Thursday, April 17, 2014

Workshop Sneak Peek: Carlie Webber, Literary Agent

Agent in Residence Carlie Webber will be with us throughout the Southeastern Writers Workshop week, June 13-17, 2014.  She is the founder of CK Webber Associates based in San Francisco, but began her book-centric career as a Young Adult librarian.  As such she often reviewed YA books for Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA), Kirkus Reviews and others.  After completing the Columbia Publishing Course, Carlie interned at Writers House then worked for the Publish or Perish Agency/New England Publishing Associates, and later at the Jane Rotrosen Agency.  She launched CK Webber Associates in early 2013 and currently seeks manuscripts in various genres, including Young Adult, Middle Grade,  New Adult, women's fiction, literary and general fiction, memoir and others.

Carlie will meet one-on-one with interested workshop attendees throughout the week, participate in our Ask The Experts Q&A panel discussion, and give a State of the Industry lecture Sunday. In addition, she'll teach two classes:

Dissecting The Query Letter

A great query can be your key to snagging the right agent. In this workshop, Carlie Webber will take you through the ins and outs of constructing the perfect query letter, from the opening (hint: “Dear Agent” is not a great opening) to the book description (no spoilers!) to the close. She’ll answer some of the most common questions about query writing, including length of the letter, how much information to reveal about the plot, what information to put in your author bio, and what details will make an agent want to read more. 

☆ ☆ ☆ Submit Your Query Letter for Critique! ☆ ☆ ☆

Dissecting The Synopsis

After writing a 100,000-word novel, writing a 500-word synopsis of the novel seems easy. In fact, writing a synopsis might be one of the hardest things a writer has to do. Carlie Webber will teach you what information should (and should not) go in a synopsis, why a great synopsis can help sell and market your book, and why it’s important to be able to clearly and concisely summarize your book in just a few words. Examples of good synopsis writing will be shown throughout the presentation.

Still undecided?
Check out the Southeastern Writers Workshop  page 
to learn more.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A Round of Applause: Member News

C. Hope Clark's Tidewater Murder won Best Mystery in the 2014 EPIC (Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition) ebook Awards! She also won 2013 EPIC award for Lowcountry Bribe.

SWA vice president, Buzz Bernard, has also won a 2014 EPIC eBook Award -- in the suspense/thriller category for his novel Plague.  Buzz is currently at work on his fourth novel, Blizzard.

Janet Sheppard Kelleher has been honored to open the first annual Listen To Your Mother show in Charleston, SC on May 4, 2014 with her nonfiction story, "I Don't Know Nothin' 'Bout Birthin' Babies." Her creative nonfiction has been published in various edition editions of Not Your Mother's Book, including … On Being a Woman - "Sitting Room Only," and … On Family - "Telltale Possessions" (Coming June 10, 2014).  It's no surprise she won the Carrie McCray Memorial award for Nonfiction in 2013. 

Sheila Hudson signed a contract with Dancing With Bear Publishing company for her book 13 Decisions that will Change Your Life, the first in a series.

Judith Barban has added two books to her resume in 2014. Her YA novel Meredith's Wolf is a sequel to her award-winning Poplar River, which garnered the ThomasMax You Are Published award at the SWA Workshop a few years ago. Judith has also penned Crown Jewels, a collection of her poetry. (Crown Jewels will be released this month.)

Peggy Mercer gospel song THE OAR hit No. 7 on Southern gospel countdown on elite CASHBOX magazine charts and is climbing.

Holly McClure signed a contract with Mercer for her book Conjuror.  She also participated this month in the Daddy's Girl Writers Conference.

Patrick Hempfing had moMENts columns published in April issues of About Families, Idaho Family, Mendo Lake Family Life, Palmetto Parent, Sonoma Family Life, Suburban Parent, and Western New York Family magazines. 

We invite members to share news about their successes and activities so we can all join the celebration!

Thursday, April 10, 2014


From Publishing Syndicate

Not Your Mother's Book...On Holidays has moved up on the production schedule. The slated release date will be in September, which means we must finalize this book  quickly. There are a dozen or so story slots open, but we need specific stories. Would love to see any funny,  different, daring and smart stories on these topics:

  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Day of the Dead 
  • Easter
  • Father's Day
  • Jewish holidays
  • Kwanzaa
  • Labor Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Mother's Day
  • New Year's Eve
  • St. Patrick's Day
  • Veteran's Day 

We have plenty of stories for those holidays not listed.   

The deadline is Monday, May 5th. 


Manuscript submissions to the SWA Writers Workshop contests & evaluations are due May 15th.  Find more info here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

EditorialLee Speaking

As I write this, it's April Fool's Day. It appears winter finally gave up its hold on us yesterday, but one day of lamb-like weather at the end of March further convinces me global warming is a hoax perpetrated by a few people who wanted to get rich at the expense of the rest of us. The Braves lost yesterday on Opening Day, and the latest fad among Braves' players appears to be elbow surgery. My favorite time of year (March Madness) has ended disgustingly with nobody in the Final Four that makes me want to root, root, root. The deadline for entry to our workshop in June draws closer. 

And I'm not writing about any of those things. Okay, the last one about the workshop holds some relevance to the success stories I'm about to mention, but that the deadline nears isn't my focus here. Success is that focus.

Sheila Hudson was at St. Simons when I first attended the Southeastern Writers Workshop in 2001 and has been there every year since then. She's served in various capacities (including President) on the Board of Directors for our writers-helping-writers group. Now, after years of faithful effort, she has landed a book deal. More than just a one-book deal -- a potential series with another thirteen decisions coming up for her next title! And more than just a series, a series bringing help with life's lessons. The title of the first is Thirteen Decisions That Will Change Your Life. Check it out here: Among Sheila's other writing projects: a blog called "Bright Ideas." Check it out here:

Emily Sue Harvey was also at that first workshop I attended. Like Sheila, she's faithfully attended workshop classes and served her time on the Board of Directors (including a two-year term as President). After years of fighting the battle to get published and facing rejection after rejection, in 2011 she hit the jackpot and now has five novels in print. Her page lists them all along with some biographical information: Her personal website is:

Buzz Bernard first came to SWA several years ago (he wasn't here on my first visit in 2001). However, like Sheila and Emily Sue, he has been a Godsend to SWA. He now holds the title of Vice President on the Board of Directors. Oh, yeah, SWA has been a Godsend to him. Buzz has had success as a novelist, beginning with Eyewall in 2011, which became ame an e-book bestseller on Amazon Kindle. He's since followed up with two other novels, which have garnered recognition for excellence (Plague is my favorite...I'm currently reading Supercell). And yet when he first came to SWA, he was unpublished as a novelist. I remember the happiness he let show when SWA novel instructor Brian Jay Corrigan told him, "You're ready to play with the big boys." Here's a link to Buzz's Facebook page:

Oh, Buzz doesn't just write about weather; as a former employee of The Weather Channel, he's a self-admitted "weather junkie." And his upcoming fourth novel, Blizzard, will be his third weather-related book.

These are not the only success stories from SWA, but they are three that hit close to my heart. I have worked closely with all three on the SWA Board and also gotten to know them well as friends. I see several things in common beyond the fact that they've all had success:

  • They've been attending SWA for years, honing their crafts and understanding the marketplace as a result.
  • They've all won awards (at SWA and elsewhere) for poetry, humor or short stories, fiction or non-fiction.
  • They've all served on the SWA Board of Directors. That in itself doesn't guarantee anything. But it does show that those willing to step up and help others frequently are the ones who succeed.
  • None of them are (sorry, guys) young in years. Young at heart, perhaps, but all have found their success through perseverance that has carried them to success late in life.

Buzz still serves on the board, and Sheila is working as an auxiliary board member. Both will be at the workshop in June. If your career as a writer seems to be going nowhere, talk to them. I'm sure they have had times they felt their writing careers were going nowhere also.

And while Emily Sue, with her busy promotion schedule, probably won't be there, I venture to say she'd answer any questions a fledgling unpublished wannabee might throw at her via Facebook, Linked-in or the contact form on her web page (link at her personal website).

We have a lot more success stories that have grown from SWA, far too many to list in one column. If you're interested in adding your name to the list of successful SWA-workshop grads, the first step is to sign up for this year's June workshop. Just follow this link and you'll be on your way:

~~ Lee Clevenger

Lee is the current President of SWA, an author and co-founder of ThomasMax Publishing in Atlanta, GA.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Workshop Sneak Peak: Chuck Sambuchino, Editor at Writer's Digest Books

Chuck Sambuchino will teach three classes and participate in the Ask The Experts panel during the nonfiction portion (June 14 & 15) of the SWA Writers Workshop, June 13-17, at Epworth-by-the-Sea on St. Simon’s Island, GA.  Chuck's an editor, who edits the Guide To Literary Agents. The accompanying Guide to Literary Agents Blog ( is one of the largest blogs in publishing. He is also the editor of another annual resource from WD, the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market. He was recently included in a Forbes Top 10 list of "Social Media Influencers: Book Publishing."

Chuck is also a writer.  His humor book, How To Survive A Garden Gnome Attack was released in 2010 and has been featured by Reader's Digest, USA Today, the New York Times and AOL News. The film rights were recently optioned by Sony and director Robert Zemeckis. His second humor book, Red Dog / Blue Dog, a photo collection of liberal and conservative dogs, came out in 2012 and has been featured by USA Today and The Huffington Post.  

Chuck also has two other writing-related titles: the third edition of Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript (2009), and Create Your Writer Platform (2012) and 700 published articles.  Naturally, he will offer a class on “Selling Articles To Magazines & Websites” and two others: 

How to Get Published: Professional Writing Practices & What Editors Want

This is a general presentation examining good writing practices that all editors appreciate—whether writing for books, magazines, newspapers or online. This workshop goes well near the beginning of the conference. This session targets all levels of writers in both fiction and nonfiction. This one-size-fits-all session has served as a keynote speech several times.

Create Your Writer Platform

A writer’s platform is as important as ever now. Visibility and ability to self-market are mandatory these days for writers of nonfiction and self-published works. Furthermore, fiction writers want a platform to sell books, meet readers and increase their value. Adapted from his 2012 book, Chuck teaches writers the basics of what a platform is and why it is necessary. Then he delves into the building blocks of what can constitute a platform, from media appearances and speaking engagements to social networking, Twitter and more.  

Have you registered yet?
What are you waiting?
Find full info HERE!