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Next Meeting: Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Lessons Learned: A Writer’s Journey from Baseball Fields to Battlefields  -- presented by Alan Spector

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

In that regard, in 2006, when I was developing the manuscript of my first book, I was at a family gathering and asked a would-be-author cousin how her book was progressing. She excitedly reported she was working closely with her agent and editors at the publisher toward a final draft. In return, she asked me how I was doing on my early draft and what kind of feedback I had received.

“Feedback?”

She was incredulous, “You mean you haven’t shared your work with others yet? When are you going to get out of your cave?”

I immediately knew what she meant, and added “get out of my cave” to my list of things I was learning about being an author. Sure, I had interviewed people for my book and done a lot of research away from the confines of my computer, but I was enjoying the actual writing process so much I hadn’t reached out to others to get any critical feedback.

My next steps were to 1) join a local writer critique group, 2) register for a couple of writers’ conferences, and 3) develop a list of willing beta readers — the first of which was my wife, who is now the more-than-willing first-reader on all of my manuscripts and is ecstatic when she gets to wield her red editing pen.

My list of lessons learned continues to grow, and First Lady Roosevelt was right. I’ve been learning from others’ mistakes — because I’m out of my cave. And I’ve been making plenty of my own. Here are but a few of the lessons that I’ll be glad to share with you in more detail at the SLPA meeting on February 8:

  • Don’t quit your day job… unless you already have.
  • Grow thick skin… rejection is inevitable.
  • Everyone will have an idea for your next book… and some of them are good.
  • Self-published? Tolerate Amazon… but market to direct sales.

I also look forward to hearing what you’ve learned from your mistakes and those of others — oh, and from successes as well. If you’re like me, you’ve had both. I hope to see you and learn from each other on February 8.

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(the second Wednesday of every month)

THE HEIGHTS: Richmond Heights Community Center
Argus Room
8001 Dale Ave.
Richmond Heights, MO 63117

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