I’m very excited to be giving a one-day workshop on writer promotion at this year’s Women’s Words in Edmonton. It’s the program’s 20th anniversary this year, and the line-up is looking stellar!
Here are just a few of the instructors/sessions:
- Caterina Edwards and Jean Crozier invite you to “Dive the family treasure trunk!”
- Shirley Serviss will be wearing her walking shoes while students “Write Downtown”
- Judy Schultz tells you to “Write what you know” as she shares her creative nonfiction techniques
And here’s the blurb for mine:
Gone are the days a writer can afford to work in isolation. Now, each author—whether with a traditional publisher or going “Indie”—faces pressure to be their own promoter, online and in real life. Learn to make the best use of precious time and money. Come away knowing: the difference between marketing and promotion; how to identify your promotional personality strengths (and challenges); the most important online tools, and one “sin” to avoid for each. You’ll select an online and “analog” tool to immediately integrate into your promotional strategies.
Hope to see you there!
This past Saturday night was the first annual #Yeggies awards in Edmonton for New Media. I got to go with pal Dana DiTomaso (@danaditomaso), who gave out the first prize of the evening (her company, Kick Point, was one of the sponsors). What a great event and lovely group of people! Host Trent Wilkie (@thetrentwilkie) was hilarious (even for a semi-geek like me who doesn’t always get the Star Wars references). Oh, and I don’t know who the caterer was, but the tiramisu-in-shot-glasses was amazing!
It was particularly great to chat with the following folks:
@bingo fuel (aka Adam Rozenhart)
@ekymson (aka Eldon Kymson)
@Paulatics (aka Paula Simons)
@KikkiPlanet (never did figure out her real name!)
And Tanis Miller, creator of Attack of the Redneck Mommy blog (and Best in Family or Parenting category winner!).
I just gave a workshop “Writing History into Your Work” at this year’s Creative Nonfiction Collective conference at the beautiful Banff Centre for the Arts!
The conference lineup this year also included:
- Keynote speaker Karen Connelly
- Sessions with Tyler Trafford, Kate Braid, Cathy Ostlere, and Lynne Bowen
- A plenary called “What the heck is going on?” featuring Don Sedgwick (Transatlantic Literary Agency), Steven Ross Smith (Banff Centre), and Allison McNeely about the current status of digital publishing
- the ever-popular CNF cabaret and Reader’s Choice Awards
Anne Gafiuk, a colleague and participant in the workshop had this to say:
“Approximately fifty delegates came together to participate in workshops, readings, a plenary session, to hear a guest speaker, do some networking, learning, experience camaraderie and enjoy good food! Some people came all the way from Halifax and Nanaimo, plus many places in-between, including numerous writers from Alberta. At Danielle’s session, we shared what areas we were interested in and what tools we would need to accomplish our goals. I came away with more ideas and was also able to contribute a few, too. Before we knew it, our ninety minutes was over! We were so engaged; we all agreed we could have continued until noon. “
As I promised to Anne and the other participants, here’s some info to help you on your historic journey – and answers to those burning questions they brainstormed! Thanks to all who came out, participated, and contributed so much energy at 9am!
- portable scanner
- digital camera
- digital voice recorder
- notebook and pens/pencils
- memory stick/external hard drive
- Drop Box/Cloud
- transcription services
- empathy and a sense of humour
- Google and GoogleEarth
- David Rumsey Map Collection
- Twitter and Facebook
- Subject-specific sites (like aviation, for example)
- Local archives or museum
- Historical and genealogical societies
- Historian laureates (kind of like writers in residence)
- Universities or colleges
- Knowledgeable individuals
Historical Q&A’s (for the whole list about research, ethical issues, etc, please click here):
How do you work in history when you are not a historian?
I’m biased toward professional historians, because I’ve seen major differences between how historians and non-historians go about research and documentation, and between how journalists interview and historians conduct oral interviews.
A great example of a non-historian “doing history” is someone like Pierre Berton, who has been credited with popularizing Canadian History. He started out as a journalist and had a set of skills and experience in that field, and then moved into historical territory. There can be a lot of overlap, but I’ve spoken with professional historians who were his friends and gave him grief for his sometimes flippant attitude toward historical accuracy. It does sound like he got more and more careful as he went on (and employed many researchers, transcriptionists, and fact-checkers on his projects). I’m all for the democratization of history but I also believe in maintaining professional standards. It’s a tension I struggle with daily.
If you’re going to be a self-taught historian, I would recommend the following texts:
- Keith Jenkins: Re-thinking History
- The Craft of Research
- Oxford’s Writing History
- The Chicago Manual of Style
- Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide
- Colleen Fitzpatrick’s Forensic Genealogy
- Pierre Berton’s The Joy of Writing
And take courses, workshops or attend historical conferences whenever you can to learn new skills and hear different perspectives.
Since 2010, I have co-organized a monthly mixer group in Edmonton for creative women professionals. I am constantly amazed by their expertise and experience, and thought I would do Q&A’s with them to get their stories – and tips!
SG Wong attended the University of Alberta, where she earned a B.A. (Honours) in English Literature. After that lively (mis)adventure, she lived in Japan, where she continued her studies in Japanese, occasionally taught English, and met a very intriguing man. In her spare time now, she is the mother of two school-aged children.
How are you involved in the community?
I’m currently Vice President of the Get Publishing Communications Society. I am also one of an enormous cadre of volunteers working to put on this year’s conference, Words in 3 Dimensions (wordsin3d.com), happening May 24-26, right here in Edmonton.
In the world outside of writing, I volunteer with my neighbourhood community garden. Although I don’t garden there, I help put on speakers and workshops for the entire neighbourhood. Also, I have the privilege of organizing the Staff Appreciation Lunch every year at my children’s school. It’s such a wonderful opportunity to show our teachers and support staff that we, as a parent community, are grateful for their commitment to our children.
What is the best thing about your career?
The best thing about my career is that I set my own hours and I’m a workaholic. I can slip into my office whenever I have a spare moment and jot down notes or “scribble” out a scene (on the laptop). I like the flexibility of my hours immensely. I can volunteer at my children’s school or be involved in my community garden and still write. I’m also able to take my children to and pick them up from school. The pick-up time is especially nice after a day of transcribing the noise and “busy-ness” inside my head (ie., writing).
This is my dream career; it truly is.
Where do you hope to be in a year? Two years? Five years?
I’m not big on “career projections,” but I am good at daydreaming. So, let’s see. I imagine myself travelling more to conferences across Canada and the States (expenses paid, of course!). When my children are older, I hope they travel with me to some conferences as well. It’s a fun, adventurous way to spend time with them individually, which I think is so important to our relationship.
My plans for my working life include a steady cycle of writing/editing/promoting. At any given time, I imagine I should have one book in promotions, one in editing and another in the draft writing stage. I’m not sure I can manage more than three at a time, but I guess I’ll see.
I also want to continue my volunteer activities, within the writing community, but also beyond.
How do you network? What works best for you?
So let me start with why I network. There’s the pure social aspect. As a novelist, I spend huge amounts of time in isolation. It’s wonderful to have a reason—beyond children–related events—to get out and talk to real, living people. Especially when it’s with people who share career interests or general nerdiness with me. It’s a way to recharge my batteries, so to speak. There’s the fact that I am promoting myself and—dare I say it? yes, ok, here it is—my brand. As a novelist publishing with a digital-first imprint headquartered far away, I have the lion’s share of marketing to do for myself. I network to get my name out there. Finally, there’s the fact that I look for ways to contribute to others. This is really the most important reason for me. I love being able to refer someone to someone else; to share a resource with others; to help out by being available and generous.
For live events, I prefer a casual atmosphere at nothing shorter than monthly intervals. A month gives me time to accomplish things worth sharing about. And to find new people to introduce to the group.
For online networking, I actually quite enjoy using Twitter and Facebook. It’s fun and can be creative, as well as surprising. It gives me links to many more blogs and professionals, local and otherwise, than I could scare up on my lonesome. Plus, when my kids and husband catch me on it, I can truthfully say that I’m working.
What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moment, huh? I might just have to choose the very first time I sent out my manuscript to an agent, in the Fall of 2010. I was such a newbie; hadn’t networked my way into any introductions; had nothing but a list of agencies and a whole lot of worries. In fact, I recall vividly how tempting it was for me to keep tinkering with my manuscript instead of releasing it into the wild.
But I did it. I wrote up a strong query letter and synopses of various lengths. I had a list of agents and publishers and a dream…
Ok, seriously. I was proud of myself for putting my work out there. I’ll always remember that first time.
In 1950 a war broke out on the Korean peninsula that claimed millions of lives and left the region in ruins. More than 500 of the 26,000 Canadians deployed were killed and it was one of the deadliest conflicts in Canadian history.
And yet it has been called Canada’s forgotten war despite its status as a major military action. One that included significant triumphs, such as the Battle of Kapyong.
The Military Museums Foundation is proud to host Korea: The Other War on Thursday, 4 April. Calgary historian and author Norman Leach will examine the buildup to the Korean War, and the impact of the delicate ceasefire that followed.
He will explore Canada’s role in the conflict, which was the country’s first military action of the Cold War. As a best-selling author of Canadian history, Norman will bring an historical perspective to the recent flare-up of tensions in the region, and what the situation means for Canada.
Though often overshadowed by the First and Second World Wars, The Korean War continues to shape international politics. We are reminded of its significance by the frequent threats of renewed conflict that come out of the region, and the plausibility of this scenario is subject to much speculation.
Norman Leach is an award-winning author specializing in Canadian Military history. He has written several books, including Passchendaele: Canada’s Triumph and Tragedy on the Fields of Flanders, and Canadian Peacekeepers: Ten Stories of Valour in War-Torn Countries.