Local author to host publishing workshop

Date: 1/8/2015

LONGMEADOW – Dawn Metcalf, a critically acclaimed author of dark, quirky, and sometimes speculative fiction, will be presenting a workshop called “How To Get Published,” for writers seeking to publish their creative works on Jan. 20 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

“What we’re going to be focusing on is how to get published and that’s something I wish I had known way back when I was really interested in being published but I had no idea what this giant business was like,” Metcalf told Reminder Publications.

The workshop will include the finer points of the publishing business, including query letters, critique partners, blurbs and online resources, she added.

“I want to kind of demystify what traditional publishing looks like; how you send in queries, who do you report to?” Metcalf said. “What’s a query blurb? These are words that are tossed around but if you don’t know them, it doesn’t mean much.

“I’d also like to give very concrete examples of things that work or online resources and good places to go to get the information about either agents or how to write a query letter or what’s a synopsis or what are submission’s like?” she continued.

Metcalf said the publishing workshop would focus on the tools for navigating the publishing industry as a whole without a specific emphasis on approaching traditional, small or online publishing companies.

“The truth is that the publishing industry is changing so rapidly that a lot of agents I know tell people with self-publishing, ‘I know a lot of traditional published people who are doing self- publishing and a lot of self- publishing people who are interested in traditional publishing,’” she noted. “So, it’s all kind of overlapping nowadays.

“Knowing how to write a blurb may not be relevant if you don’t plan on having a query letter or don’t plan on having your own agent,” she continued. “But it’s a useful skill for being able to put that blurb in your online presentation.”

An elevator pitch – the ability to explain what your book is about in ten seconds or less or in one sentence – is also an important skill for writers to develop, Metcalf noted.

“That’s a skill that’s really necessary when you go to professional conventions or when you speak with editors and agents, but also I say it’s a really good skill to have when your friends and family hear that you wrote a book and then they say, ‘What is it about?’ And you should have something very quick to tell them because if you try to explain the whole thing their eyes glass over and fall back and that’s no fun,” she said. 

Metcalf, who resides in northern Connecticut, has three published books – one adult and two young adult fiction books. The second book in Metcalf’s Twixt series was published on Sept. 30, 2014 by Harlequin Teen.

The young adult dark fantasy Twixt series was described by Metcalf as a combination of Tim Burton’s 1990 film “Edward Scissorhands” and Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

“It’s just your average story of boy meets girl, girl meets boy, boy stabs girl into the eye, plunging her into a world of monsters, illusions, magic, and revenge, and a plot to end the age of mankind,” she explained.

The third book in the Twixt series is anticipated to be published in August and the fourth will likely come out sometime next year, Metcalf added.

Metcalf previously presented a workshop at Storrs Library on Oct. 7, 2014 called “Exploring the Writing Life,” which focused on the writing process. The upcoming workshop will be a follow-up program.

“[The publishing business] is changing a lot so it’s really important to have people in the industry pay it forward to other people who would like to enter the industry.”

Metcalf said several writers who attended her past workshops were inspired to either present at conferences or join a writing organization. One person was also able to have their work published for the first time.
“We all plan to write someday but the difference is sitting down and actually doing it,” she added.

For more information about Metcalf visit www.dawnmetcalf.com. To register for the workshop fill out a form at www.longmeadowlibrary.wordpress.com or call the reference desk at Storrs Library at 565-418, ext. 1620.