Thursday, January 10, 2019

Guest Speakers For Your Writing Chapter

If you are part of a writing chapter, the odds are that you have a diverse range of authors. You have those who are still fighting for that first contract, and those who have been around the block already. You also have those who are interested in traditional publishing as well as those who want to go the self-publishing route. Regardless of your population, bringing in guest speakers is always a great thing to do.

Now, I fully understand that this will require money. Most guest speakers will expect to have transportation and lodging covered. But, in return, you get advise from people who are experts.

If you do want to bring someone one to speak, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, what are the needs of your chapter. If you have a ton of new authors, bringing in someone who has been working for 30 years is not going to really help you a lot. They will tell you how they write their stories, but they are in a completely different place than you are. It is great for motivation, but make sure that person can bring it down a couple of notches for you.

Secondly, if you are looking for editors and agents, make sure those people are acquiring and, along the same lines, acquiring those things that your writers actually acquire. I attended a chapter a while ago and the entire chapter only did digital self-publishing. Now, while I could give them some tips for writing, the time I spent with them could have been better had they invited someone who knew what was going on.

Next, ask yourself why you are inviting this person. Are you doing so because you think this person is the hottest things since sliced bread? Are you inviting them because they are popular? If this is your only reason, this might not be a great use of your funds.

I would also argue, inviting someone just because they are not in your area is not a great reason. I heard a conference coordinator state that they didn't invite that editor/agent because that person lived in the area. They wanted to get someone the writers could not easily get to. The reality is that you can get to editors and agents pretty much 24-7. In fact, if that person is in your area, that might be a great reason to bring the person in. It can save you expenses in both hotel and travel! Consider that one! (Hint those of you in the Pacific Northwest).

Finally, I don't know if you have noticed something, but I continually have used the phrase INVITE the person. Getting someone to your chapter requires YOU reaching out! All you have to do is email. You might be surprised how easy it is to get people to your group!

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