Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Sean Hill: Traveling Poet

This month I’ve had four traveling days—one of those included a 12-hour overnight layover at SeaTac. I’ve been on eight airplanes. This month I’ve had the good fortune to be a member of two different learning communities focused on writing. I got to hang out with some pretty cool folks. But I haven’t been writing as much as I would like. I’ve written some good notes about ideas for my next project. I’ve gotten down some images and lines. I’ve written the starts to a couple of poems. But I haven’t written a poem this month. I’ve been pleasantly occupying my time in other ways. Again, I feel fortunate that some of that time has been spent in the company of other writers thinking about writing. But that’s not how I get the writing done. I need to spend more time doing what I’m doing right now, but doing it with poems.

Over the years I’ve come to know certain things about my writing process. I know that it varies. I know that I need to print drafts in order to really see them and mark them up. I know that I need room to pace. I mean I need to be in a space that has enough room to take five to ten steps before turning around. Pacing helps me think. Clipboards come in handy with the pacing and drafting. Taking a walk in the neighborhood with a draft in my back pocket and a pen in my front helps. Reading helps a lot. I’ve never been big on “free writing.” I’ve never really been good at writing in times of upheaval. I usually write when I’m settled in a physically, mentally, and emotionally tranquil space. Wordworth’s definition of poetry rings true for me: “poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” I know that I need to spend time sitting or standing at the keyboard recollecting. I know that the anonymous bustle of a cafĂ© is also conducive and sometimes necessary for me to write. I feel writing is a necessity that I haven’t prioritize enough recently. My goal is to complete a draft of the manuscript I’ve envisioned by this time next year. I need to plan to make that happen. I need to give myself the time and space and due dates to achieve that goal.

I’m not a blogger, but I’ve enjoyed this space here—this writing. Now I need to make some headway on some poems. Before I go, I want to thank the folks at 49 Writers for inviting me to be guest blogger here. 

Say, if writing feels like a necessity and we should all do what is it we need to do to make more a part of our lives, what is it that you do? What works for you all? Do you write everyday at a set time? Do you go to a particular place? Do you hold yourself accountable for a daily word count? Please share what works for you.

Sean Hill is the author of Dangerous Goods (Milkweed Editions, 2014) and Blood Ties & Brown Liquor (UGA Press, 2008). His poems have appeared in Callaloo, Harvard Review, Poetry, Tin House, and numerous other journals and anthologies. He’s currently a visiting professor in the creative writing program at UA-Fairbanks. More information can be found at www.seanhillpoetry.com.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Authors Wanted: Alaska Book Week

Summer is passing by fast, which means that Alaska Book Week will soon be upon us! We would like to invite everyone to sign up for Alaska Book Week by clicking the participation form (via the ABW logo) on the right side of this website. Once you submit your form, the coordinator will be in contact with you soon. We would also like to ask for participants' permission (particularly those who are looking for events to be involved in) to include their information on our website. This year, we are making more of an effort to create lists of Alaskan authors and possible venues so that we can expand on our yearly celebration--and provide more representation for authors and their wonderful books!



If you are an Alaskan author looking for an event to attend--either in a major Alaskan community or one in your area--please tell the coordinator what you would like to do. If you are a community member (librarian, teacher, bookseller, or other) and would like to put on an event for one or more Alaskan authors, please indicate that when you fill out the participation form. We are going to build a participation page into this website so that the participants and community members can see which Alaskan authors and what venues are available. We would love to add your facility to this list; please contact the Alaska Book Week coordinator for more information. The Alaska Book Week committee is also putting together a few events in the Anchorage community during that week, and we would like to hear from other communities if they are putting on events of their own. Please check back over the next week to see the progress of this participation form!

We would also like to remind Alaska Book Week participants that we are incorporating a YouTube campaign into our yearly celebration. A promotional video will be going up on this website and on our Facebook page soon, so please check back often. We already have a couple of participants lined up for interviews, but we would love to have more people on board! Authors may also send the ABW coordinator videos (or links of videos) of themselves reading passages from book they have written. Your video contribution will stay on the Alaska Book Week website and be enjoyed for many years to come. If you would like to sign up for Alaska Book Week and would like to be a part of the YouTube campaign, please let the coordinator know on the participation form. 

We encourage everyone to sign up for Alaska Book Week. Our yearly celebration cannot be successful without the support of our wonderful authors and community members. We are truly grateful for the connections that we build through Alaska Book Week. Thank you all for your support!

For questions or comments, please contact the Alaska Book Week coordinator at akbookweek@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

This post first ran at www.alaskabookweek.com.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Weekly Round-Up of Alaska Writing News and Events

Good to see the rain finally found its way to Anchorage. It just didn't feel right writing with the sun glaring off my laptop screen. This is why Miami has produced such few belles lettres.

In Juneau, our next member event is on August 6 from 7-9 pm; again, members should watch for details via email. (Not a member? Head over to our website to join.) And stay tuned for the fall schedule including Melinda Moustakis’ (Bear Down, Bear North - 2012 Flannery O’Connor Award Recipient for Short Fiction) NEA-funded tour of Southeast Alaska. 


Last but not least, we're looking for authors to get involved with Alaska Book Week Oct. 3 -11. Visit www.alaskabookweek.com and click the 2015 logo to participate. This year, you can also get involved with a video interview.

49 Writers Volunteer Seta Kabranian

EVENTS IN ANCHORAGE

Poetry Parley will be on hiatus for July and August. Starting September 20th at Hugi-Lewis Studio, Parley will kick off a new season with readings from 10 (plus) local poets. There will be no marquee poet. Send a note to poetryparley@gmail.com if you want to be considered. We will hold a few slots for new readers.

Anchorage Museum has posted their Schedule of Programs for July and August. Visit www.anchoragemuseum.org/media for the full list of events. Below are some of the highlights. To confirm details and dates, call the Marketing and Public Relations Department at (907) 929-9227.
  • Call for Stories of Summer Adventure. Are you having the best summer? Prove it and share your tales with a Pecha Kucha style presentation on Aug. 21. Contact lgarrod@anchoragemuseum.org by Aug. 14 if you would like to be a presenter.
Promote your book at the National Federation of Press Women Annual Conference, September 10 – 12 at the Captain Cook Hotel Anchorage. Alaska Professional Communicators will provide at no charge an opportunity for authors to sign and sell their books. Attendees, conference speakers, and APC members can sign up for a place at the authors' tables on both Fri., Sept. 11, 3:45 - 4:30 PM and Sat., Sept. 12, 4:00 - 4:30 PM. Contact Lizzie Newell at 

lizzie-n@gci.net to let her know the name of your book(s). We will provide attendees a list of participating authors and their books.

Events at the UAA Bookstore

Tuesday, August 4  from 4:00-6:00 pm, Historical Fiction Author  Lynn Lovegreen presents Gold Nuggets, the final book in her young adult Gold Rush, which includes: Worth Her Weight in Gold  (Juneau 1886); Fools Gold  (Skagway, 1898); Quicksilver to Gold  (Nome, 1900); Golden Days (Fairbanks, 1906); Gold Nuggets  (Denali & Kantishna, 1916).   Lynn Lovegreen was raised and lives in Anchorage, Alaska and has taught at the Anchorage School district.

Thursday, August 6 from 4:00pm-6:00pm, Anchorage Remembers: A Century of Stories. Contributors to Anchorage Remembers, an anthology of 39 stories selected by 49 Writers, discuss the relationship amongst  memoir, writing, and history.  Guest speakers include Betty Arnett, Diane Benson, Mary Katzke, and  Katy Neher.  This event is sponsored with 49 Writers and the program is made possible by a Centennial Community Grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Rasmuson Foundation, and the Anchorage Centennial Celebration.

All UAA Campus Bookstore events are informal, free and open to the public.  There is free parking for bookstore events in the South Lot, the West Campus Central Lot (behind Rasmuson Hall), and the Sports NW Lot. Note:  UAA Campus Bookstore podcasts are posted in iTunes or iTunes U--just search UAA or UAA Campus Bookstore.  Or see http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/bookstore/events/podcasts.cfm.


Local Library Events


Book Signings


EVENTS AROUND ALASKA

SOUTHCENTRAL, MAT-SU, KENAI PENINSULA


 SOUTHEAST

INTERIOR


OPPORTUNITIES FOR WRITERS
CONFERENCES, AWARDS, RETREATS & RESIDENCIES

The Alaska Literary Awards were established in 2014 by the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation, through a generous gift from Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli, to recognize and support writers of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting, and mixed genres.  Any Alaska writer over the age of 18 who is not a full-time student is eligible to apply. Quality of the work submitted is the primary consideration in determining who receives the awards. A select number of $5,000 awards will be awarded this year. For more information, and to apply, go to:http://bit.ly/2015AKLitAwards. The deadline for entries is August 31st, 2015 at 9:59 AKDT.

The Connie Boochever Artist Fellowship awards recognize and support Alaska emerging artists of exceptional talent. In the 2015 cycle, a select number of $2,500 fellowships will be awarded to individual artists working in visual art, including film, digital and media arts. For more information, and to apply, go to: http://bit.ly/2015BoocheverFellows. The deadline for entries is August 31st, 2015 at 9:59 AKDT.

The 2016 Governor's Awards ceremony will be held in Juneau on Thursday, January 28th. We will also continue the tradition of scheduling CHAMP Day (Culture, Humanities, Arts & Museums Partners), a legislative fly-in day, on Wednesday, January 27thPlease start brainstorming ideas for nominees and consider submitting a nomination! The nomination process will open in August. This year's Arts categories will be: Margaret Nick Cooke Award for Alaska Native Arts & Languages, Business Leadership, Arts Advocacy and Individual Artist. A list of previous awardees can be found at https://education.alaska.gov/aksca/pdf/Past_Recipients_GAAH.pdf.

2016 Statewide Arts and Culture Conference will take place in Anchorage, Thursday, April 28th through Saturday, April 30th. We are in the process of exploring compelling themes, topics and national speakers for the convening. Like our last conference, we will be engaging Alaskan artists in the planning and production of the event. Be on the lookout for the opportunity to apply to be a conference Partner Artist, which will open in the fall. If you have any ideas to share with us, please send them our way by emailing aksca.info@alaska.gov.

The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) is conducting a survey to inform its Live. Work. Play. Initiative, which seeks to make Anchorage the number one city in America to live work and play by 2025. If you live in Anchorage and care about the arts, please take a moment to add your voice to this survey-it's just two VERY short questions!https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LiveWorkPlayAnchorage

Poetry Out Loud registration deadline for schools deadline is October 15, 2015. Click here to hear from the 2015 National Poetry Out Loud Champion from Alaska, Maeva Ordaz. 

Wrangell Mountains Writing Workshop presents RiverSong with Frank Soos, Michelle McAfee, Robin Child, and Nancy Cook, July 22-27, McCarthy to Chitina. The Wrangell Mountains Writing Workshop is pleased to partner with McCarthy River Tours & Outfitters to host a six-day, five-night adventure in the fabulous Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. This year’s workshop will feature poet and essayist, Frank Soos, who is currently serving as Alaska’s Writer Laureate, joined by accomplished singer-songwriter Michelle McAfee, backcountry banjo-diva Robin Child, and workshop director Nancy Cook. Together they will explore the ways wilderness can help inspire songs, stories, poems, and essays. Activities include an opening reading/performance and craft sessions in the comfort of the Wrangell Mountains Center’s facility in McCarthy, followed by three nights and four days of creative inquiry along the Kennicott, Nizina, Chitina, and Copper Rivers. Space is limited to eight student writers/ songwriters.


Alaska Writers Guild & SCBWI Annual Writer’s Conference, September 19-20, Anchorage. Early registration starts May 2015. www.AlaskaWritersGuild.com


Alaska Women Speak is looking for a responsible maven fluent with InDesign (CS6) layout and website savvy to join the all-volunteer crew as Layout Editor. Here’s your chance to create for a 23rd year in the running, statewide, quarterly publication! This is not a site-specific volunteer opportunity, but sound Internet connection is required. Occasional Skype sessions apply. If interested, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact us at alaskawomenspeak@yahoo.com


13 Chairs Literary Journal, a new literary journal publishing short stories and poetry from new and emerging authors, seeks submissions and volunteers. They are currently composing their flagship issue, straight out of JBER, AK. To learn more, and to submit, email info@13chairs.com or visit 13chairs.com.


From July 1 to August 15 the Rasmuson Foundation Artist Residency Program will be accepting applications from Alaska artists and writers interested in a fully-funded two-month residency in the Lower 48. The eligibility requirements have changed—Alaska-based artists who have not received a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award are now also eligible to apply. A free information session detailing the program, eligibility requirements, and application process will be held June 26, at 6 p.m. in the Anchorage Museum’s Reynolds Classroom. Potential applicants are invited to attend in-person or by teleconference. More information can be found at rasmuson.org. If you have questions about the program, contact Jayson Smart at jsmart@rasmuson.org or call 907-297-2882


GOOD NEWS!

Erin Coughlin Hollowell is our new Executive Director!


Have news or events you'd like to see listed here? Email details to 49roundup (at) gmail.com. Your message must be received by noon on the Thursday before the roundup is scheduled to run. Unless your event falls in the "Opportunities" category, it should occur no more than 30 days from when we receive your email.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

From the Archives: Andromeda Romano-Lax on Clean Copy #1. Spaces!

Clean Copy: An Occasional Column




In the search for new ways to freshen up the blog, I've decided to write  an occasional (once - or twice-monthly) column meant to help you endear yourself to future editors.While not an expert, I will point out a few issues of punctuation, grammar, and so on that have recently come to my attention, and I will try to keep these bite-sized, so you can feel good about getting that small dose of editorial self-improvement every now and again.
 
 There's nothing like editing other people's work to make your own eye a little keener, and I've spent the last 2,000 years -- I mean, six months -- freelance copyediting several drafts of a highly technical 800-page document. Oh, how it has revealed to me my own past errors, and how those errors compounded over the length of a book manuscript can drive an editor batty, I now know from personal experience! I've also been doing just a wee bit of manuscript coaching, and again, I notice how each of us have our own little blind spots, the correcting of which might greatly soothe the frayed nerves of the people who read our work. (And yes, I have my own blind spots, without a doubt. We're all better at cleaning up other people's copy-- that's why editors and proofreaders exist. And will I continue to make mistakes at this blog? Absolutely. It's much easier to catch and correct errors in a word document than on a blogpost. You've been warned!) 
 
Today, I begin with the smallest thing of all: the space.

The error: Putting more than one space between each sentence. (Am I seeing a lot of this? Yes ma'am. And it means I have to scroll sentence by sentence, taking out a space at a time, and inevitably missing a few because spaces are often hard to judge, over the course of hundreds of pages.) 

The correction: One space. Just one. It's that easy.

Why the furor? Agent Nathan Bransford did a survey and found that his readers split over the issue of spacing. Asked how many spaces should be used after a period, 54 percent said "one space, clearly!" and  45 percent said "two spaces, obviously!" I'm sorry to tell you that 45 percent of his readers are wrong.

Why the error? Like so many things, this one has to do with changing technology. In old-fashioned pre-computer days, we were limited to non-proportional font spacing (all characters same width), and two spaces between each sentence made text easier to read. But today, proportional font renders the extra space obsolete. People who learned the old way in typing classes seem to have a hard time letting this one go, but it's an important habit to break. Why? Because you're making work for your copyeditor. You want your copyeditor to love you. And that's why you'll stay tuned for the next column in this series!

Don't believe me and/or want to learn more? This take-no-hostages column at Slate will more than satisfy your spacing questions and leave you feeling sheepish that you didn't have it straight until now.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

From the Archives: Deb Vanasse on Outlining - How Good Ideas Get Undone


How do I know what I think until I see what I say?
~E.M. Forster

I rarely outline, not at first anyhow. But like most writers, I do a lot of thinking about structure, and especially about what I call the reveal.

Admittedly, outlines are great for seeing what you’ve got to work with and for playing around with organization. But they also wheel us back to the artifices of academia that work against fresh, lively prose.

The outline’s partner in crime is the five-paragraph essay. Both set up habits that please teachers but stifle interest. Find a topic, chop it up in the most obvious way, knit it back together with a thesis statement and a bunch of handy transitions, reiterate, reiterate, reiterate, and then wrap it all up. You may thank Artistotle for the snores of your readers. 

This training is all wrong. We’re not building a case in a courtroom. We’re aiming for art, insight, and enjoyment. But if logic’s not the best way to arrive at surprise and delight, a hodgepodge doesn’t satisfy either. 

Rewind to Aristotle, more helpful with his three acts. Beginning, middle, end; set-up, complication, climax/resolution. Screenwriters can tell you how long each should be, and how the action shifts. The more we read, the more good movies we watch, the more we develop an intuitive sense these three acts, so as we’re playing around with ideas for a story or a narrative essay or a book, we start to envision scenes in which the action builds from the set-up and complications toward a climax and resolution. 

Though we’d like to think the process is entirely organic, at some level order does get imposed. The question turns to when and what kind of order. First thoughts aren’t always best thoughts, and that’s the problem with a lot of traditional outlining, which carves a topic into logical parts and arranges them in the most logical and expected manner.

Pulitzer-prize winning author Jon Franklin says there are three levels of story: the academic, polished level; the outline level that deals with conceptual relationships between characters; and the structural level, made up of major focuses that zoom in on emotional turning points. Transitions aren’t used to connect dots, but to move the reader from scene to scene. 

The first focus Franklin calls the complicating focus. It’s where your reader is hooked, where character begins to unfold, where the nature of the dilemma is made clear. The second focus, in three or more parts, is the developmental focus, where complications are explored. Each of these has its own beginning, middle, and end. The first can carry a flashback. At the end of the third comes a moment of insight, a plot point in screenwriter lingo. A resolving focus comes at the end.

S.C. Gwynne’s bestseller Empire of the Summer Moon, a finalist for the Pulitzer, is a great example of Franklin’s principles on the page. The subtitle reveals the scope of this nonfiction book: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History. Outlined in the traditional way, it would follow the life of Quanah Parker, starting with his birth, tracking the rise of his influence, and ending with his death. Yawn. 

Gwynne begins instead with a complicating focus, hooking the reader with on-the-ground accounts of fierce Comanche battles. Hints of Quanah’s character through the captivating (literally) story of his mother, a white woman taken by the Comanches. The over-arching dilemma is clear: the Comanches rise up as warriors among the Plains Indian tribes, and they won’t go down without a fight. Every complication has its own beginning, middle, and end: the introduction of the horse onto the American plains, the botched Indian policies of the U.S. government, the in-fighting among tribes. Each focus weaves into the others, and the very, very end of the book satisfies the reader’s anticipation of how they’ll ultimately come together.

Even at the paragraph level, Gwynne is a master of rocking the traditional order. Look at where he puts the traditional topic sentence in this excerpt, which comes at the end of a long paragraph about the blunders of Ranald Slidell Mackenzie, deemed the “Anti-Custer” by Gwynne:

Large concentrations of soldiers with long supply trains were a signal to simply disappear, which was usually easy enough. It was the reason so many U.S. troops spent so much time marching and riding about, looking for and not finding Indians. Not finding Indians had been the principal activity of the U.S. cavalry for years in the West. Mackenzie’s force was enormous by plains standards: It was the largest that had ever been sent to pursue Indians.

“Not finding Indians had been the principal activity of the U.S. cavalry for years in the West.” A less writer would have killed the reveal by moving this great one-liner to the top of the paragraph where we expect the topic sentence, and thereby deflating its effect by half. 

Withholding is a huge part of good writing. So is shaking up the traditional order.

Try This: Shake up the order of your work in progress. Think like a camera, zooming and in and out of complications. Work the stories within your story. Strategize your reveals. As Seth Kantner says, you need to always carry your reader, but don’t overuse transitions to impose logic; instead, use them sparingly, to move the reader from scene to scene.

Check This Out: Jon Franklin’s Writing for Story promises – and delivers on – craft secrets of dramatic non-fiction by a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner. It opens new ways to think about structure for writers of fiction, too.



Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Alaska Shorts: "Buckets" by C.B. Bernard



HATHAWAY SQUATTED LIKE death itself over the remains of the deer, dirty to the elbows with her innards. The smell rising from her open cavity burned like ammonia. Fluids stung his hands and forearms. His shot had entered behind the shoulder and low, spiraling through the doe’s organs like a drill bit and bursting her bladder, tainting the meat with urine. Splinters of bone punctured the stomach. Gastric acid trickled out in a pair of slow streams that ran beneath Hathaway’s legs and down the beach to the water.

He wiped his face on his sleeve, up high by his shoulder and away from the blood. Under other circumstances such a shot might embarrass him. This time it didn’t matter. He wasn’t there for the deer. He’d come to kill his friend John Stone.

Stretching the curve from his back, Hathaway stood and looked around the beach for bear. This was when they’d get him — startle him over a kill while his hands were busy, the scent of blood like a perfumed dinner invitation. His quadriceps ached imagining the weight of a bite. He’d been near bears before and the smell of death surrounded them, fetid and rank, unapologetically savage. Bears terrified him. He couldn’t imagine ever getting used to their presence here in Alaska. This was their damn country.

He glanced at his deer rifle, a stainless Winchester ought-six he’d leaned against a felled spruce left on the beach by the tide. It was cut and limbed recently enough that the exposed faces hadn’t yet discolored. Concentric rings showed its age. Ancient. Dizzying. It seemed a sin to log it. He guessed it had broken away from a raft being towed past the town, toward the logging company camp.
Since the local Native corporation had sold the logging rights, the town had entered yet another evolution. After a thousand years, the corporation’s animal totem — raven on brown bear on killer whale — had been re-imagined: helicopters swarmed the southern sky, log trucks prowled the roads, barges ghosted in and out of the bay at night, hulking shadows on a moonless horizon. The air trembled with activity. Locals remembered a time not so long ago when the paper mill was here, in town, and the sour smell of pulp coated everything like the rain, but now the pulp was made in Japan and the raw trees came from here, as if, having killed the town by suffocating its economy, the Japanese were coming back for its flesh and bones.

He’d heard fishermen in the harbors complaining about all the deadhead logs in the water, how they had to run them like a gauntlet while checking their crab pots, or cut them from their gillnets like bloated corpses. Before he’d come to the island, Hathaway had never run a boat. He still hadn’t run one in the dark, and like everything else up here, the thought of it scared him. There were a lot of ways to die in Alaska.

In 1999, C.B. Bernard left New England to write for a newspaper in Sitka, Alaska, where he began to research rumors of an ancestor who had explored the unmapped Arctic as a free trader a century earlier. Soon he found records showing that Captain Joe Bernard had also moved to Sitka two years before his death in 1972 — and that the state had buried his ancestor in the cemetery next door to the house he’d rented. He’d put nearly 7,000 miles on his truck driving to Alaska and parked it on top of his own family. That experience and his research about Arctic exploration and how the past century has changed the north led to Chasing Alaska: A Portrait of the Last Frontier Then and Now (Lyons Press/2013). It was a finalist for a 2014 Oregon Book Award and a Publishers Weekly Top 10 Pick and National Geographic top book choice. A former Alaska resident, Bernard now lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and a temperamental bird dog named Shakespeare.

In Alaska, a lot of things can kill you. Even the rain. This short story originally appeared in Gray’s Sporting Journal. To read more of the excerpt, download a free copy of the Alaska Sampler 2015.

Would you like to see your work featured here? Check out our Alaska Shorts guidelines and submit today.

Monday, July 27, 2015

From the Archives: Deb Vanasse on Channeling Your Inner Guerilla


For artists, the great problem to solve is how to get oneself noticed.
~Balzac

Once upon a time there was an easy order to the business of writing: create, pitch, publish, promote. A writer’s creative energy went mostly into her work, and the rest followed from there. 

That everything’s different is old news. Your work no longer stands only on its own two feet. It requires a platform, or so goes the twenty-first century wisdom. Agents and editors urge writers to promote early and often, even if they’re still working on their first viable project.

To get your work noticed in the topsy-turvy world of modern publishing requires fortitude, courage, and a broad-minded approach. “Schmoozing, pitching, that’s your job,” says screenwriter Scott Silver. Though he admits some people are good only at schmoozing, he also points out that it’s juvenile to think that if your work is good enough, you’ll never have to promote.  Nevertheless, he reiterates, the work matters most.  

“I’ve been a Luddite most of my life,” says author Lynn Schooler. “Then they overthrew the government in Twitter, and I realized I’d better start paying attention.” These days, Schooler notes, writers have to schmooze the world, not just a person.

Though he self-describes as a bit of a recluse and until recently had only dial-up internet service, Schooler has managed to amass over 3000 Facebook friends in less than two years by applying an old principle of marketing – offering a value-added service by regularly posting scenic Alaska photos from his professional portfolio. 

Author Heather Lende contends that self-promotion boils down to doing the work and showing genuine interest in the people around you. In the beginning, you might find yourself working for free, the way Lende did. Though she initially volunteered to do radio shows in Haines, she looked up a few people at NPR and mailed tapes of her shows to them. 

She got her first paying gig as a writer on Monitor Radio, thanks to her husband’s Aunt Dottie, who passed on a tape of one of her radio pieces to the executive producer of Monitor Radio, who went to her church. Once she started writing a column for the Anchorage Daily News, NPR picked up Lende’s work. Whenever she called back East, Lende says, “I always asked who I was speaking to.” Editors come and go, but receptionists stay.

Author Kim Heacox echoes Lende’s advice, recalling an early meeting with an editor at Discover magazine. When he asked how she’d gotten her job, he said, “she was like a flower I’d just watered.” The interview turned into a conversation. A few months later, assignments started flowing in. In the world of what Heacox calls “You Twit Face,” he reminds writers to promote the work of others in the writing community. His cautionary note: “Be careful you don’t turn into a cardboard version of your original self.” 

Should you blog? Post about your project on Facebook? Make book trailers? Schedule tours? Talk up yourself and your project every chance you get? The answers boil down to time, energy, and balance in your writing life. You need a viable project, finely crafted, though as Andromeda Romano-Lax demonstrates, it can be promoted in its development stage. Pay attention to opportunities to connect, in person and electronically, with people who might have an interest in your work. Be genuine and sincere in working your connections. Be courteous but not shy. Avoid arrogance. Get used to rejection. Support and promote the work of others, not just your own.

Thanks to North WordsWriters Symposium for providing a forum for discussion of this topic, from which many of the quotes here were drawn.

Try This: Writing’s an art, but it’s also a business. Do you have a business plan? Think in one, three, and five year increments. Jot down where you hope to be as a writer: what you hope to create and sell. Which smaller markets, even non-paying, are accessible to you? Which communities will help you grow as a writer? Which conferences, symposiums, and other writing events will help you build a network of professional connections? Who among you existing friends, colleagues, and family could be your Aunt Dottie, sharing your well-crafted work with the right people?

Check This Out: For the basics of promotion in the traditional, pre-electronic marketplace, check out Mark Ortman’s A Simple Guide to Marketing Your Book, where you’ll learn to develop a marketing plan with attention to budget, product, audience, distribution, promotion, and timing. But don’t stop there. Your writing community (online, face to face) can help you stay up-to-date on electronic promotion.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Weekly Round-Up of Alaska Writing News and Events

There are a few more weeks left of summer, which means for a lot of us it's crunch time to write, write, write before the demands of a new school year. If you aren't bound to the academic calendar, lucky you! What that means is continue writing for the rest of us. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We still have some long days of sunshine to enjoy by sitting inside with our manuscripts.

In Juneau, our next member event is on August 6 from 7-9 pm; again, members should watch for details via email. (Not a member? Head over to our website to join.) And stay tuned for the fall schedule including Melinda Moustakis’ (Bear Down, Bear North - 2012 Flannery O’Connor Award Recipient for Short Fiction) NEA-funded tour of Southeast Alaska. 


On July 23, Anchorage readers, writers, and history buffs are invited to the launch of Anchorage Remembers, an anthology produced by 49 Writers in conjunction with the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Rasmuson Foundation, and the Anchorage Centennial Commission. Join us at 7 pm at the Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson for this free public reading and celebration of the publication of work by 40 Alaska-inspired writers.

Last but not least, we're looking for authors to get involved with Alaska Book Week Oct. 3 -11. Visit www.alaskabookweek.com and click the 2015 logo to participate. This year, you can also get involved with a video interview.

49 Writers Volunteer J.T. Torres

EVENTS IN ANCHORAGE

Poetry Parley will be on hiatus for July and August. Starting September 20th at Hugi-Lewis Studio, Parley will kick off a new season with readings from 10 (plus) local poets. There will be no marquee poet. Send a note to poetryparley@gmail.com if you want to be considered. We will hold a few slots for new readers.

Anchorage Museum has posted their Schedule of Programs for July and August. Visit www.anchoragemuseum.org/media for the full list of events. Below are some of the highlights. To confirm details and dates, call the Marketing and Public Relations Department at (907) 929-9227.
  • Call for Big Wild Bike Stories. The Anchorage Museum invites bicycle commuters to submit their harrowing, funny and interesting stories about using Anchorage’s public trail system. The Anchorage Museum and Bike Anchorage will lead a bike tour on July 25 based on rider submissions. On July 25, 1-3pm, take a tour of Anchorage through the stories of bike commuters. The Anchorage Museum and Bike Anchorage lead a bike tour of Anchorage based on the harrowing, funny, and interesting experiences people have encountered using Anchorage’s public trail system. Riders are encouraged to wear helmets and pack their own water. Register online. $10
  • Call for Stories of Summer Adventure. Are you having the best summer? Prove it and share your tales with a Pecha Kucha style presentation on Aug. 21. Contact lgarrod@anchoragemuseum.org by Aug. 14 if you would like to be a presenter.
2015 Sledgehammer 36-Hour Writing ContestJuly 25–26. The contest begins with an online scavenger hunt that participants can complete from anywhere. Along the way, they'll collect four writing prompts, all of which must be incorporated into their story, which is due by midnight on Sunday. Writers can compete individually or as teams, and the contest is open to all ages. Cash prizes will be awarded to the best short stories of the weekend in the following categories:
·  Individual
·  Team
·  Readers' Choice
·  Judge's Choice
·  Youth (two prizes: elementary/middle school, high school)

Winners will also receive entry to writing-related events and the coveted golden sledgehammers.
Registration is just $25 for adults and $10/$5 for youth. Visit www.sledgehammercontest.com to learn more and register.

Events at the UAA Bookstore

July 27, 4:00pm-6:00pm, Bonnye Matthews presents Mixing DVD Media with Novels to Enhance Communication. Bonnye Matthews is the award winning writer of the Winds of Change Series.  At this event, Tuksook’s Story: 35,000 BC and its setting in Cook Inlet, accompanied by a  20 minute DVD, will be examined. "Cook Inlet -- The Setting for Tuksook's Story, 35,000 BC, DVD" tells the story of how that area of Alaska came to be.  It gives a sweeping time travel from Pangea to the present, describes the dinosaur age, explains what flora and fauna the People might have encountered, and how the land came and comes to be. Everyone is invited to explore Cook Inlet’s past with fascinating research, geologic time and storytelling.


Tuesday, August 4  from 4:00-6:00 pm, Historical Fiction Author  Lynn Lovegreen presents Gold Nuggets, the final book in her young adult Gold Rush, which includes: Worth Her Weight in Gold  (Juneau 1886); Fools Gold  (Skagway, 1898); Quicksilver to Gold  (Nome, 1900); Golden Days (Fairbanks, 1906); Gold Nuggets  (Denali & Kantishna, 1916).   Lynn Lovegreen was raised and lives in Anchorage, Alaska and has taught at the Anchorage School district.

Thursday, August 6 from 4:00pm-6:00pm, Anchorage Remembers: A Century of Stories. Contributors to Anchorage Remembers, an anthology of 39 stories selected by 49 Writers, discuss the relationship amongst  memoir, writing, and history.  Guest speakers include Betty Arnett, Diane Benson, Mary Katzke, and  Katy Neher.  This event is sponsored with 49 Writers and the program is made possible by a Centennial Community Grant from the Alaska Humanities Forum, the Rasmuson Foundation, and the Anchorage Centennial Celebration.

All UAA Campus Bookstore events are informal, free and open to the public.  There is free parking for bookstore events in the South Lot, the West Campus Central Lot (behind Rasmuson Hall), and the Sports NW Lot. Note:  UAA Campus Bookstore podcasts are posted in iTunes or iTunes U--just search UAA or UAA Campus Bookstore.  Or see http://www.uaa.alaska.edu/bookstore/events/podcasts.cfm.


Local Library Events


Book Signings


EVENTS AROUND ALASKA

SOUTHCENTRAL, MAT-SU, KENAI PENINSULA

Fireside in Palmer is bringing some notable authors to town!


 SOUTHEAST

INTERIOR


OPPORTUNITIES FOR WRITERS
CONFERENCES, AWARDS, RETREATS & RESIDENCIES

The Alaska Literary Awards were established in 2014 by the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation, through a generous gift from Peggy Shumaker and Joe Usibelli, to recognize and support writers of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting, and mixed genres.  Any Alaska writer over the age of 18 who is not a full-time student is eligible to apply. Quality of the work submitted is the primary consideration in determining who receives the awards. A select number of $5,000 awards will be awarded this year. For more information, and to apply, go to:http://bit.ly/2015AKLitAwards. The deadline for entries is August 31st, 2015 at 9:59 AKDT.

The Connie Boochever Artist Fellowship awards recognize and support Alaska emerging artists of exceptional talent. In the 2015 cycle, a select number of $2,500 fellowships will be awarded to individual artists working in visual art, including film, digital and media arts. For more information, and to apply, go to: http://bit.ly/2015BoocheverFellows. The deadline for entries is August 31st, 2015 at 9:59 AKDT.

The 2016 Governor's Awards ceremony will be held in Juneau on Thursday, January 28th. We will also continue the tradition of scheduling CHAMP Day (Culture, Humanities, Arts & Museums Partners), a legislative fly-in day, on Wednesday, January 27thPlease start brainstorming ideas for nominees and consider submitting a nomination! The nomination process will open in August. This year's Arts categories will be: Margaret Nick Cooke Award for Alaska Native Arts & Languages, Business Leadership, Arts Advocacy and Individual Artist. A list of previous awardees can be found at https://education.alaska.gov/aksca/pdf/Past_Recipients_GAAH.pdf.

2016 Statewide Arts and Culture Conference will take place in Anchorage, Thursday, April 28th through Saturday, April 30th. We are in the process of exploring compelling themes, topics and national speakers for the convening. Like our last conference, we will be engaging Alaskan artists in the planning and production of the event. Be on the lookout for the opportunity to apply to be a conference Partner Artist, which will open in the fall. If you have any ideas to share with us, please send them our way by emailing aksca.info@alaska.gov.

The Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) is conducting a survey to inform its Live. Work. Play. Initiative, which seeks to make Anchorage the number one city in America to live work and play by 2025. If you live in Anchorage and care about the arts, please take a moment to add your voice to this survey-it's just two VERY short questions!https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LiveWorkPlayAnchorage

Poetry Out Loud registration deadline for schools deadline is October 15, 2015. Click here to hear from the 2015 National Poetry Out Loud Champion from Alaska, Maeva Ordaz. 

Wrangell Mountains Writing Workshop presents RiverSong with Frank Soos, Michelle McAfee, Robin Child, and Nancy Cook, July 22-27, McCarthy to Chitina. The Wrangell Mountains Writing Workshop is pleased to partner with McCarthy River Tours & Outfitters to host a six-day, five-night adventure in the fabulous Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. This year’s workshop will feature poet and essayist, Frank Soos, who is currently serving as Alaska’s Writer Laureate, joined by accomplished singer-songwriter Michelle McAfee, backcountry banjo-diva Robin Child, and workshop director Nancy Cook. Together they will explore the ways wilderness can help inspire songs, stories, poems, and essays. Activities include an opening reading/performance and craft sessions in the comfort of the Wrangell Mountains Center’s facility in McCarthy, followed by three nights and four days of creative inquiry along the Kennicott, Nizina, Chitina, and Copper Rivers. Space is limited to eight student writers/ songwriters.


Alaska Writers Guild & SCBWI Annual Writer’s Conference, September 19-20, Anchorage. Early registration starts May 2015. www.AlaskaWritersGuild.com


Alaska Women Speak is looking for a responsible maven fluent with InDesign (CS6) layout and website savvy to join the all-volunteer crew as Layout Editor. Here’s your chance to create for a 23rd year in the running, statewide, quarterly publication! This is not a site-specific volunteer opportunity, but sound Internet connection is required. Occasional Skype sessions apply. If interested, we'd love to hear from you. Please contact us at alaskawomenspeak@yahoo.com


13 Chairs Literary Journal, a new literary journal publishing short stories and poetry from new and emerging authors, seeks submissions and volunteers. They are currently composing their flagship issue, straight out of JBER, AK. To learn more, and to submit, email info@13chairs.com or visit 13chairs.com.


From July 1 to August 15 the Rasmuson Foundation Artist Residency Program will be accepting applications from Alaska artists and writers interested in a fully-funded two-month residency in the Lower 48. The eligibility requirements have changed—Alaska-based artists who have not received a Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award are now also eligible to apply. A free information session detailing the program, eligibility requirements, and application process will be held June 26, at 6 p.m. in the Anchorage Museum’s Reynolds Classroom. Potential applicants are invited to attend in-person or by teleconference. More information can be found at rasmuson.org. If you have questions about the program, contact Jayson Smart at jsmart@rasmuson.org or call 907-297-2882


GOOD NEWS!

Erin Coughlin Hollowell is the new Executive Director!


Have news or events you'd like to see listed here? Email details to 49roundup (at) gmail.com. Your message must be received by noon on the Thursday before the roundup is scheduled to run. Unless your event falls in the "Opportunities" category, it should occur no more than 30 days from when we receive your email.