rebecca Heyman in a Reedsy article, “The opening of your blurb has to be incredibly precise and dynamic.”

A blurb shouldn’t tell backstory or any world setting. What it should do is focus on these things:

1) Main character(s) – the characters define the story and are the emotional hook to it. In the first paragraph, you need to introduce the characters by telling the reader what they want.

2) Primary conflict — the conflict drives the story, so it needs to be something readers will get pulled into with your characters.

3) Establish the stakes– you must have consequences. Without them, your story will lack drama, so there has to be a price for failure.

4) Show readers why this book is one they want to read. If you do everything right, your blurb will let the readers know this is the kind of book they love.

You have three short paragraphs to sell your potential readers, so the words need to be precise and efficient and end with a hook. Check out best-selling books in your genre to see how the blurbs are written. If it’s a series book, look at the first one of the series rather than the subsequent novels.

To read the entire Reedsy article, click here.

Another good article is from Kindlepreneur. You can read it here.



 

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March 2019 Newsletter

Next Meeting…

CONTRAST AND PACING

All elements of writing – characters, settings, conflicts, dialogue, etc. – need contrast to hold a reader’s attention. Slow vs. fast, bright vs. dark, loud vs. quiet. In each element of writing, we need to make choices that illuminate the external from the internal. 

Join us for a presentation/discussion on how to use contrast and pacing to up your game and make your story more interesting and provocative.

The Meeting is at the South Valleys Library, 15650 Wedge Pkwy, Reno, NV 89511, on March 9th at 10 am.

From the HSW President 

In our March meeting, we’ll tackle a topic we’ve never approached before: Pacing. We’ll take that idea and apply it to various writing elements, expanding beyond the concept of time to look at how contrast is essential in every facet of writing.

Next month our guest is Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogarty, who in a few short years took an esoteric little podcast to the heights of the NYT bestseller list. She’s going to show us how she used and uses social media to carve out her ever-expanding niche in the publishing world.

We’ll also have First Pages this month, so drag in the beginnings of those novels you started as New Year’s resolutions.

Matt


April Meeting –

Making Your Social Media Work for You

As previously announced, Mignon Fogerty, aka Grammar Girl, will be presenting a class on how to use social media to grow your business. We asked last month and are asking again: How do you use these to grow your readership? How can you turn your handful of followers into people who want to read your books?

On April 13th, Mignon will present an all-day workshop on social media. So, bring your laptops and power cords and be prepared to harness the power of these often-times elusive platforms. 
 
The morning session (FREE and open to the public) will consist of an hour-long, introductory presentation by Mignon. In the afternoon, she’ll help us navigate through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc so we can better utilize those mediums for promoting/marketing our books.
 
Please note!!! The afternoon session is not for beginners! You need to have at least a semblance of a social media presence in order to make the most of Mignon’s presentation.
 
Cost for the afternoon session is $30 for HSW members; $50 for non-members. If you have any questions, please contact Linda Enos at enoslinda@sbcglobal.net.

To register for the workshop, please go to this page at the High Sierra Writers website. The payment button links to PayPal for processing. You do not need a PayPal account to register if you use your credit card.


May Meeting Information

Looking ahead, we have another exciting workshop coming up in May. 

Would you like to know how to edit your manuscript to a professional level before self-publishing or submitting to an agent?  Do you wish you had a clear understanding of how to tell whether your story works, and what to do if it doesn’t?  Or are you planning to hire an editor, but could use a leg up to get the best bang for your buck by sending them the best draft you can?  

Join us for our May 11th meeting when Story Grid Certified Editors Anne Hawley and Rachelle Ramirez will join us for our regular meeting and an extended workshop to teach us about the Story Grid editing method, based on Shawn Coyne’s powerful book on how to level up your craft and write a story that really works! 

During the regular meeting, the editors will share with us what the Story Grid method is all about, explain the different levels of editing, and give us the Five Commandments of Story. 

After lunch, in the paid session, we’ll have a short break for lunch (BYO), then dive deeper as they dissect two of our scenes and take it through a Story Grid examination.   They’ll leave us with information about Story Grid editing services, and how to build our own Super Hardcore Editing Groups. 

The first 35 paid participants will also leave with a hard copy of the Story Grid ($28 on Amazon)!

For current HSW members, the afternoon workshop is $20, and non-members are $30.  We will begin taking registrations in April. A news blast will be sent to current HSW members when registration is opened.

Two scenes will be chosen by the presenters to use in the analysis session. Interested HSW members (only) may submit a scene to be considered to Nicole@Frens.Land 


TMCC Writers’ Conference

Coming up on April 13 at the college’s Dandini campus. The event begins at 9:40 am and runs until about 4:15 pm. With several guest speakers, including our own Jacci Turner, the topics will cover crafting a page turner, building memorable characters, developing your brand, and more. Participants also have the opportunity to connect with agents for a small fee.

Regrettably, this conference overlaps with the HSW’s April meeting and presentation by Mignon Fogerty.

For more information, go to TMCC’sconference page.


Tips for Using a Writers’ Conference

When you attend a writers’ conference, you’re going to learn a lot, but one of the most important benefits is often overlooked or not followed up on promptly. Networking. Conferences are a great opportunity to meet other writers, publishers, and agents and connect with them to begin building a relationship that may benefit you down the line. Make these contacts a priority.

Here’s a little Do and Don’t list that conveniently landed in my email inbox as I started to write this. Agent Irene Goodman covers a good list of things to do and not do in this article.

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February 2019 Newsletter

February Meeting Information

Failure: The Road To Success
One of our successfully published member-authors, Jacci Turner, will entertain us with the embarrassing mistakes she made in her writing career with the hope that you will avoid them. What NOT to do is as important (sometimes more important) than what TO do.

Critique Group Update
Not in a critique group? Why not? Our Critique Group Wrangler, Nicole Frens, will give us an update on what groups are available and lead a discussion on what new groups members want, what problems groups might be having, and other group-related issues. Afraid to give another writer a critique? We’ll discuss how to do it without causing World War III.

Character Development
What’s a character arc? No, it’s not a boat or something Indiana Jones hunts for. Jacci Turner will lead a discussion on how to get your main characters from Chapter 1 to THE END. Oh, and to have readers interested in how they get there.

Egregious Errors
Matt Bayan will share with us some of the worst errors he’s seen as an editor. And ask your suggestions on how to fix them. Fun and informative.

First Pages
Bring in the first page of your story or novel! It’s the most important page in your manuscript, so let’s talk about how to get it right. Completely anonymous. Turn in your first page to Matt Bayan at the start of the meeting. Don’t put your name on the page, but please show the title and genre of the work. Print on letter paper, 1-inch margins, preferably 12 point in Times New Roman or Arial (14 pt would help Matt maintain his eyesight).

The meeting will be Saturday February 9, 2019 at the South Valleys Library, 15650 Wedge Parkway and begins at 10 am. The doors also open at 10 am.


From the HSW President Matt Bayan

Lately, in my professional editing career, I’ve been seeing some shocking examples showing that a growing number of writers:

  1. Can’t spell
  2. Don’t understand dialogue
  3. Don’t understand grammar
  4. And worst of all, don’t seem to care.

Has texting destroyed the English language? Has self-publishing made writers think that any old garbage is acceptable?

The idea that they deserve fat stacks of money for their meager efforts infuriates me.
So, at the February meeting, join me in my orgy of dishing some of the worst examples I’ve seen lately. (No, none of the examples will come from our members.)

 

 

Coming for April Meeting

How to Make Social Media Work for You

So, you have a Facebook author page, Twitter, and Instagram accounts set up and have a small following on them, but you’re not sure what to post to really get them to work for you. How do you use these to grow your readership? How can you turn your handful of followers into people who want to read your books?
 
Luckily, we have an expert who has done that and can give us the skinny on how to make it all work better for you. 
 
On April 13th, Mignon Fogerty, aka Grammar Girl, will present an all-day workshop on social media. So, bring your laptops and power cords and be prepared to harness the power of these often-times elusive platforms.  
 
The morning session (FREE and open to the public) will consist of an hour-long, introductory presentation by Mignon. In the afternoon, she’ll help us navigate through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc so we can better utilize those mediums for promoting/marketing our books.
 
Please note!!! The afternoon session is not for beginners! You need to have at least a semblance of a social media presence in order to make the most of Mignon’s presentation.
 

Cost for the afternoon session is $30 for HSW members; $50 for non-members. If you have any questions, please contact Linda Enos atenoslinda@sbcglobal.net. 

To register and pay for the workshop, go to: http://highsierrawriters.org/workshop-payments/
 

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer’s Digest’s 101 best websites for writers multiple times. She is also an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame.

 

Bookmark Mignon’s Q&D Tips page athttps://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl 

On March 9th, please join HSW members, Linda Enos (writing as Lynda Bailey) and Teri Green (writing as Elise Manion) at the GSR for the 7th annual Diva’s Day Out. 

Come and enjoy on-site shopping, entertainment, giveaways and much more. The event runs until 4 pm. 

 And don’t forget to stop by Linda and Teri’s booth, Reno Romance Authors, to say hi!


HSW Author Page

Do you have a book published? 

Would you like to have it displayed on the HSW website on our Authors Page? If so, please send a thumbnail of your book cover, genre, and the link address where people can learn more or buy it, to Rene at ruamor@sbcglobal.net To view the Book Page, go to:
http://highsierrawriters.org/hsw-authors/


2019 Novel Writing Contest

Plan to enter this chance of a lifetime contest?

You now have six months until your completed and edited novel, blurb, and query letter are due at the August 10th HSW meeting.  For all details about the contest, please refer to the contest page at 
http://highsierrawriters.org/2018-2019-novel-writing-contest/


HSW MEMBERSHIP

To renew or join High Sierra Writers, please click on the button below to go to the payment page at the website to see your options. We can accept payments by PayPal or by check. You do not need to be registered on PayPal in order to use your credit card to pay. We can no longer accept checks at the library. Membership is $25 for the year.

RENEW or JOIN HSW 


 

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January 2019 Newsletter

PLOTTING? – NEW YEAR, NEW BOOK
AND HOW TO GET THERE

Plot-driven? Character driven? Sounds like “what came first the chicken or the egg?”

Matt Bayan, HSW president, will unravel the connections between plot and character and offer tips on how to get from Page One to The End.

DRAFT TO DIGITAL

Last month we did a live demonstration on how to load a book and cover to Amazon’s KDP site. But other platforms exist: Apple, Google, Barnes & Noble. Instead of uploading a book to each of these platforms, our Communications Guru, Rene Averett, will show how to load a book to all of these platforms at the same time. Live demo. (We are getting SO techie.) Presenter: Rene Averett  website: http://pynhavyn.com/writers/

WHAT GENRES ARE EDITORS BUYING FOR 2019/2020?

For those of you who are querying, right now is a good time. Agents have returned from holiday vacations, and with the new year, they have acquisition targets that they need to achieve for the new year. In our January meeting,  We have a contact who will be discussing the expected genres that will be hot in the coming year. 

THE HSW FRONT-OF-THE-LINE CONTEST

Donna Stegman will also explain the rules and deadlines of this unique contest. The winner of this contest will get an opportunity to to skip the agent, skip the slush pile, and capture the eyeballs of an editor who can actually buy your work. Don’t miss Donna’s presentation unless you have no interest of leapfrogging to the front of the line.

FIRST PAGES

Last month, we ran out of time and didn’t get to some of the submissions. If you’re one of the writers who didn’t get feedback, please bring in your work again and make sure to tell Matt your status. Your pages will go first.

For those not familiar with this feature, you may submit the first page of your book anonymously to be critiqued by the group. Please submit double-spaced, 12-point print with the genre at the top of the page.


January 2019 Meeting

The first meeting of 2019 will be Saturday, January 12 at the South Valleys Library, 15650 Wedge Pkwy in south Reno. The library opens at 10 am and the meeting will start as soon as we get the room set up and run until around noon to 12:30 pm. 

From the HSW President Matt Bayan

climbing mountainOne of the most difficult factors in writing a novel is developing a plot. Some writers outline. Others just start writing and let twists and turns lead to a resolution. That’s a matter of taste. But at its core, a plot is a story which must revolve around characters. The plot becomes the result of choices that main characters make on their mental or physical journey from one state of being to another. The change in the main character – either for better or worse – is the force that drives the plot. Characters, particularly the main character, are inextricably woven together with the obstacles of success and failure that occur in the plot. The choice of “character-driven vs. plot-driven” is largely a false choice.

At our January meeting, we’ll unravel the links between character and plot and help to simplify the process of constructing a novel.

Bring in your questions, whether you’re far along in your manuscript or starting a new project.

Matt Bayan
www.matthewbayan.com


Novel Writing Contest

We’ve talked about it at our meetings and the full information is on the web site, but if you aren’t into the editing process of your novel entry, you’d better get crackin’. Need I remind you that the full novel will need to be completed, edited, and ready to go by the August 2019 meeting (Saturday August 10, 2019)?

Also, you need to be working on those blurbs for it. Try to come up with at least three or more for your novel. Try these out with fellow-writers to see reactions and learn which ones work better than others. Use your critique partners to help you tweak them. As defined in the rules, they must be three paragraphs long, no more. 

You will also need your query letter for the editor who, if you are selected the winner, will be reading it. So the query also needs to be polished to be submitted with the entry in August.

Here’s the exact requirements for your entry as presented on the web site from Donna’s handout:

 You must submit pages – in this order — Cover sheet with name and title. Query letter (including word count and genre), 3-paragraph blurb, and the first four pages of your manuscript. Pages are to be stapled, not paper clipped, together.

A reminder of the length requirements — minimum for adult fiction is 70,000; young adult is 65,000 and the maximum for both is 100,000.

For all the rules and requirements, please go to this link at our web site.
http://highsierrawriters.org/2018-2019-novel-writing-contest/


Happy 2019! 
Will this be your breakthrough year? 

Who knows when luck will strike? But in the meantime, High Sierra Writers will continue to help you improve your writing, strengthen your stories, and give you tips and help to get it to the market whether by traditional or independent publishing. 

Like all non-profit organizations, HSW does need a little operating money to help cover the costs of the speakers, contests, and meeting space. Our $25 annual membership fee covers these costs and in return, you get tips, workshops, successful speakers like Michael C. Grumley and Mignon Fogerty, critique groups, and more. Our aim is to help every writer achieve their goals. 

So, please renew your membership in HSW if you haven’t already done so. It’s easy. Just go to the link below and click on the Buy Now button that will take you to PayPal to securely pay via credit card.
http://highsierrawriters.org/dues_payments/

If you don’t have a credit card, you can still send a check or money order to us by mail. Make the check payable to High Sierra Writers and send it to:
High Sierra Writers

PO Box 7825 
Reno, NV 89510

 
Let’s make 2019 our best year yet!


Increase your Income Streams Easily

Self-published authors, do you want to earn more with your books than just what you’re getting from Amazon? While Amazon has the lion’s share of the market, many more distributors and readers are in the fray than Kindle reaches.

At the January HSW  meeting, Rene Averett will provide a quick overview of one of the alternate publishing sites to Amazon. Draft2Digital is an easy to use publishing application that can get your self-published book to multiple other markets, such as Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and others.

Rene will give you the pros and cons of using other markets than Amazon and will go through a demonstration of how to upload and price your books for Draft2Digital and explain the various features of this program.

If you’ve thought about taking your market wider, then you should be at this meeting to learn more about this tool.


Coming in April!  Mignon Fogerty

Mark your calendars for this workshop with Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogerty. She will be the featured presenter at the April 13 meeting and extended paid session to talk about how to have success using your social media outlets. More details and workshop registrations will be coming next month.


 

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December 2018 Newsletter

DECEMBER MEETING

Saturday, December 08  at 10 A.M. 

At the South Valleys Library (15650 Wedge Pkwy Reno, NV 89511)

The High Sierra Writers Meeting is  DECEMBER 08 from 10 a.m. to noon at the South Valleys Library, 15650 Wedge Pkwy, Reno, NV 89511. Come early to get a good parking spot, even though the library doesn’t open until 10 a.m. 


YOU WROTE IT. NOW FIX IT!

Whether you’ve been polishing a book for the past year or just wrote 50,000 words participating in NaNoWriMo, how would you like to get tips from people who work as editors? Part of our December meeting will be hands-on editing using your pages. Bring in a piece of dialogue that’s causing you trouble. Bring in a sequence that doesn’t feel right. First Pages? Yes, bring them in too.

Pacing, character development, plot arcs, dialogue, description, and cutting bloat will be some of the issues we attack.

We’ll show you how to break down your manuscript to filter for specific problems, then correct them.

We’ll also show before and after examples of bad writing boosted by good editing and rewriting.

The goal is to get your manuscript as polished as possible.
 

YOU FIXED IT. NOW PUBLISH IT!

Last month, at the Michael Grumley self-publishing workshop, we didn’t have time for the demonstration on how to use Amazon tools to build the final version of your book and then upload it. We’ll do this at the December meeting in real-time and walk through all the steps to upload a book. We’ll show how to classify your book and enter information that will help you sell more books. The live demo will take us to the step where we’re ready to push the “Publish” button.


From the President

Never Do Your Own Editing? – Maybe, Maybe Not

We’ve all been advised to never do our own editing. Even if you have an English degree, that’s probably good advice. But, as is the case with so many things…it depends.
 
Editing is really a spectrum. At the simple end of the spectrum is the line edit, which is a spelling and grammar check. Unfortunately, many new writers think that’s all there is to it. It’s not.
 
Beyond the line edit we get into structural edits which get into character development and plot structure. These are much more complex and involve a back and forth between editor and writer.
 
We can get specialty edits, such as continuity editing. This involves poring over the details to make sure of consistency. You don’t want the hero having brown eyes in chapter 7 and blue eyes in chapter 52.
 
An edit which is frequently overlooked but which I think is one of the most important is where the editor analyzes tiny stylistic elements such as how well dialogue works, or whether the writer is telling vs. showing. This is a sentence-by-sentence scrutiny at the granular level.
 
How much of this can or should you do? Definitely a writer needs to do some of these editing filters before submitting a manuscript to an editor. The more that’s cleaned up before a pro lays eyes on it, the lower the editing invoice will be.
 
At December’s meeting, we’ll show some of the ways you can break the “never edit” rule and come out a winner at the end of the process.


Workshop with Mignon Fogerty

Photo: Mignion FogertyKnown to millions of people as Grammar Girl, Mignon parlayed her grammar podcast into a huge social media success. 

We’re hoping to bring Mignon back for a hands-on, all-day workshop centered around social media and how to use these media to market books. Her availability window is now April 2019 and we are tentatively planning for that date.. Cost will be $30 for HSW members and $50 for non-members. If interested, email Linda Enos at enoslinda@sbcglobal.net.


CRITIQUE GROUP UPDATES

We have loads of new members looking to join or start a critique group – check our website (http://highsierrawriters.org/critique-groups/) to see if there’s anyone you might be interested in joining forces with!  

We also have a new finish group, for full beta reads, starting up, and no doubt more to open up soon. Email Critique Group Wrangler Nicole at cgwrangler@hsw.org  if you’d like to be added to a waiting list to have your book read, or to be added to the list of those looking to join an on-going group.  2019 is YOUR year to get that book finished, join a critique group now! 
 

Sci-Fi/ Fantasy Finish Group
We have a finish group for Sci-Fi/Fantasy starting in December that has room for one or two more people. If interested, contact Reneruamor@sbcglobal.net for more information.

PAYMENT OPTIONS FOR DUES

Renewal dues of $25 for 2019 are due in January.  
 

Due to a policy of the library, we can no longer accept payments for dues or workshops on their premises. In order to handle this, HSW now has a PayPal account. You can go to our website to pay your dues using the PayPal link. You do not need a PayPal account to pay with your credit card. Simply enter your card number on their secure server, and the payment will be handled. This will also make it easier to track payments with more accuracy.

To pay using PayPal, click on the renew button below then click on the PayPal button for dues. This will take you to the secure PayPal site.

Renew Now
If you absolutely cannot use PayPal to make your payment, you can send a check or money order made payable toHigh Sierra Writers, via mail to High Sierra Writers, PO Box 7825 Reno, NV 89510. 

USEFUL LINKS

While Michael C. Grumley talked about various links that can be useful to the independent author, I added a few to the list. 

One that Michael mentioned the first time around is the Grammarly site for checking your text. I use Grammarly, and I used the free site for quite a while before I committed to buying the subscription to it. Then I discovered that the free site only gives you a small percent of the potential errors in your text. I think it is worth it to spend the money for the subscription to get full access. 
     The program is great at catching punctuation errors, spelling errors, grammar errors, multiple uses of the same word in a paragraph, and suggesting alternate words. It does not replace an editor, and you may often disagree with the suggestions, so you need to apply your logic when using it. But a cleaner manuscript going to your editor will make it easier for the editor to catch the important stuff.
Find it at: https://app.grammarly.com/

Need a professional cover for your independent book? Several sites offer covers that are done by professional graphic artists, and they are within the $70 to $150-dollar range for the eBook cover. The artists charge an additional fee for the full wrap for paperback. 

Self Pub Book Covers is a good one with many artists featuring their work on it. The interactive designer makes it easy to add your own title, taglines, and author.
To check out the covers, go to: https://selfpubbookcovers.com/

Photo: Book marketing examplesAnother place where you can order illustrations, covers, graphics of any kind, like the nice 3-D images of your book cover on a book or an e-reader, is Fiverr. Artists, writers, editors, and others offer their skills on this site for prices starting as low as $5. I contracted with an artist to do the illustrations for my children’s book and ordered 7 full-color images for about $65. Be cautious though as some of these artists aren’t as good as they claim. 

To visit this site: https://www.fiverr.com/

On Facebook, you can like the Book Design Cover Marketplace where quite a few designers post their pre-made designs that you can then contact them to purchase. Most of them also do custom designs, so you can check out more of their covers on their websites and get pricing. 
Find the marketplace at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/bookcovermarketplace/

Michael also mentioned KDP Spy, which is a tool you can purchase that will help you find the best, most effective, keywords to use when listing your book on Amazon (or any other eBook seller).
To learn more about KDP Spy and order it visit this link: https://www.kdspy.com/


The HSW 2018 – 2019 Writing Contest is well underway now. How is your novel coming? Remember the entry deadline is the August 2019 HSW Meeting. While it seems like a long time, you do need to have a completed, polished manuscript of a minimum of 70,000 words for adult fiction; 65,000 for YA, and a maximum length of 100,000 words. You’ll also need a query letter and a three-paragraph blurb. 

For all the rules, visit the HSW website at this link.

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November 2018 Newsletter

Michael C Grumley Redux at November 10 Meeting

For the HSW November meeting, we are bringing back Michael C. Grumley to tell us again how he gained success as an independent writer in the public morning session. In the paid workshop that follows, he will go into more detail as he takes us step-by-step through how he became a best-selling author. 

As more than one author commented after our August, his story gives us all hope. Seating is limited for the workshop and we have about 10 left, so if you are interested, sign up right away. See Matt’s President column for details. s

The morning meeting will begin at 10:00 am with the open to all session, then continues from 1 to 4 in the afternoon. Michael will be staying in during the lunch break and will chat with people.

The meeting and workshop will be at the South Valleys Library at 15650 Wedge Pkwy, Reno, NV 89511 beginning at 10 a.m.


From the President

How many of you have a finished manuscript? All that work and now you wonder, “What do I do next? How do I get it out there?”

Maybe you’ve been looking for an agent. Your rejection slips have reached a volume where you could heat your house all winter by burning them in the fireplace.

With digital book sales now comprising over 70% of Amazon’s total book sales, the opportunities for self-publishing are real and potentially lucrative. Want to see how you might do it?

 Enter Michael Grumley. Five years ago he self-publishedBreakthrough and began using his business skills to explore how to market it. Some of his actions failed. Some succeeded. He experimented. He found a way.

Breakthrough is now a 4-book series. Michael quit his job two years ago and has book sales of $50,000 per month. All of his books have several thousand reviews.

Interested in finding how to plot your own road map to self-publishing success?

At our November meeting, Michael will hold a full-day workshop to go into detail on how he attained such spectacular results.

Attendance is limited, and only a few seats are left. Registration is now open for non-members, first-come, first-served. Registration for members is $30 and for non-members $50. To register, send an email to me atmattbayan@aol.com. On the subject line type MICHAEL GRUMLEY WORKSHOP so I don’t miss your email. Include your name, if you are an HSW member, your email address, and phone number,

Due to an issue with the library, we will be using PayPal for the payments. 

The morning meeting (10 AM to noon) is free and open to all. The afternoon meeting is what you’re registering for. Bring lunch if you’ll be at the workshop all day. Michael will be available for discussion during lunch.


IMPORTANT! PayPal Payments for the Workshop

Due to a problem with accepting payments at the library, we will be using PayPal for you to pay your workshop registration. We have set up the account and the payment button on the High Sierra Writers web site. You do not need to have a PayPal account to pay it with a credit card. If you do not wish to use PayPal, you may send your payment to the HSW post office box.

In the next few days, you will receive a confirmation for the workshop along with instructions for payment. Do not pay until you receive the confirmation with the amount owed. 

HSW 2018-2019 Novel Writing Contest

If you have dreams of getting your novel to one of the Big 5 Publishers, don’t let this contest slip past you. As announced several months ago, Donna Stegman has made arrangements to get the winning novel in this HSW contest to an acquisition editor at one of those publishing houses. This is an incredible opportunity to jump the slush pile. 

Remember this:

Entry deadline is the August 2019 meeting.
Four finalists will be announced at the September 2019 meeting.
Winner will be announced at the October 2019 meeting.
Open to PAID members of High Sierra Writers ONLY.

Manuscript must be 100% complete by the August deadline, edited and polished.
Minimum length of finished manuscript is 70,000 words for adult fiction; 65,000 for YA, and a maximum length of 100,000 words.

For full details and rules, visit the Contest page on our web site.


 

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October 2018 Newsletter

This month join former HSW president Linda Enos, who writes as Romance Queen Lynda Bailey, along with bestselling author and current HSW president, Matt Bayan, for a mash-up of two essential craft skills: developing micro-tension and replacing description with image.
 
Last month, Lynda presented the concept of micro-tension and how to develop it at the page level. We got a lot of positive feedback so we’ll continue with that this month.
 
Another writing essential is replacing overblown description and flaccid writing with dynamic images. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, let’s get rid of the thousand words.
 
Bring your laptop, tablet, or a sheet of paper with a stub of a pencil. Charcoal and a flat rock will also work. We’ll get under the hood and workshop how micro-tension and image can make your writing more powerful and engaging. Also bring a few pages of your manuscript and we’ll do some hands-on editing.
 
We’ll also work on First Pages with a focus on image and micro-tension.


The High Sierra Writers Meeting is Saturday, October 13 at 10 am at the South Valleys Library. The address is 15650 Wedge Pkwy, Reno, NV 89511. Come early to get the best parking as there may still be some soccer or baseball games being played on the surrounding fields.

From the HSW President 

Happy October,

In reference to description, Hemingway said, “We’re not interior decorators.” In writing a book, a chapter, or even a paragraph, we are challenged by the need to inform versus the need to not bore the reader. How do we keep a story moving yet give the reader enough information to understand the setting, the characters, and the plot?

October’s HSW meeting will focus on how to take description and develop it into vivid images. If a picture is worth a thousand words, let’s cut out the thousand words and focus on the picture – in this case a verbal image.

We’ll explain how to switch your mind-set to look for the gems of image that lay buried in the bloat of description.

At the same time, Linda Enos will integrate what she started last month – how to use micro-tension – into the discussion of how to replace description with image.

Bring writing samples. We’ll workshop your samples using the filter of micro-tension and specific images to accomplish a tighter, more reader-friendly outcome.

“I see pumpkins.” – Matt Bayan


Critique Group Reminder from the Wrangler


Are you expecting to enter the Big Contest in just over 10 months?

In addition to a polished manuscript and paid membership with HSW, you’ll need a critique group! You CAN wait around and join a finish group in the final 5 or 6 months (remember, it takes at least 4 months to get through a full round of completed novels, plus some time to make revisions, and finish polishing the beast), but an on-going critique group can help you stay/get on track, and support you get as you get to your best draft before the beta readers step in.

Shoot Nicole an email if you’d like to start the hunt for the right group now – cgwrangler@highsierrawriters.org

Please check the HSW web siteCritique Group page where the groups that are already formed and those looking for like-minded writers are listed. 


Or is your plot board looking a bit cluttered?

Just a reminder that the winner of this contest will have his or her manuscript submitted to the acquriing editor of one of the Big 5 Publishing houses.
 

This is a spectacular opportunity. So you want to be on top of it. Keep the key information in mind.

  • Entry deadline is the August 2019 meeting.
  • Four finalists will be announced at the September 2019 meeting.
  • Winner will be announced at the October 2019 meeting.
  • Open to PAID members of High Sierra Writers ONLY.

You have ten months to the submission deadline. Where are you on your novel? Where will you be in two months? As Nicole mentioned, use your critique group to begin cleaning up your work and get into a finish group by January to ensure your novel is read, and you have time to work on revisions. 

Check the HSW website to read all the details for this outstanding contest. 


You fail only if you stop writing.

-Ray Bradbury    


NaNoWriMo is coming.

Beginning November 1 to November 30, writers around the world will throw down words like fiends to complete 50,000 words during the month. If you want to try your hand at it, talk to Rene Averett, who is one of the co-Municipal Liaisons for the Reno/Sparks area, for more information. You can email her atruamor@sbcglobal.net or find her on the Facebook NaNa Reno site. 


 

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September 2018 Newsletter

This month join former HSW president Linda Enos, who writes as Romance Queen Lynda Bailey, along with bestselling author and current HSW president, Matt Bayan, for a mash-up of two essential craft skills: developing micro-tension and replacing description with image.
 
Last month, Lynda presented the concept of micro-tension and how to develop it at the page level. We got a lot of positive feedback so we’ll continue with that this month.
 
Another writing essential is replacing overblown description and flaccid writing with dynamic images. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, let’s get rid of the thousand words.
 
Bring your laptop, tablet, or a sheet of paper with a stub of a pencil. Charcoal and a flat rock will also work. We’ll get under the hood and workshop how micro-tension and image can make your writing more powerful and engaging. Also bring a few pages of your manuscript and we’ll do some hands-on editing.
 
We’ll also work on First Pages with a focus on image and micro-tension.


The High Sierra Writers Meeting is Saturday, October 13 at 10 am at the South Valleys Library. The address is 15650 Wedge Pkwy, Reno, NV 89511. Come early to get the best parking as there may still be some soccer or baseball games being played on the surrounding fields.

From the HSW President 

Happy October,

In reference to description, Hemingway said, “We’re not interior decorators.” In writing a book, a chapter, or even a paragraph, we are challenged by the need to inform versus the need to not bore the reader. How do we keep a story moving yet give the reader enough information to understand the setting, the characters, and the plot?

October’s HSW meeting will focus on how to take description and develop it into vivid images. If a picture is worth a thousand words, let’s cut out the thousand words and focus on the picture – in this case a verbal image.

We’ll explain how to switch your mind-set to look for the gems of image that lay buried in the bloat of description.

At the same time, Linda Enos will integrate what she started last month – how to use micro-tension – into the discussion of how to replace description with image.

Bring writing samples. We’ll workshop your samples using the filter of micro-tension and specific images to accomplish a tighter, more reader-friendly outcome.

“I see pumpkins.” – Matt Bayan


Critique Group Reminder from the Wrangler


Are you expecting to enter the Big Contest in just over 10 months?

In addition to a polished manuscript and paid membership with HSW, you’ll need a critique group! You CAN wait around and join a finish group in the final 5 or 6 months (remember, it takes at least 4 months to get through a full round of completed novels, plus some time to make revisions, and finish polishing the beast), but an on-going critique group can help you stay/get on track, and support you get as you get to your best draft before the beta readers step in.

Shoot Nicole an email if you’d like to start the hunt for the right group now – cgwrangler@highsierrawriters.org

Please check the HSW web siteCritique Group page where the groups that are already formed and those looking for like-minded writers are listed. 


Or is your plot board looking a bit cluttered?

Just a reminder that the winner of this contest will have his or her manuscript submitted to the acquriing editor of one of the Big 5 Publishing houses.
 

This is a spectacular opportunity. So you want to be on top of it. Keep the key information in mind.

  • Entry deadline is the August 2019 meeting.
  • Four finalists will be announced at the September 2019 meeting.
  • Winner will be announced at the October 2019 meeting.
  • Open to PAID members of High Sierra Writers ONLY.

You have ten months to the submission deadline. Where are you on your novel? Where will you be in two months? As Nicole mentioned, use your critique group to begin cleaning up your work and get into a finish group by January to ensure your novel is read, and you have time to work on revisions. 

Check the HSW website to read all the details for this outstanding contest. 


NaNoWriMo is coming.

Beginning November 1 to November 30, writers around the world will throw down words like fiends to complete 50,000 words during the month. If you want to try your hand at it, talk to Rene Averett, who is one of the co-Municipal Liaisons for the Reno/Sparks area, for more information. You can email her atruamor@sbcglobal.net or find her on the Facebook NaNa Reno site. 


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August 2018 Newsletter

August HSW Meeting 

 

Learn How to Get New Readers and Reviews with Michael C. Grumley

How does a self-published author get 8,000 reviews on his first book? How does he develop a series that has gotten several thousand reviews on each release? Ask these questions (and many more) of Michael C. Grumley at our August meeting.

If you’ve wondered how to kick-start your book sales, you’ll have a chance to meet someone who has done exactly that and in a big way.

He’ll be our guest and will make a presentation on his career, followed by an interview and Q & A session.

About Michael C. Grumley

For years, Michael C. Grumley dreamed of writing thrillers the way he thought they should be written; complex, multi-genre stories with unique plots that ‘move’. Enter BREAKTHROUGH, AMID THE SHADOWS, and THROUGH THE FOG: all deeply human stories with endings you will never see coming.

Michael C. Grumley lives in Northern California with his wife and two young daughters where he works in the Information Technology field. He’s an avid reader, runner, and most of all father. He dotes on his girls every chance he gets.

His website is http://www.michaelgrumley.com. Check it out for more about his books.

He is currently working on the next Breakthrough story.


The August High Sierra Writers Meeting will be on Saturday August 11th at the South Valleys Library on Wedge Parkway. (The yellow building surrounded by ball parks.) The meeting begins at 10 and runs until noon. Matt will be doing First Pages at this meeting.


From the President, Matt Bayan

Many of you attended our meeting a few months ago where Mignon Fogarty (Grammar Girl) gave us a taste of how she has become hugely successful by mastering major platforms of social media. If you weren’t at that meeting, Grammar Girl has spawned numerous bestselling books and has a following in the hundreds of thousands on major social media platforms. All of this started by her creating simple podcasts over a decade ago.
 
Many of you voiced interest in having her come back and conduct a full-day workshop. The goal of the workshop: train us on the step-by-step method we can take to use social media to increase book marketing success.
 
To do an all-day workshop, we need to pay her. So, we’d like to get a head count of how many of you would be interested in attending this workshop (probably in March) if we charged for it. We need at least 20 attendees to make this work.
 
So, how much would you be willing to pay for this all-day workshop? And don’t say $10 because that just won’t work. I think somewhere between $30 and $50 would make this possible. HSW will kick in money to subsidize the event, but the more people sign up, the lower the ticket price can be. So, give us an idea of what the workshop is truly worth to you and email us the highest price you’d be willing to pay.
 
We may open this up to the public, but we want to be sure our members have first dibs.
 
Please respond ASAP so we can either schedule the event or forget about it. Send your response to: enoslinda@sbcglobal.net

Matt


Critique Group Update

Critique Group Wrangling is now online and <mostly> self-service!  If you’d like your name added or deleted from the ‘looking for a group’ list, or your group added, deleted, or status change (open/closed), be sure to email Nicole atcgwrangler@highsierrawriters.org.   

Contest info:  it takes a month or longer on average to get people into new critique groups, so don’t dawdle when you’re ready!  This will be especially true for all of the expected ‘finish’ groups (full novel beta reading) for the contest next summer. You should get on the ‘looking’ listing and indicate when you anticipate being ready to join a finish group a month or more in advance of being ready. Finish groups typically consist of 4 members who read one manuscript a month. You’ll want to get in on that at least 6 months before the contest so that IF your novel is the last one read, you still have some time to make your edits (again).


The “i before e” Controversy

Maybe you heard the rule when you were a child: “I before e except after c or when sounded like a as in neighbor and weigh.”

While this axiom handles most of the spelling issues in English regarding the sequence of these two letters next to each other in a word, many exceptions do exist. In fact, this rule only applies to about 75% of the words we use with ie/ei combination.

Merriam Webster points out numerous variations that buck up against this rule; such as words that have a sh sound like glacier, or words that appear in superlatives like fancier. Don’t forget the combo has an sound in height.

If you add ing to a root word ending in e, it may remain before the i, as in cueing. Then you have the random exceptions like science and weird.

Your best bet to get these right is to turn on your spellchecker and let it do the work.

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July 2018 Newsletter

NY Times Best Selling Author
 Will Speak at HSW Meeting!

July 14 Meeting Features New York Times #1 Bestseller, Ellen Hopkins

Ever want to question how a New York Times #1 author got there? Here’s your chance. Our July meeting will be devoted to one of the biggies: Ellen Hopkins.

Join us for a discussion on craft, Q&A, and what it takes to become a wildly successful author. Starting with the massively successful novel, CRANK, we’ll discuss how her career developed into her worldwide popularity.
 
Ellen Hopkins is a poet, freelance writer, and the award-winning author of twenty non-fiction titles, three novels for adults, and thirteen NY Times Bestselling novels-in-verse. She has published hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from aviation to child abuse to wine-growing. Ellen is a regular speaker at schools, book festivals, and writers’ conferences across the US, and now throughout the world.

If you want her to autograph a copy of one of her titles, bring it with you. Just don’t steal one from the library shelves. They get prickly when we do that.

Photo credit: Ellen Hopkins at the 2011 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas, United States. Larry D. Moore (Wikipedia) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellen_Hopkins#/media/File:Ellen_hopkins_2011.jpg
Photo & book graphic design by Rene Averett

From the HSW President

In previous HSW meetings, we’ve sometimes discussed the relationship of poetry to prose. Mostly we’ve focused on how the intensity and compression of poetry can be used to develop short, crisp images to replace rambling description.

Our July guest, Ellen Hopkins, has taken poetry into an even more difficult area. She has successfully used poetry to shrink prose to its absolute narrative core. She captures the interactions of characters in a distillation that is amazingly powerful in the sparseness of its approach.

I read her first novel, CRANK, in preparation for her visit. Apart from the gripping nature of the work, I got schooled on how bloated my own writing now seems in comparison. If you don’t attend another meeting this year, attend this one on July 14.

Matt 


Membership Renewals

A reminder that if you are joining or renewing your HSW membership by mailing in a check, please include your email address on the check or on a note in the envelope. This way, we can ensure that you get on the newsletter email list. 

If you haven’t renewed your membership, please do so soon to continue all the great benefits of being an HSW member. Thanks!


Critique Group Shakeup!

Get excited, everyone; we’re going to try something new in the land of Critique Group Wrangling! 

We will now have all of our current groups, as well as those looking for a group, listed on the website. There are two parts to our new system: 

1. The current groups (whether open or currently closed to new members) are listed so the leader of an open group can be contacted directly by a looker.

2. There will also be a list of those looking for a group, and they can contact each other and either choose to stay on the list as a looker, or form a group and be taken off the looker list and put on the ‘group’ list (as either open or closed). 

So head on over to the website and check out the lists. And if you have a group to be added (or deleted or altered), and/or if you’d like to join the list of those looking for groups, (either a finish group or an on-going group), let Critique Group Wrangler Nicole know!
cgwrangler@highsierrawriters.org


New HSW Writing Contest

At last month’s meeting, Donna Stegman announced this year’s writing contest and it is something special. If you weren’t at the meeting and haven’t gotten the word, the information and rules are posted on the High Sierra Writers website at www.highsierrawriters.org. 

Look for 2018-2019 Novel Writing Contest in the Menu bar at the top. Or click on this link: 
http://highsierrawriters.org/2018-2019-novel-writing-contest/

This will be a great opportunity for the winner, so check it out.  Image: checkmark

 


Your Book on the HSW Website

Just a reminder, if you are an HSW member and you’ve published a book, we are happy to add your book cover and a link to the sales page on the HSW website. We are proud of our members who publish and would like to highlight their achievements. 

If you have a book or books to list, please send a cover image and the address link to Rene at ruamor@sbcglobal.net 

While you’re at it, peruse the listings at:
http://highsierrawriters.org/hsw-authors/


Quick Grammar Tips

Grammar can be a big stumbling block for writers, particularly when words sound the same but are spelled differently or are used in more than one way. I’ll be posting a quick tip each month to help you figure out when to use what word.

This month: Is it toward or towards? Or backward or backwards?

If you’re not sure which one to use, you’re not alone. I used to ponder over that question myself, but it isn’t as hard as it seems. The rule applies to toward, backward, forward, and most any other -ward word. It’s a basic preference in usage. The only difference is the s. Most Americans prefer to omit the while most Europeans use the s. You can use the one you prefer.

There is an argument that the word without the is an adjective and with the s, it’s an adverb. But that’s only a guideline, not a rule. 

The real rule here is consistency. Whichever style you chose to use, stay consistent with it in your writing. At least, for the book you’re working on. Feel free to change it for a different book.


 

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