Georgia Writers Association: My first Workshop

Victoria Wilcox
Photo Cred: JBerridge, Victoria Wilcox

Continuing my writing and learning experience I attended my first Georgia Writers Association workshop. This particular workshop caught my attention, not because it was 30 minutes from my home, but due to the subject matter:

From Writer to Author: How to Get Published in 2015. 

The guest speaker was Victoria Wilcox who was named the 50th Annual Georgia Author of the Year for a First Novel: Inheritance

As a business woman I find it comfortable in my own industry knowing how to “work” to be successful but as a new writer it stifles me as to which direction to take. Becoming published therefore “working” in the field as an author is a new learning experience for me. Its an enormous leap, one that I’m committed to but need the education from others on how best to approach.

Ms. Wilcox expressed that when we speak all day long we are in fact actually telling stories, that we are naturally born to be storytellers. Right out of the gate I connected with her, knowing full well that if you asked my family, friends, or co-workers about my storytelling they would laugh and say she has a gift of gab with lengthily but detailed “stories”.  Guess I’m born to write!

Ms. Wilcox (with help from her hubby) spent a few hours going over the basics of traditional publishing. Her stance is that traditional publishing breeds a better book through editors, marketing, and direct lines to book stores. She made a point that regional conventions are one of the best ways to gain attention from publishers and book stores however you cannot attend if you are self-published. Each writer has their specific genre and objectives but with fiction I would agree that traditional publishing is the best route. Let the professionals support you as the writer to bridge the gap to you as the author.

Another point well made was that traditional published books find there way into libraries and each county has a process for local authors to be displayed in the branches. It was noted by a member of the Decatur Library team self-published books are often are a bit messy and don’t make it pass the review committee thus another avenue closed to self-published authors.

Some of my key take-a-ways from Ms. Wilcox were on manuscript formatting and highlights for agent queries: query letter, short / long synopsis, authors biography, and the closing. Other useful info was specific to websites which of course I’ve already saved most of them on my bookmarks bar however one honorable mention was for I have this site saved but didn’t understand until the workshop that this is a web-based database for tracking all your agent queries which includes feedback from other writers on the agents “stats”. Since I’m a data queen, I’ve been wondering how to keep track of all the agent queries, even contemplated building a MS Access database myself. Who knew it was already done for me at no cost? Thanks Ms. Wilcox!

 Having us do a quick down-and-dirty exercise for our opening really got my mind working! I may have even come up with my title which I’ve been waiting to do until after the novel is finished. She left us with a home exercise of writing our long version of our synopsis which I will dutifully take on after my novel is complete. 

I find that writing is much like running, there is a primal need to do it; not much love of the process of doing; just the desire to complete. Then repeat.

After my first GWA workshop I’m happy to say this event was inspiring and might help keep me on track or just keep me moving forward. “Never give up, for that is just the place and time the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

Merry Christmas & Cheers!


For more information on Victoria Wilcox please visit her web page

CWA 12/13/14
Photo Cred: Jberridge, Victoria Wilcox

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