January’s Third Thursday Wrap-Up: An Evening with the 2011 WLT Book Award Winners

By Lexie Smith

The 2012 Third Thursday series began where authors might like to end-up – at an awards presentation for their book. Thank you to all of you who came to applaud your fellow writers.  Congratulations to the 2011 WLT Book Award winners.

Fiction Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay

Non-FictionBefore Brown: Herman Marion Sweatt, Thurgood Marshall, and the Long Road to Justice By Gary M. Lavergne

PoetryWorks & Days by Dean Rader

Writing for Children & Young AdultsCrossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber

Each author read a selection from their book  and was presented with an inscribed award and a cash prize.

I know you’re happy for the winners, but you may be wondering, “What’s in it for me?”

Here’s what’s in it for you:  you can learn from someone who has done what you want to do – publish a book and get recognized for it.  You may not think you care about the notoriety, but a pat on the back for a job well done, and some cash, is always nice.

To help refresh your memory of the evening and for those who couldn’t make it, I’ll share a few things I learned from hearing the 2011 WLT Book Award winners talk about and read from their books.

1) Enter contests. Wining a contest helps with your book’s publicity. (Outside of the authors’ friends and family, had any of you heard of these books before tonight? I hadn’t.)  Also, receiving a prize is a nice bit of motivation.

2) Enter local and national contests.  Three of the four winners live out of state. Austin and Texas are fabulous, but don’t forget to to bless people in other states with your writing.

3) Publishers do work on behalf of their authors.  All of tonight’s books were submitted to the contest by publishers, not the authors. If you self-publish, remember to submit your books to contests.

4) Social media and platform are important, but you don’t have to be an expert at it. Pick one thing, such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or blogging, and start using it. The awards weren’t won because of a social media campaign, but it was nice to learn about the authors online.

5) Make videos about your topic or book, if you’re interested, per #4.  Barb hired someone to do a book trailer. Gary uses YouTube, “It’s not great quality, but it works for what we want to do.” Dean and Daphne are on YouTube because others posted clips from book readings they have done.

(Stop by YouTube to visit their videos. Gary brought his own videographer, i.e., his wife, to record and post his portion of the evening his YouTube channel.  Dean’s fans have posted a  few videos of him reading at different venues.  Both Daphne’s video  and Barbara’s book trailer share parts of their books we didn’t hear tonight. )

As you see, the WLT Third Thursdays are full of information and inspiration for writers, even on an awards night.  So make plans now to attend February’s Third Thursday and learn about “Burning the Midnight Oil: Balancing the Act of Life and Writing” with Greg Levin, DJ Stout and K.A. Holt.

Lexie is a WLT member who enjoys connecting people with information through LexicalLight.com, BloggingForWriters.com and 64mascots.com. A University of Texas graduate, she taught middle school English and, until recently, homeschooled her children. She lives in Round Rock with her husband, five kids and two rescued Boxers.


Friday Filler: Nov. 5 Edition

Here’s our weekly roundup of publishing news, resources, contests, and whatever else struck our fancy this week!

Publishing News

Top 10 Lists: For the first time ever, Library Journal has posted a Top 10 books of the year list, complete with  Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, Michael Cunningham’s By Nightfall, and the one that has Cyndi jumping up and down, Justin Cronin’s The Passage.

Publishers Weekly announced its own top 10 of 2010, with Franzen (naturally), Michael Lewis’s The Big Short, and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit From the Goon Squad — but we were tickled to see Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Lauren Hillenbrand’s Unbroken on the list too. The full list of 100 books comes out in Monday’s issue of PW.

Why E-Books Aren’t Scary: Stephen King weighs in on ebooks in this interview with the Wall Street Journal. Best quote: “I wonder if one or two atom bombs went off, Continue reading

Friday Filler: News You Can Use

It’s that time again, time for a roundup of book news, contests, resources, events, and WLT member news! So let’s get going:


Indie Writers: With the ever-expanding options for self-publishing, Amy Edelman (right) of IndieReader.com raises an interesting question this week at Publishing Perspectives: “Why Is Indie OK for Musicians and Filmmakers… But Not for Writers?” Good question. Read it and let us know what you think.

The Agency Model: No, we’re not talking Ford or Elite. Doris Booth, editor-in-chief of AuthorLink, posted an eye-opening opinion piece, “Publishers’ Agency Model Punishes Mid-List Authors.” It dissects how the new agency model struck by publishers and Amazon in attempt to agree on how to set retail pricing for books in the e-book world. Turns out the agency model actually slashes author royalties. Read “Publishers’ Agency Model Punishes Mid-List Authors.”

Facing Rejection: Writers are always puzzled by not getting explanations from agents about why they were rejected. Here’s agent Rachelle Gardner’s explanation Continue reading

Friday Filler: News, Contest, & More

Read on from some of our favorite links to publishing news, resources, writing contests, conferences, and WLT member news.

Publishing News

Dan Poynter’s (right) Para Publishing site is a treasure trove for anyone considering self-publishing. Here’s quick take on “The New Book Model,” along with some links to resources.

Of course, we’re all monitoring the battle for control of Barnes & Noble, between chairman Len Riggio and billionaire Ron Burkle. The New York Times dissects the stakes here. Forbes looks at Burkle’s motives in “The Ron Burkle Mystery: Why Does He Care About Barnes & Noble?” Tune in next week to see the latest!

Finally, for some Friday fun — and perhaps some edification — check out the blog “SlushPile Hell,” in which an anonymous grumpy literary agent comments on outtakes from query letters. If you’ve ever wondered what NOT to put in a query letter, check it ou.


  • The Missouri Review’s 20th annual Editor’s Prize Competition: Submissions in fiction, poetry, and nonfiction; deadline is Oct. 1. Prizes: $5,000 for first-place. For more information, click here.
  • 2011 Kelton Contest for creative nonfiction. Deadline is Oct. 15. Prize: $250 and publication in the Concho River Review. For entry requirements and award information, click on the link in the right-hand column on the ASU Writers Conference Page,
  • The Writer’s Digest Popular Fiction Awards. Short stories in five categories. Deadline is  Nov. 15. Prizes: $2,500 and a trip to the Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City for grand prize winner; $500 for first-place in each category. $20 entry fee. For details, click here.


2011 ASU Writers Conference, featuring Art Spiegelman, Feb. 16-17, 2011, at Angelo State University, San Angelo Texas. Now accepting submissions on:

  • Art Spiegelman’s work
  • Elmer Kelton’s work
  • The genre/teaching of graphic novels.
  • creative nonfiction
  • poetry
  • short fiction.

For details, click here.

WLT Member Book Signings & Events

Oct. 16: Kalena Cook of Dallas (left) will be signing her book, Birthing a Better Way, at Barnes & Noble, Southlake Town Square in Southlake, TX, at 2 p.m.

Short Fiction Contest

The deadline for Glimmer Train’s Very Short Fiction Award is Saturday, February 28. Prizes include:

  • First place: $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies
  • 2nd-place: $500 and possible publication
  • 3rd-place: $300 and possible publication

Other details:

  • Reading fee: $15 per story
  • Open to all writers
  • Stories not to exceed 3,000 words

For more information, see the guidelines.