Writer’s Circle shares author’s works, tips for getting published

PORT CLINTON — About 20 published and pending authors gathered at the Art Garage (TAG) recently to share their work and hear Larry Smith discuss the publishing process at the second meeting of the Area Writers Circle. Port Clinton. Smith is a published author, editor and director of Bottom Dog Press in Huron.

The Writers’ Circle was formed this year by local published authors Rich Norgard, Victoria Heinsen, PJ “Pete” Grondin and Patrick Lawrence O’Keeffe. During the meeting, Norgard explained that the development of the writing group is fluid; it will evolve according to the members.

Jan Carver Young reads an excerpt from his book

The group could focus solely on guiding members to become better writers. They could meet to work on individual projects and receive feedback on the work. Another possibility is for the meetings to function as an open-mic literary event. Members who wish can share anything they’ve been working on, whether it’s prose, poetry, music, or any other form of writing.

Learning experience and open mic event

“We could do both,” Norgard told the group. “We’re still figuring this out, and we want to hear from you.”

The April 28 meeting functioned as a learning experience combined with an open-mic event. Smith has published nearly 20 books, edited over 60 books, and edited over 220 works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. At Writers’ Circle, he explained what an editor looks for when considering a manuscript.

“Publishing is a relationship between the writer, the publisher and the book. All should serve each other,” Smith said. “We post people as well as books, so when someone comes to see me, I look them up on Facebook.”

Smith must feel a connection to the book and to the author before publishing a book. This relational connection is vital for him and for many publishers.

“Sometimes publishers reject good books because they’re not the right publishers for it,” he said. “If I don’t like the book, I won’t publish it.”

Editors are looking for strong characters, credibility

Under Smith’s leadership, Bottom Dog Press publishes poetry, memoir, fiction, and nonfiction.

“Probably mostly poetry and fiction, but the memoirs are catching on,” he said.

Smith told the group’s writers that as an editor he is looking for strong characters, credibility and readability in the story, and a sense of place.

“I look at the style and I look at the writer. In some ways, I expect it to be better than my own writing,” he said.

Heinsen invites anyone who wants to strengthen their writing skills to join the Writer’s Circle.

Blogger Richard Morgan reads from his work at the April Writer's Circle meeting.

“I’ve led other writers’ groups. We encourage each other and find ideas. We share thoughts on writing,” Heinsen said. “Some people write poetry. Some write short stories. Some write essays.

Several people shared during the open mic portion of the writers circle meeting. The works represented the arts of poetry, prose, blogging, and songwriting.

Applause and encouragement

Joel Rudinger shared his original poem, “The Word That Will Not Come,” and Jan Carver Young read an excerpt from his published book, “My Sister and I.” Richard Morgan read two of his personal blogs – one poignant and one humorous. Musician John Davenport played guitar and sang two of his original songs.

Each performer was greeted with applause and encouragement from those in attendance and from Smith, who explained that publishing is not just about print. Once a work is shared with the world, it is published.

“You just posted it to us,” Smith told Morgan after he finished reading his blogs. “If you read it in a cafe or put it in a blog, you get published.”

The writing circle meets at TAG every fourth Thursday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m. TAG is located at 317 W. Perry St., Port Clinton.

Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at [email protected]