September 12, 2017

In This Issue:

September Third Thursday; fall classes on worldbuilding, protagonists, and more; apply for a signing slot at the WLT's Texas Book Festival booth

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September Third Thursday
What Makes Books Sell?

Thursday, September 21, 2017, 7 PM
BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd., 3rd Floor
Austin, TX 

Every year, thousands of books are published by major publishing imprints, not to mention books from independent publishers and self-published authors. What makes some books stand out while others seem to vanish as soon as they're released? How do publishing houses decide which books will receive their biggest marketing pushes? What role do bookstores & literary festivals play in the sales success of a book? And what can indie authors learn from the traditional publishing model?
At this panel discussion, moderated by WLT Executive Director Becka Oliver (who herself has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry), you'll learn from the following experts:
  • Brian Contine, sales manager for Penguin, who has worked with numerous acclaimed authors including bestselling thriller writer Meg Gardiner and National Book Award finalist Karan Mahajan;
  • Gillian Redfearn, national accounts manager for Macmillan Publishing, who has worked with numerous NY Times-bestselling authors such as Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess);
  • Deanna Roy, six-time USA Today bestselling author, who is the author of more than thirty books and regularly speaks to authors about marketing and the business side of being an author;
  • Julie Wernersbach, literary director for the Texas Book Festival -- one of the most celebrated literary events in the country -- as well as former marketing director at BookPeople and the author of two nonfiction books.
You won't want to miss this inside look at the book-selling process. Find the event on Facebook.

LAST CHANCE: Worldbuilding for Speculative Fiction
with Amanda Downum and Marshall Ryan Maresca  
Saturday, September 16, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

Learn techniques to build a rich, immersive world without infodumping or overwhelming readers. Particular focus will be given to incorporating worldbuilding into characterization and description with useful exercises, whether you're starting a project from scratch or want to add nuance to an existing story. 
Read an interview with Amanda here and Marshall here.
Online registration closes Thursday, September 14, at midnight.  Walk-in registrations will be accepted at the venue, as space allows. 

Strategies for Structure Within a Novel
with Stephanie Noll
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. CST
In this  class, participants will learn  the function of chapters in a novel,  the difference between successful and unsuccessful chapters how to determine chapter length , and  strategies for the beginning, middle, and end of chapters.  Participants  will read published excerpts and participate in writing exercises (on new work or their work-in-progress) so that they leave the class with a stronger sense of how to best arrange pieces of their manuscript into a coherent whole.
  • You are looking for practical ideas on how to organize a book length work.
  • Your novel chapters start with the character waking up and end with the end of a day--and you wish that they didn't.
Online registration closes Tuesday, September 19, at 5 p.m.  
Everyone who registers will have access to the class recording for one week.

On the Hero's Journey: Discovering Plot, Character, and Meaning for Your Novel  
with Greg Garrett     
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. CST
Learn how The Hero's Journey, a mythic structure used in countless films and stories, might help you write your best novel, how the pattern can be reshaped to suit your purposes, and what kinds of stories don't fit the pattern.
  • "Masterful."
  • "I couldn't have asked for more."
  • "It felt like brain fuel. I needed this course."

Online registration closes Wednesday, September 20, at 5 p.m.  
Everyone who registers will have access to the class recording for one week.

Creating Protagonists Your Readers Will Follow 
with Chaitali Sen    
Saturday, September 23, 2017
10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
St. Edward's University, Austin, TX

Learn the tools to facilitate an emotional relationship between your readers and your characters. This class will focus on the common pitfalls of characterization in modern fiction and memoir, look at examples of unforgettable protagonists, and work on some writing exercises that will help develop protagonists who can really be in the driver's seat of your story. Participants will learn to commit to one or two main characters, to be hard on those characters, to acknowledge their contradictions, and to give them rich interior lives and ways to act out.
  • "Well rounded information about writing with intention and a variety of ways to present information in a particular genre."
  • "Outstanding info from Chaitali Sen - best takeaway from conference."
Online registration closes Thursday, September 21, at midnight.  Walk-in registrations will be accepted at the venue, as space allows. 

Writers' League of Texas Podcast  

Have you checked out our podcast lately? If not, you're missing out on an array of great discussions featuring some of our favorite writers sharing craft tips, tricks, and advice. And remember, you can now find us wherever you get your podcasts Subscribe  so you never miss an episode!

We've all heard the statement, "It's like something out of science fiction." Changes in politics and technology often seem to resemble the invented worlds of writers like Philip K. Dick and Ursula K. Le Guin. But those novelists' most famous books were written more than 40 years ago. What stories is this prescient genre creating today? What worlds do writers invent when reality seems so fantastic?
At our September 15 Third Thursday, WLT Program Director Michael Noll discussed these issues and more with panelists P.J. (Tricia) Hoover, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Adam Soto, and Rebecca Schwarz.

Member News 

Book Signings

Martha Miller (San Antonio) will be signing copies of her travel memoir  Times New Roman: How We Quit Our Jobs, Gave Away Our Stuff & Moved to Italy  at Half Price Books  - San Pedro (across from Northstar Mall) on  Saturday, September 23  from  1 p.m. to 3 p.m . Shop early for Christmas!

Interested in having your news listed here? Current Writers' League members can submit their news to Announcements should adhere to the following guidelines: third-person, starting with your first and last name, followed by your city of residence, maximum 50 words. We may edit your announcement for style and clarity.

SAVE THE DATE: The 2017 Texas Book Festival is less than two months away!
WLT Members: Apply for a signing slot at the Writers' League's booth.

November 4-5, 2017
Texas State Capitol and Grounds
Austin, TX

Every year, the  Texas Book Festival  brings more than 40,000 book lovers of all ages to the State Capitol grounds in Austin for a full weekend of programming with over 250 authors, including author readings and presentations, panel discussions, book signings, cooking demonstrations, live music, local food, YA authors, children's activities, and exhibiting vendors from across the state. 

Since the Festival's beginnings, the Writers' League of Texas has participated as an exhibitor. Each year we look forward to this wonderful opportunity to support Texas authors and meet members, readers, and writers from across the state and nation. At our booth, visitors can meet our staff and volunteers,   learn about membership, and raise a glass to toast our book award honorees. And this year as in years past, we're thrilled to offer our members the opportunity to sign and promote their books at our booth.
If you'd like to take advantage of the opportunity to sell and sign your book during one of our 45-minute signing slots at our Texas Book Festival booth, the guidelines are fairly simple, and the process for submitting your name and book for consideration is easy -- find the guidelines and link to sign up  here. Note that this opportunity is a members-only  benefit
With over 1,300 members and only two days' worth of signing slots available, we want to thank you in advance for understanding that, while we'll certainly do our best to accommodate everyone who meets the guidelines, we unfortunately can't guarantee that there will be space for all interested members. Please know, if we can find a place for you, we will!
As always, if you have questions on anything here (or anything else), please do reach out to us at (512) 499-8914 or via email at
Hope to see you in Austin in November (if not before)!
WLT Staff
Writer Classifieds 
Looking for a writing group or critique partner? Look no further than our Writer Classifieds. Current Writers' League members can submit their name, contact information, and additional details to be included as a listing on a private page on our website. 
Coming Up @ WLT
Classes, Free Programs, Deadlines, and Other Events Across the State

September 14-16
Creatives Meet Business Experience 2017 (September 14-16)
      "Building Your Own Compelling Story" with Michael Noll on September 16 
      (ticket must be purchased for the full weekend to attend Michael's session)
      Various locations, Austin, TX
September 16 
"Worldbuilding for Speculative Fiction" with Amanda Downum and Marshall Ryan Maresca
     St. Edward's University, Austin, TX
      Online registration closes Thursday, September 14, at midnight.
     Walk-in registrations will be accepted.

September 19
      Online Class

     Bosque Arts Center, Clifton, TX

September 26 

Intensive: "First Impressions Are Everything: Composing a Standout Query Letter" with Becka Oliver
     Writers' League of Texas Offices, Austin, TX
     Members Only

September 28  

"Effective Research Methods for Fiction: How Much Is Enough" with John Pipkin
     Online Class

September 30  

"The Secret to Making Picture Books" with Liz Garton Scanlon
     St. Edward's University, Austin, TX   

     Shallowater School County Library, Shallowater, TX

October 6
      Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX 

October 7
"The Agent Search" with Becka Oliver
      Inprint, Houston, TX
      This class is sold out. 

October 10
      Interabang Books, Dallas, TX
October 11  
      Online Class

October 12
Intensive: "Make a Long Story Short: Writing a Novel Synopsis" with Jo Whittemore
      Mitte Carriage House, Austin, TX
      Members Only

October 14
"Crafting Nonlinear Narratives" with Varian Johnson
      ACC Highland, Austin, TX

This project is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.
Visit Austin at

Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to .