Thursday, February 6, 2014

EditorialLee Speaking

February already. The months seem to fly by so fast I took a second look at the calendar to make sure it was still 2014.

It is. Whew! 

But the months do go by with remarkable speed as we get older. June will be here in the bat of an eye. I'll be singing Paul McCartney's "When I'm 64" before June is over. But before Tim Hudson and I turn a year older (we were both born on June 22 although Tim's got a couple of years on me), we'll have finished the 39th annual Southeastern Writers Association Workshop on St. Simons Island.

This year's workshop should be our best ever. Yeah, I know I said that last year. And the year before. The thing is, I was right those times, too. But this year is going to be something special. We have star power like we haven't seen in . . . uh, ever. And they're all going to be there just to advance your writing career, be it a for-profit pursuit or merely for fun.

We have an agent-in-residence. Of course, we always have one of those. This year, though, Carlie Webber will teach classes on some nuts-and-bolts requirements of marketing: query and synopsis. We have a real Jack-of-All-Trades from the business, Chuck Sambuchino -- who is an author, an editor, and quite an authority on the art of writing commercially. Chuck's teaching three classes and will be available to meet with a limited number of students as well. We have a publisher, California-based Dahlynn McKowen and her husband Ken, who publish non-fiction collections and who want to share secrets of getting published as a non-fiction writer as well as offering workshops on humor in non-fiction.

We have a best-selling novelist, Bob Mayer, who is going to present six -- that's right, six -- full workshops on novels, from plotting to platform to marketing. If you're an aspiring novelist, get ready to be dazzled. We also have an up-and-coming short-fiction writer, C.D. Mitchell, whose cutting-edge material is sure to raise eyebrows.

We have an award-winning Georgia Author of the Year children's novelist, Peggy Mercer, who will teach juvenile writing and also poetry. Peggy's poetry is doing all right, too. Her collection entitled Grew Up Loving Elvis has been selling well, and a country-gospel song she wrote called "The Oar" is now getting a lot of airplay and seems destined to be a best-seller for debut artist Bradley Miller.

And, last but not least, our own Debra Brown is preparing three one-hour workshops on the hottest thing in marketing anything these days, Social Media. She'll have your face in Facebook if it's not there already and your heart will go a-Twitter when she gets through with you. And I'm going to stop with the puns right now before I get too wound up (or before you gag).

And we're going to put together a panel of these experts on Sunday afternoon to field questions. You won't want to miss that.

This is a special workshop for me. It's my last as SWA President and faculty recruiter. I'll probably still be around St. Simons every summer, might even work in the bookstore if I'm asked, but this is my last time as a board member. I'm excited that my replacement on the Board will be the youngest ever to serve SWA; you'll find out just who that is when we make the announcement in June.

I hope you'll be there to hear that announcement . . . and to soak up what we have to offer this year. Because it's going to be our best workshop ever. Did I tell you that? Approaching 64 means you forget things. And something else, although, darn it, I can't remember what that second thing was. Oh yes, now I remember, it's that you forget things.

~~ Lee Clevenger

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

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