PDA

View Full Version : What Would You Do? - Disappointments in Writerly Socialization



tjwriter
06-01-2007, 07:15 PM
So there seems to be a recently formed group for writers in my local area. They go under the name Midwest Writers Guild (http://midwestwg.com/). I would really like a group to meet in person with in addition to the great things here at AW. (Shameless, I know.) But upon looking at the website, it seems most of these people publish through iuniverse, infinity, or authorhouse.

After discovering that, I don't know that what there will be any benefit for me to go. I thought about observing a meeting once to see how it goes, but if they encourage each other to pay to publish, I'll know it's not the place for me. It's a bit discouraging because I had some high hopes.

Then, in my area, there is a the Ropewalk Writers Retreat every year. You go, do workshops and do all this great stuff. After landing my new job, I thought that I could afford to go next year. Looking at some of the material available, I discovered that a man speaking this year about getting published, printed a book with PA earlier this year. I don't know that I could attend that and not make a scene if they started spouting things that weren't true. Link on Ropewalk Alumni (http://www.usi.edu/ropewalk/alumni.asp). Another disappointing time. I really thought about going to one of these.

So what do you think, and what would you do?

veinglory
06-01-2007, 07:21 PM
I suggest that you give it a go, you never know. It can be useful to talk about writing with any group and they may not be self-publishng cheerleaders but have a balanced view.

scarletpeaches
06-01-2007, 07:22 PM
Start your own group?

You could have a statement of intent...that's not the right word I'm looking for, but you could make it known that it's a group for people who desire publication in a particular medium or form. Fiction noveleers or peots, or whatever you choose. :D

MidnightMuse
06-01-2007, 07:23 PM
If this is something you really wanted to do - I'd suggest you give it a try, at least once. Go to their meeting, see what happens, what kind of people they are - what they talk about. It could be that only a handful of them POD and the rest are trying to get published the regular way.

If you don't like it, you don't have to go back.

larocca
06-01-2007, 07:25 PM
Don't we have a place right here on AW where you can post your writing for feedback? You'll get a lot more replies that way than you will in a local group, and quite probably far more intelligent ones.

On the other hand, we have a local group here in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and there's something to be said for just hanging out talking about writing. And I tend to hate socializing. Finding Forrester is my role model!

And yet again I straddle both sides of an issue better than a politician and give you nothing useful. Hey, it's a gift.

Siddow
06-01-2007, 07:28 PM
I would go and check it out. You can always meet other like-minded folks at the big meeting and wrangle them into your own little group.

(And I'd have to break out in big giggles if I heard a PA author talking about how to get published. Might want to skip that lecture if you're prone to the same fits.)

veinglory
06-01-2007, 07:31 PM
As another Indiana option there is a group I go to: http://woogi4writers.blogspot.com/

We range the whole way from major press through small press, epublishing and unpublished members--but there is an emphasis on genre/popular writing.

Williebee
06-01-2007, 07:41 PM
What side of E-ville are you on? (Didn't that question come out nice.)
We have a small group meeting now near St. Louis. In Fairview Heights. It grew out of the last Nano. Mostly fiction Novelists, a comic book writer or two, and a couple of non-fiction writers. We meet about every three weeks. Saturdays from 2-9PM. (Folks come and go throughout, the formal stuff happens at the mid point.) Next meeting is Saturday, June 9th. Want to come over and play?

veinglory
06-01-2007, 07:43 PM
p.s. anyone will a regional writers group who wants to swap links or think about some joint promo/activities, just drop me a PM... my group is mainly based in Lafayette with some Indianapolis connections.

ccarver30
06-01-2007, 07:45 PM
I agree with the whole anti self-publish thing. I think it is the easy way out...
Maybe you should just keep looking for a group instead of "settling" for one of these... :)

tjwriter
06-01-2007, 07:57 PM
Thanks for the responses so far.

The thing about my area is that it tends be artistically deprived, and I'm about four hours south of Indy and three hours east of St. Louis. Louisville is about two hours away to my east, so options are very limited.

I think I may attend one of writers guild meetings to see what it's all about.

Does anyone have opinions on the second part? The retreat? It costs about $600 just to go. There seem to be some people published by legit presses there, but I guess what really concerns is that they are having a person recently published by PA speaking about getting published.

MidnightMuse
06-01-2007, 08:02 PM
Well, is the title of his lecture: Don't Make The Same Mistakes? or What Not To Do? That might be interesting.

But if his lecture is titled: The Next Big Wave of Publishing. or Let's Publish, America ! Then maybe not so much.

kristie911
06-01-2007, 10:55 PM
I finally worked up my courage to attend my local writers group (I hate going places where I don't know anyone and I don't really like people that much! :) ). I had high hopes of connecting with people like myself who wrote and dealt with the disappointments of finding an agent or publisher. Imagine my disappointment when I get there and everyone in the room is over 70 (and some WELL over 70) and writing their memoirs to self-publish! Needless to say it was an interesting meeting...I didn't learn anything new but it wasn't exactly a waste of time either. They were all very nice. :)

Moral of the story: Just give it a shot...it's just an hour, you don't have to go back.

And to your second question: Unless you see something specific on the agenda you want to go to, that seems like a lot of money to shell out for a conference you're not sure you'll learn anything at. But then I'm kind of cheap...

Tasmin21
06-02-2007, 03:49 AM
I experienced a similar disappointment, when investigating a writing group where I live. Unfortunately, they require $60 to "enroll in their critiquing classes". I don't have that to waste. I was kinda bummed.

Siddow
06-02-2007, 05:35 AM
Personally, I wouldn't spend the money on the retreat. Save that cash for one where there's agents and editors, and established writers, not just ones that have been published but you've never heard of them. (Not that there's anything wrong with small press or unestablished-but-published authors, but really, think about it: if you wouldn't attend their free book signing at the local indie, would you really pay $600 to hear them lecture?)

Definitly go to a club meeting. It sounds to me like you are looking for RL writers to hang with. That's where you'll find them. Be chatty, ask where people live (if it's like mine and folks from anywhere in a 100-mile radius show up), what they write; hand out business cards to anyone and everyone near you, ask if they have critique groups, offer to form one...just go. It'll be fun.

But yeah, be prepared for the memoir geriatric group. They're everywhere! (not that there's anything wrong with them, either...sheesh, I sound like Seinfeld)

Novelhistorian
06-02-2007, 06:06 AM
Save the money on the retreat. Years ago, I attended a few sessions of a well-known writers' conference near my home city, and though I liked meeting an agent or two, the panelists always said the same thing . . . badly. I remember in particular attending a lecture on characterization by a very well published author, and by the time she got to "Love Boat" as an illustration of how symbolism works in creating character, I was moving for the exits--past people standing up to hear her. The only thing worse than that would have been spending the more than $500 it now costs to attend that conference.

But the club meeting is a different story. Go once, and promise yourself that if it doesn't work out, you'll fortify yourself afterward with your favorite adult beverage or chocolate.

One way of looking at this is, if you have to pay for it, it had damn well better be worth the money. If you meet an editor or agent who likes your work, that's business, and worth the money. Social contacts should be free. Would you pay someone to be a writing friend?

benbradley
06-02-2007, 06:32 AM
Start your own group?

You could have a statement of intent...that's not the right word I'm looking for, but you could make it known that it's a group for people who desire publication in a particular medium or form. Fiction noveleers or peots, or whatever you choose. :D
You mean a "Mission Statement?" How about "Money flows toward The Author."


Thanks for the responses so far.

The thing about my area is that it tends be artistically deprived, and I'm about four hours south of Indy and three hours east of St. Louis. Louisville is about two hours away to my east, so options are very limited.

I think I may attend one of writers guild meetings to see what it's all about.

Does anyone have opinions on the second part? The retreat? It costs about $600 just to go. There seem to be some people published by legit presses there, but I guess what really concerns is that they are having a person recently published by PA speaking about getting published.
My oninion is you can buy a heck of a lot of good books on writing for $600. Or you could buy a computer and a month or two of DSL Internet service. The AW Water Cooler registration is free.;)

Siddow
06-02-2007, 07:27 AM
My oninion is ...;)

Sorry, Ben, but I love this typo.

Had to save it. It's my new favorite word. :D

kristie911
06-02-2007, 08:49 AM
Social contacts should be free. Would you pay someone to be a writing friend?

You guys don't pay people to be your friends?! Um..well...ah, of course I don't either.

:D

zahra
06-03-2007, 12:42 AM
You guys don't pay people to be your friends?! Um..well...ah, of course I don't either.

:D

Your last cheque bounced. I withdraw my friendship.

Jamesaritchie
06-03-2007, 01:26 AM
For me, at least, a good retreat is worth ten conferences. It all depends what your needs and wants are.

veinglory
06-03-2007, 01:38 AM
Oninion [n]: stating your perspective when you suspect it will make someone cry

Anthony Ravenscroft
06-03-2007, 07:16 PM
If you can make your opinions clear, go to the cheap/free events. Chances are you're not the only one there with your sort of feelings; think of yourself as doing a service by thinning the malcontents from the herd.

Since the people you talk to are self-selected, you'll probably have a more-focussed mix than if you (say) put up an ad at the local bookshop. From there, you can all decide whether to start one big group, or a bunch of more specialised groups.

But I wouldn't bother with anything that's "how to get published" dominated by people who paid, because the answer's right there: send a check. You're probably bright enough to already know that much.

PeeDee
06-03-2007, 07:26 PM
It probably makes me reclusive and neurotic (sigh), but mostly, I steer clear from writer gatherings altogether. For that matter, I steer clear of reading groups too. I know my views and opinions on things, but so often I find people who don't, or who just have knee-jerk ignorances that they cherish (Harry Potter is evil; to be a writer, you must be angst-filled, get published, you will be rich) and that they won't change.

Dealing with people is exhausting enough anyway. Dealing with that, I just get frustrated and perplexed.


AW was a rare gem; mostly, apart from here, I keep writing to myself and a few friends.

Novelhistorian
06-04-2007, 12:06 AM
I know what you mean about reading groups, Pete. The last one cured me forever. Madame Bovary was, acording to the group consensus, nothing special; ditto, Huckleberry Finn; and what was the fuss about Dubliners? Couldn't James Joyce get a life, or something, so that he wouldn't write such depressing stuff?

KTC
06-04-2007, 03:10 PM
I would give it a try...but keep the meter-stick handy. You want to stay away from people who are too stupid, in this information highway age, to stay away from writing scams. If they are all a bunch of lemmings, jumping to publish with places like PA...stay away. Maybe they are just awakening, just getting rid of the sting of the scam. A writing group can open many eyes to the rape and pillage of wordsmiths. Walk softly at the first meeting, and carry a big stick.

PeeDee
06-04-2007, 06:08 PM
I know what you mean about reading groups, Pete. The last one cured me forever. Madame Bovary was, acording to the group consensus, nothing special; ditto, Huckleberry Finn; and what was the fuss about Dubliners? Couldn't James Joyce get a life, or something, so that he wouldn't write such depressing stuff?

*Pete quietly agrees that all James Joyce needed was a hug and a cup of STFU, and then Pete quietly slinks away*