Mentoring the Next Generation of Writers

In May, NY Chapter co-chair Timothy Sheard met with four aspiring writers, each with their own unique challenges and goals. Over two hours we discuss each writer’s opportunities and options, from finding an agent to self-publishing. One writer, having not heard back from a publisher who expressed interest in her book, is now going to shop it around to as many publishers as she can find who carry similar works. If she still fails to win a book contract, she has a marketing plan and will self-publish.

Another writer, working on a non-fiction book about chocolate, travel and the history of colonization of indigenous peoples as Europeans established cocoa plantations, is developing her pitch to agents and editors as she polishes the first 3 chapters of her book. A young writer with a drop-dead gorgeous graphic novella about a love story between two homeless people during the height of the AIDS epidemic is working on winning an agent and developing her marketing strategy. We discussed including personal queries to every comic book-graphic novel store in the US as part of her marketing strategy, and her tie-in to a television pilot that was the source of the story: great potential for stellar sales.

We discussed a journalist working on self-pubbing her columns on travel to Paris and the need to revise old pieces in light of changes in tat fair city, then went on to talk about how she might market the book: to airlines flying to Paris, to travel agents, to arts and culture groups that organize tours, and so on.

All in all, the two-hour discussion was brimming over with good ideas, realistic plans and lists of tasks to take on. Everyone left enthusiastic about the daunting road ahead, cheered by the comradery we found, since in the end, we are freelance writers, writing in isolation, dreaming our dreams and fighting the despair that can come from one too many rejection.

Timothy Sheard, NY Chapter

Caption includes: Tim Sheard, Jeanne  Rescigno, Daphne Arthur, Jackie Gabriel and Ellen Schnepel.