Chicago Writers Conference http://www.chicagowritersconference.org September 25 - 27, 2015 Tue, 23 Jun 2015 13:10:14 +0000 en-US hourly 1 VIDEO: Clayton Smith on Common Self-Publishing Mistakes http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/06/18/video-clayton-smith-on-common-self-publishing-mistakes/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/06/18/video-clayton-smith-on-common-self-publishing-mistakes/#comments Thu, 18 Jun 2015 18:39:17 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4922 Chicago Writers Conference

During CWC 2014, we asked Clayton Smith, the self-publishing guru from Dapper Press and author of Apocalypticon, how to self-publish well. This year at CWC 2015, Clayton Smith will be leading an entire intensive on self-publishing on the Friday preceding the conference. Below we’ve included the highlights from the interview. If you want to know more, be […]

VIDEO: Clayton Smith on Common Self-Publishing Mistakes

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Chicago Writers Conference

Clayton Smith screenshot

During CWC 2014, we asked Clayton Smith, the self-publishing guru from Dapper Press and author of Apocalypticon, how to self-publish well. This year at CWC 2015, Clayton Smith will be leading an entire intensive on self-publishing on the Friday preceding the conference. Below we’ve included the highlights from the interview. If you want to know more, be sure to register for CWC 2015 and apply to be a part of Clayton Smith’s unique intensive! 


What are the common mistakes made by self-published writers?

I think the biggest pitfall is that it’s so easy to do it, technically speaking. You can just slop together some words on a page, get together this book cover from some images that are awful that you stole the copyright from, and you can load it up on Amazon, right? Really, you can put together a horrible looking self-published book and start selling it in less than an hour if you wanted to. And I think a lot of people do that and a lot of people don’t take the time to make sure that it is a quality book.

What does a “well done” self-published book look like?

If you can take a book from one of the Big Five publishers and then take your self-published book side by side and flip through them and look through every page and not see a distinct difference, you’re doing it right.

What are telltale signs of bad self-publishing?

Well, I mean, the cover is number one, for sure. [A bad cover] is the number one thing that will make people think, “Wow. This book doesn’t look like something I want to read. It looks horribly self-published.” There are some other things, too. If you open the book and flip through it, really wide margins or really narrow margins are a dead tell. If you flip the book over to the back and you look at the barcode, one of my favorite little tells, for most self-published books, the authors don’t buy barcodes. They have the print-on-demand person or company put their barcodes on there and the price on the barcode will say something like $00.00. That’s a favorite tell that not many people talk about.

Who should self-publish?

I think that if you’re not prepared to work at it or to spend a little bit of money to make it a good product, then I would encourage you to maybe think about doing something different. Self-publishing is starting your own business. Every time you publish a book, you are being an entrepreneur and your running your own little business.

Have more questions? Watch the full interview below:


Fascinated by self-publishing? Check out our previous post Secrets of Smart Self-Publishing. Be sure to stay up-to-date with the latest career advice and news for writers in Chicago by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or subscribing to our newsletter

 

VIDEO: Clayton Smith on Common Self-Publishing Mistakes

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5 Need to Know Facts about the Chicago Writers Conference http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/06/04/5-need-to-know-facts-about-the-chicago-writers-conference/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/06/04/5-need-to-know-facts-about-the-chicago-writers-conference/#comments Thu, 04 Jun 2015 16:34:35 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4533 Chicago Writers Conference

Registration for the 2015 Chicago Writers Conference is now open! To celebrate, we’re bringing you 5 facts you may not know about the Chicago Writers Conference. Still have more questions? Visit our FAQ page or send us an email! We can’t wait to help you make the connections you need to take your writing career […]

5 Need to Know Facts about the Chicago Writers Conference

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Chicago Writers Conference

What a Wonderful Group of Writers

Registration for the 2015 Chicago Writers Conference is now open! To celebrate, we’re bringing you 5 facts you may not know about the Chicago Writers Conference. Still have more questions? Visit our FAQ page or send us an email! We can’t wait to help you make the connections you need to take your writing career to the next level.


1. CWC is for Writers at Every Level…

With talks and panels on topics ranging from starting a freelance career to working with an editor to designing your website, CWC provides tools that can be used by writers at all points in their career. Attendees include young scholarship recipients and seasoned authors alike.

Journalist and author Robert K. Elder says:

“The reason I love coming here is, not only the sense of community, but also because I learn something new each time. I’m literally now on my seventh book and I just attended a self-publishing seminar with Clayton Smith, which was amazing. It told me things I had not even considered.”

2. …and Every Genre!

Do you write nonfiction? Join us for a special immersion Friday night! Write fantasy? Catch our panel on writing genre fiction. CWC speakers range from screenwriters to bloggers to storytellers. They run poetry magazines and publish online newspapers. No matter what you write or how you write it, you’ll find it at CWC.

3. Don’t Bring a Manuscript, But Do Bring Business Cards.

Worried about lugging around a few manuscripts of your 3,600-page, six-part memoir around the conference? (We’re looking at you Karl Ove Knausgård!) Don’t fret!  Each year at CWC, attendees connect with editors, agents, and publishers with little more than a business card exchanged between them. In fact, all of our speakers have professed a preference for email submissions over paper.

And if you’re looking to share your work with speakers and attendees, CWC provides several opportunities to connect. You can submit your work for our Saturday-night reading or register for our exclusive Sunday-morning Pitchfest.

4. Three to Five Writing Groups Come out of the Conference Every Year. 

Whether you’re looking for an accountability group or a critique group, CWC is a great place to meet other ambitious and dedicated writers interested in developing their work. This year, we’ll even be hosting a session on how to form and structure your writing group for maximum creative productivity!

Patricia Skalka, an attendee who just published her second book through connections made at CWC says:

“People don’t come here with just the idea of hearing information. They come with the idea of talking about what’s important to them and where they want to go with their work.”

5. You Don’t Have to Be from Chicago to Benefit.

Attendees range from locals to international travelers! While Chicago is a great city to call home if you’re a writer, it’s also a great city to visit as a writer. Check out the list of hotels near the University Center in downtown Chicago and be sure to schedule in some time for sight-seeing.


For more book recommendations, event listings, fun articles, and inspirational quotes like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter. Be on the look out in coming weeks for information about the Chicago Writers Conference 2015!

 

5 Need to Know Facts about the Chicago Writers Conference

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Photos from CWC 2015 Annual Fundraiser http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc-2015-annual-fundraiser/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc-2015-annual-fundraiser/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 12:27:49 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4515 Chicago Writers Conference

Photos from Bad Poetry Night, CWC’s 3rd Annual Party with a Purpose Chicago, IL

Photos from CWC 2015 Annual Fundraiser

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Chicago Writers Conference

Photos from Bad Poetry Night, CWC’s 3rd Annual Party with a Purpose
Chicago, IL

Photos from CWC 2015 Annual Fundraiser

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Photos from #CWC2014: Day 1 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc2014-day-1/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc2014-day-1/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 12:27:07 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4513 Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference, Day 1 – #CWC2014 University Center October 24-26, 2014

Photos from #CWC2014: Day 1

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Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference, Day 1 – #CWC2014
University Center
October 24-26, 2014

Photos from #CWC2014: Day 1

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Photos from #CWC2014: Day 2 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc2014-day-2/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc2014-day-2/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 12:26:27 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4511 Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference, Day 2 – #CWC2014 University Center October 24-26, 2014

Photos from #CWC2014: Day 2

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Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference, Day 2 – #CWC2014
University Center
October 24-26, 2014

Photos from #CWC2014: Day 2

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Photos from CWC 2013 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc-2013/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/photos-from-cwc-2013/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 12:25:40 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4509 Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference 2013 Annual Conference Chicago Public Library – Harold Washington Center September 27-29, 2013

Photos from CWC 2013

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Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference 2013
Annual Conference
Chicago Public Library – Harold Washington Center
September 27-29, 2013

Photos from CWC 2013

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Highlights from CWC 2012 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/highlights-from-cwc-2012/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/highlights-from-cwc-2012/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 12:24:58 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4507 Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference 2012 Tribune Tower September 14-16, 2012

Highlights from CWC 2012

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Chicago Writers Conference

Chicago Writers Conference 2012
Tribune Tower
September 14-16, 2012

Highlights from CWC 2012

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CWC on CANTV http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/cwc-on-cantv/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/23/cwc-on-cantv/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 11:58:47 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4505 Chicago Writers Conference

The 2nd Annual Chicago Writers Conference will be held from September 27-29, 2013. Mare Swallow, Ines Bellina and Samantha Hoffman discuss Chicago’s literary culture and how the conference has become one of the gathering place for writers from all over the city. Juan Carlos Hernandez hosts the show. This program was produced by Chicago Access […]

CWC on CANTV

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Chicago Writers Conference

The 2nd Annual Chicago Writers Conference will be held from September 27-29, 2013. Mare Swallow, Ines Bellina and Samantha Hoffman discuss Chicago’s literary culture and how the conference has become one of the gathering place for writers from all over the city. Juan Carlos Hernandez hosts the show. This program was produced by Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV).

Watch the video!

CWC on CANTV

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3 Books to Read on Memorial Day http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/19/3-books-to-read-on-memorial-day/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/19/3-books-to-read-on-memorial-day/#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 18:29:40 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4492 Chicago Writers Conference

In honor of Memorial Day, the Chicago Writers Conference has cultivated a short list of books that honor American soldiers. Each selection has been published within the last five years and provides a deeply affecting account of modern warfare. Stop by a local bookstore between barbecues this weekend and check them out! (Photo Credit: Eros […]

3 Books to Read on Memorial Day

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Chicago Writers Conference

Anbar Province Iraq

In honor of Memorial Day, the Chicago Writers Conference has cultivated a short list of books that honor American soldiers. Each selection has been published within the last five years and provides a deeply affecting account of modern warfare. Stop by a local bookstore between barbecues this weekend and check them out! (Photo Credit: Eros Hoagland, Redux)


Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

The Yellow Birds: A Novel  (2013)

Kevin Powers

This National Book Award Winner tells the story of two unprepared soldiers: twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy in Al Tafar, Iraq. They cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city.

“In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes actions he could never have imagined.”

The New York Times had this to say about The Yellow Birds: “A remarkable first novel…The Yellow Birds is brilliantly observed and deeply affecting: at once a freshly imagined bildungsroman about a soldier’s coming of age, a harrowing story about the friendship of two young men trying to stay alive on the battlefield in Iraq, and a philosophical parable about the loss of innocence and the uses of memory.”

the things they cannot say

The Things They Cannot Say: Stories Soldiers Won’t Tell You About What They’ve Seen, Done or Failed to Do In War (2013)

Kevin Sites

Award-wining journalist Kevin Sites asks difficult questions to eleven soldiers and marines, prompting them to share the rarely heard truth about what it is like to kill, be under fire, and see sights that you can never forget:

“For each of these men, many of whom Sites first met while in Afghanistan and Iraq, the truth means something different. One struggles to recover from a head injury he believes has stolen his ability to love; another attempts to make amends for the killing of an innocent man; yet another finds respect for the enemy fighter who tried to kill him. Sites also shares the unsettling narrative of his own failures during war—including his complicity in a murder—and the redemptive powers of storytelling that saved him from a self-destructive downward spiral.”

The San Francisco Chronicle said this about The Things They Cannot Say: “Sites highlights the importance of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and sharing stories. Most importantly, he forces readers, those average civilians, to look at what war does to people and think about whether it’s always worth it.”

Redeployment Phil Klay

Redeployment (2014)

Phil Klay

Another National Book Award Winner, Phil Klay takes readers to the front lines of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with short stories that interweave themes of brutality and faith, guilt and fear, helplessness and survival.

In the moving story that gives the book its title “a soldier who has had to shoot dogs because they were eating human corpses must learn what it is like to return to domestic life in suburbia, surrounded by people “who have no idea where Fallujah is, where three members of your platoon died.”

“These stories reveal the intricate combination of monotony, bureaucracy, comradeship and violence that make up a soldier’s daily life at war, and the isolation, remorse, and despair that can accompany a soldier’s homecoming.”

The New Yorker says of Redeployment: “The best literary work thus far written by a veteran of America’s recent wars…. Klay’s fiction peels back every pretty falsehood and self-delusion in the encounter between veterans and the people for whom they supposedly fought.”


For more book recommendations, event listings, fun articles, and inspirational quotes like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to our newsletter. Be on the look out in coming weeks for information about the Chicago Writers Conference 2015!

3 Books to Read on Memorial Day

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A Celebration of Asian-American Authors in Chicago http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/05/a-celebration-of-asian-american-authors-in-chicago/ http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/2015/05/05/a-celebration-of-asian-american-authors-in-chicago/#comments Tue, 05 May 2015 22:25:47 +0000 http://www.chicagowritersconference.org/?p=4424 Chicago Writers Conference

Pictured above from left to right: Vu Tran showing his novel dragonfish, due out August 3, 2015, and Wailin Wong and Alec Nevala-Lee pre-reading at Open Books.  On Friday, May 1, the Chicago Writers Conference with our partner Open Books presented “A Celebration of Asian-American Authors in Chicago” in honor of Asian-Pacific Heritage Month. The night […]

A Celebration of Asian-American Authors in Chicago

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Chicago Writers Conference

asian american reading 2asianamericanreading
Pictured above from left to right: Vu Tran showing his novel dragonfish, due out August 3, 2015, and Wailin Wong and Alec Nevala-Lee pre-reading at Open Books. 

On Friday, May 1, the Chicago Writers Conference with our partner Open Books presented “A Celebration of Asian-American Authors in Chicago” in honor of Asian-Pacific Heritage Month. The night featured four of Chicago brightest Asian-American authors reading from works old and new. Here’s a recap of the night’s highlights and a brief spotlight on each of the authors current work.
  • Wailin Wong re-created a podcast, mixing audio with live reading. This podcast about The World’s Largest Laundromat was produced for The Distance.
  • Vu Tran, a Whitings Writers’ Award winner, read from his forthcoming novel, dragonfish. He prefaced the reading by warning us that he could only do “a bad Vietnamese accent.” When he got to the part where a character spoke with a Vietnamese accent, Vu paused and said to the audience, “I feel like Al Pacino!’
  • Alec Nevala-Lee, read Kawataro, a science fiction piece written in tribute to Japanese horror. Nevala-Lee, an Oak Park resident, has penned three art-world thrillers since leaving his job at a financial firm in New York to pursue his passion for writing: The Icon Thief, City of Exiles, and Eternal Empire.
  • Nami Mun closed out the night with a reading from her story Apartment 1G. She told the audience she had originally set out to write a comedic piece, to counter-balance her prior work, including her novel Miles from Nowhere, which was fairly dark. She ended up writing a story wherein one of the main characters is scalped.

 

Are you bummed out you missed our reading? Never miss another literary event by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or subscribing to our newsletter. Be on the look out in coming weeks for information about the Chicago Writers Conference 2015!

A Celebration of Asian-American Authors in Chicago

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