There is always a lot of organization and planning behind any writing conference, and this weekend’s conference is no exception. A committed voluntary Board has secured elite presenters for this Saturday’s conference in Sherwood Park, Alberta.
From initial concept to title and theme, to the booking of a venue, and finding presenters and then promotion, there is a lot of time spent creating the event.
Any writer, or author, is welcome to gain valuable information, and network.
I was watching a documentary series on Netflix, Bad Sport, which looks at the underbelly and criminal side of sports. Greed is one of the main components of why ‘deals’ are done. In all of the cases, a person’s reputation is dragged into the gutter. Their honesty and integrity are forever questioned from that moment on, no matter where they go or what they do.
It got me thinking about how authors need to, not only guard their reputation, but also ensure they uphold a certain integrity for their work and their place within the writing collective. As authors, we have an obligation to be honest and transparent in our dealings with our readers and others in the writing community.
As many of you know, I am a staunch supporter of my writing group, the Writers Foundation of Strathcona County, of which I am the Secretary. I am also more than willing to encourage and assist other writers in their careers and I advocate for the writing community as a whole.
I have created a list of steps I adhere to to uphold and protect my reputation. I would hope other authors would take similar steps too. These guidelines will ensure we are providing the best content, but also the best support for fellow writers, the writing community at large and our readers, that we can.
Behave professionally online and offline.
Do not mislead readers about our books, their status or their content.
Be respectful and courteous when dealing with readers, other authors, and all industry professionals. These include, but is not limited to, publishers, reviewers, publicists, agents, etc.
I will not air grievances, complaints or engage in public attacks on someone, either online, in person or to the press. Instead I will seek consultation and mitigation to resolve the matter.
I will not damage another person’s reputation.
When reviewing another author’s books, I will not mislead or deceive the reader for my own gain. If I know the author (or not – this has happened before to me) and find something that requires attention, I will contact them directly and privately.
I will not make false statements concerning my books.
Personally, I do not engage in, or post on social media or anywhere else, any religious or political content. These subjects are inconsequential to my author platform, my branding, or my narratives. This is a personal choice and one that all writers/authors can decide upon themselves.
Can you think of any other steps an author can take to build and maintain their reputation?
Please share in the comments your thoughts and ideas and rules you abide by.
I was honoured to be part of this virtual writing conference this past weekend. It was certainly jammed packed with panelists from all avenues of the writing community, and I made some great connections and learned a lot. I was also a panelist, which was such a fun thing to do. My first panel was on Friday with Mandy Michelle, Sarah Graham, and Melinda Curtis. We were discussing the romance genre and how it has transformed in line with societal changes since it’s conception, but also the expectation of the genre readers for the story format. Then on Saturday, I partnered with my publisher, Dream Write Publishing’s owner, Linda Pedley to discuss the business of getting a novel published and the extra writing required. This includes an author bio and professional photo, a blurb, a summary, a synopsis etc. etc. These ‘extra’s’ are not always considered by authors and the information proved to be useful.
At the beginning of every year, we decide on what goals we want to achieve. Sometimes we are successful, sometimes not, but it is the thrill of a new year that engages us in this ritual. I make a goal board to help my focus and motivation. It is not just for my writing goals but other personal ones too. As you can see from the image, I have four sections to my board this year – writing, family & friends, finances and health and relaxation.
Interestingly, this board is the most complex one I have ever made. Maybe because there is a stronger motivation this year due to the restrictions we have all encountered. And that is my word for 2021 as well – MOTIVATION.
Do you have a word for 2021?
I have already submitted to several writing contests and began a six week writing course too, so I am on my way. I am also determined to have the first book of my detective novel trilogy, edited and revised by the end of the year, so it can be published. To this end, members of my writing group will be swapping chapters of our current work in progress for suggestions, editing and review over several months. This is such a useful tool, as each person will ‘read’ the story, allowing me (and them) a preview of our novels.
Much like the story beginning, I was intrigued with one dirt road leading off a highway I travelled often and wondered what was over the hill. I still don’t know what is really there.
How did you come up with the title?
I think the title, DIRT ROAD, was self explanatory
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I hope people will see through more than the romance part, that, when needed, people rise to the occasion, such as the son that did not seem to have any gumption finally took over or the mother when away from the family was totally different.
How much of the book is realistic?
I think like all novels, bits and pieces are realistic. The dirt road in question is in Southern Alberta but the farm over the hill is in Central Alberta and the coffee shop is in Northern Montana but in the story they are all within miles of each other.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, the actual story is a figment of my imagination, but I feel the characteristics of the individuals are composites of various people I know.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
I am on Facebook only.
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
My next novel or any forthcoming work are all stand alone works. I have two completed novels and working on another. Time will tell if I publish them.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
I like Gary. He is patterned after my grandson with a little embellishment.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
I like to say I write about life, but romance seems to sneak in as well.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
Strictly seat of the pants. I love my writing club the nights they give three or four prompts and give us an hour to come up with a short story about one of them.
What is your best marketing tip?
Find someone you can trust to lead you along the way.
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
Social Media is a great help. I post my short stories on there and judge form the feedback.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
It takes me into a different world, not necessarily better but different.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
I think before I was a teenager I would ride my bicycle up on a hill overlooking the entry to my city and study the vehicles and write stories about what I thought they were doing in the city or where they were going when leaving.
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
I think it has remained the same.
What genre are you currently reading?
That is one of my hindrances as a writer, I read very little.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
When I do read it is for pleasure.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
I would have to say the members of my writing club give me the boost I need.
Where is your favorite writing space?
Tim Hortons. As I dabble on the laptop I watch the people around me and incorporate characteristics I see.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I belong to River Bottom Writing Club in Lethbridge
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?
Sorry, no favorite.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
Right where I live. My grandchildren are only a few miles away but also the people of Lethbridge are so diverse it gives me lots of content for my stories.
Do you see writing as a career?
Well, at 70 years old I think my career stage is over. However, I did work for several years as a newspaper journalist but found that type of writing not to my liking.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
Tim Horton coffee and a Boston Cream donut. At home it is Coke and Werthers Candies.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
I hate deadlines. I just like to see a finished copy, if there is any such thing as a finished copy.
Bryan L. Beerling lives in Lethbridge, AB with his wife. He is a member of the local writer’s group, River Bottom Writers. Dirt Road is his first full-length novel.