No Cal is Lit

During the past 4 years the National Writers Union Northern California Chapter has, supported our members and NWU in a variety of ways. We have made presentations, exhibited, and sold books at some of the most visible and prestigious book events in California, including readings and appearances at the San Francisco Writers Conference, San Francisco LitQuake/Lit Crawl, The Bay Area Berkeley book festival, The Zinn Book Festival, The Mechanics Institute Library, Writing for Change, The California Book Club, The Point Richmond Writers Club, The Mill Valley Film Festival and Zyzyvia Magazine. Other venues include renown book sellers such as Book Passage, Book Smith, and other independent local book stores, as well as teaching sessions at San Francisco State, Chico State, and conferences such as Women Build Nations.

Our approach in Northern California has been to use an outreach team to recruit new members at events while simultaneously supporting the work and educational needs of local authors by developing a unique presence in the literary community of our region.

We in NoCal do not attempt to duplicate services of the broader literary community but show how, as a labor union, the NWU has a different and unique agenda relative to the other organizations associated with the Northern California dense writing community.

We maintain samples of member writings in a kit for display at events and invite NWU authors volunteering to sell their books at our venue exhibition tables. We then circulate among the others writers and publishers with our NWU pamphlets and T-shirts.

While at events we discuss NWU priority projects and legislative priorities. We show people where to find information on our website beyond the headlines. Northern California maintains a specific outreach web address, from which we field questions and problems asked by writers in our region, and receive multiple inquiries from other regions as well, ranging from how to find a writing coach, how to self publish, or even how to make the NWU website function for them.

Answering these concerns can be time consuming, but one-on-one contact with individual writers has allowed us to attract several new members each year who are working writers.

We also notice that we field questions from other regions because the “outreach” address under the northern California Chapter reads as if we care. We redirect people from other regions, after providing a route to their problems, back to their regions.

We also recommend to members that they identify themselves as NWU members in their written material. In the digital age every book has a digital footprint and the NWU should be a part of our authors’ back matter.

Though acquiring and supporting members one at a time might seem too time consuming, we do it in order to maintain contact with what individual writers are searching for — visibility and support. And our membership is increasing.