Wendy Delsol guest blogs at savvyauthors.com

August 21, 2010

Wendy Delsol guest blogs at savvyauthors.

Interview copied below:

WHY IT NEVER HURTS TO MAKE A FEW GOOD PALS By Wendy Delsol

Published: 08-21-2010 07:00 AM
Because writing is such a solitary endeavor, it helps to cultivate a few pals. In my case, PAL is actually an acronym for Published Authors’ Liaison . I’m convinced that at every stage of a writer’s career it’s essential to find and sustain support. While honing the craft and agent/editor hunting, critique groups and writers’ conferences are great resources. But who do you turn to once you’ve signed that first contract? Among authors, what opportunities exist to network, share information, and provide mutual promotional support? I couldn’t find anything like it in the Des Moines area, so I just went ahead and started one. Thus, the Published Authors’ Liaison of Central Iowa was born.

At PAL’s July 2009 first meeting, eight writers (representing an array of genres: mystery, literary, women’s fiction, YA fiction, children’s, and middle grade) met for introductions.

Since that first meeting, PAL has met four more times and its membership has grown to eleven (now including the genres of science fiction, food, and historical nonfiction).

In the group’s first year, the following topics were addressed:

Just who qualifies for membership? Certainly, a society of published writers can take many forms. For our purposes, it was decided to follow the guidelines of organizations such as Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America and define published as advance earning authors who are with a non-vanity, non-subsidy, non-electronic book publisher. In limiting membership this way, our goal is to focus on the promotional obligations and expectations specific to the publisher/author relationship.

What is our mission? To network, share information, and provide mutual promotional support.

How is this mission accomplished? Being the busy-bee writers that we are, it was decided that we’d meet four times a year, seasonally as it turns out. Each meeting would have an assigned topic. Below are some of the tangible outcomes of the group’s collaboration:
For the Writer’s Guide to 2010 by Writer’s Institute Publications , Sharelle Byars Moranville contributed an article entitled “Beethoven Versus the Crickets, Description in Fiction.” Fellow PAL writers—Kali Vanbaale , Mike Manno , Rebecca Janni , Kimberly Stuart , Eileen Boggess , Jan Blazanin —and I were quoted for the article. Free publicity none of us would have received had we not teamed with Sharelle for mutual promotion.

PAL of Central Iowa now has its own blog. Content and categories include meeting details, author profiles, author news, and book launch announcements. All PAL members have access to the blog’s dashboard and can post on any topic related to writing.

PAL of Central Iowa has a facebook fan page. Again, all members can post status updates on any author-related topics.
At the launch parties for Eileen Boggess’s MIA THE MELODRAMATIC, Rebecca Janni’s EVERY COWGIRL NEEDS A HORSE, and Mike Manno’s END OF THE LINE, fellow PAL members were in attendance. Writers often share stories of sparsely attended bookstore events. Not only do PAL members give priority to one another’s appearances, but also help spread the word. Nor does it hurt to have a few friendly faces in the crowd ready with an interesting query should the audience get shy during the question and answers period.
PAL members have researched and shared information on book fairs and author events where signings and book sales will take place. One such example is the Iowa Center for the Book’sThe Write Stuff: Iowa Author Fair 2010” .

Busy freelance writer Sharelle Byars Moranville, partnering with fellow PAL member Jan Blazanin, again penned an article, this time for The Writer’s Guide to 2011. The article entitled “Promotion Motion” opened with a description of our very first PAL meeting. The piece interviews members Rebecca Janni, Susan Maupin Schmid, and me. Regarding PAL, I state: “Ironically, the act of writing is an introspective undertaking. The type of personality that is well suited to hours of contemplation and reflection isn’t always the most outgoing or gregarious of temperaments. Nonetheless, a book requires promotion and today’s author is expected to sing its—and our own—praises. It’s comforting and encouraging to have backup singers. With any luck, they can dance too!”

PAL’s August 2010 meeting took place at Beaverdale Books and discussed opportunities for cross promotion between authors and independent bookstores with owner Alice Meyer. It was fascinating to view the book industry from the perspective of a bookseller. Alice shared her trust in the Midwest Booksellers Association as a source for book recommendations. New Pages was cited as a source for a state-by-state listing of independent books, while Alice reiterated that a local angle and personal contact from the author often makes a difference when selecting titles for the shelf. Finally, our group and Beaverdale Books will cross promote via website links.

Next up for PAL, Tweeting 101. Those members who have successfully been using this form of social media will help get their fellow writers up to speed on the @ing, #ing, and DMing of Twitter.

Today’s writers wear many hats, one of which is that of circus barker. So even if it’s entirely out of your comfort range and makes you feel like, well, a freak, it helps to have support. So, what the heck, sign up a few fellow writers, pitch a tent, hand out megaphones, and spread the step-right-up message. Your book will have multiple promoters and more than likely you’ll make a few new friends—PALs—in the process.

Bio: Wendy Delsol (http://www.wendydelsol.com) writes both young adult and women’s fiction. Her YA novel STORK releases with Candlewick Press on October 12, 2010. In 2011, The McCloud Home for Wayward Girls will be published in August by Penguin and Stork’s sequel, FROST, will release in September, again with Candlewick.

(note: PAL picture includes, left to right: Kimberly Stuart, Wendy Delsol, Wini Moranville, Kali VanBaale, Susan Maupin Schmid, Jan Blazanin, Rebecca Janni, Mike Manno, Sharelle Byars Moranville)

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