Local residents learned The Art of Publishing from author and publisher Matthew Miller over the weekend at the Elkin Public Library.
Three sessions were organized in such a way that participants could attend a portion of the workshop or all of it comfortably no matter what stage in the publishing process. Participants ranged in age and ability as they learned how to sharpen their writing skills, choose a publishing method as well as manage social media and other forms of marketing.
“There were people attending who are in the beginning stages of scribbling out their musings on random scraps of paper and others that are seasoned authors with a clear trajectory for their works,” described Miller. “Being in such a diverse group provided us the beauty of imagining together how we can take the craft of our art and vision and make it a reality.”
Miller also used the opportunity to encourage writers in practical ways, giving hints for inspiration when writer’s block comes, “and it will come,” insisted Miller. “If this lives in you and you are excited to say it, it’s worth hearing. It has to be you that share it. Your experience is what makes your story so unique.”
Miller recommended writers make a note to themselves explaining why they are writing the piece, who the intended audience is and why they need to know what is being written.
He also addressed the problem of finding the perfect environment for creating. “Learn to write in the crevices of time,” encouraged Miller, who suggested taking advantage of any spare moment to work whether it is writing during a lunch break of a child’s sports practice or thinking through characters and plot while driving or exercising. “One of the best and most creative times I have is while walking,” confessed Miller.
The intimate gathering provided real opportunity for those in the finishing stages of writing a novel to push forward to the next step in becoming published. “Matthew shared lots of tools for someone interested in self-publishing,” stated attendee Lynda Black. “He discussed online resources and walked us through processes such as uploading a book to one particular self-publishing site and designing a book cover.”
“I believe that the attendees most responded to the sessions on the mechanics of publishing,” stated Miller. “Our primary focus was on indie publishing, which has effectively democratized the publishing enterprise. Being able to show the community step by step how to go about publishing takes away some of that mystery and makes it accessible to some who may be intimidated by the prospect. No matter what your goals with publishing may be, it is important to know that today’s publishing climate provides a multitude of options. Our writings should be filled with wonder and mystery, but the path to getting published should not be.”
In spite of the small crowd, there was significant interest in the workshop with some attendees requesting similar workshops in the future. “I deeply enjoy the opportunity to share in each other’s life as a writing community and the workshop provided that ability,” stated Miller. “Everyone was very kind, receptive and willing to share ideas and that was wonderful to be a part of.”
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.