Monday, January 28, 2013

C Hope Clark

Hope signing Lowcountry Bribe
C. Hope Clark, a returning and popular workshop leader, is editor of, an online resource of grants, contests, markets, publishers, and pure motivation for writers. Her following estimates 40,000, and the site has been selected for Writer's Digest's 101 Best Websites for Writers for the last dozen years. But Hope is also a mystery author, her first love, the reason she started writing. She debuted via Bell Bridge Books, a mid-level publisher out of Memphis, TN with Lowcountry Bribe, the first in The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, set in rural South Carolina. It has sold well, with almost 200 reviews on Amazon. The second in the series, Tidewater Murder, comes out in April 2013. Hope's author website can be found at Hope also freelances, having written for many trade and online publications, to include Writer's Digest, The Writer, Guide to Literary Agents and the 2013 Writer's Market.

MWG: Welcome to the conference blog, Hope! We are going to be keeping you busy in April, so let's get started asking what you'll be presenting on each day of the conference. On Friday, you are doing an early arrival seminar titled The Shy Writer. Tell us about this seminar.

Hope: Once upon a time, back around 2004, I was probably known as well for The Shy Writer as I was FundsforWriters. After a lifetime of fiercely protecting my privacy, enjoying seclusion, and abhoring crowds, I found myself in a profession I loved--writing--but faced with the agony of self-promotion. People expected me to toot my own horn, and that petrified me. Then an editor I freelanced for asked me to speak on her behalf at a women's writing group because she couldn't make herself do it. Then a writing group I belonged to threw a small conference, and I became a big draw for their inaugural event. Whether I liked it or not, I was being thrust into the public eye. It was painful, and I quickly learned that most writers I met felt the same way. So I started taking note of how I weathered these moments, and turned them into The Shy Writer. Self-published, it did quite well considering this was way before self-publishing was understood, much less accepted. But the demand didn't wane, and I updated the book in 2007. It sold well then, too. Then came 2011, and I had a mystery series to tend to, so I let Shy Writer age out, with little attention. I know this is a long explanation, but fact is, during my 2012 book tour for The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, writers kept cornering me about The Shy Writer! I sold every copy I had and scratched my head. Was there still a serious need for this topic? Each stop, someone asked me about The Shy Writer. Then I started receiving requests to do presentations on the subject. I received a proposal to perform an all day seminar in late 2013, half of which they asked to be on The Shy Writer. Dang, I thought. Guess what I thought was a dead horse was very much alive. The Shy Writer class will cover platform and self-promotion, but it does so with tricks and suggestions on how to handle them from an introvert's perspective. It isn't fun to self-promote when your strength comes from within, from seclusion, from introspective thoughts. Hopefully, this class will enable writers to better handle the business of writing, which means the obstacles, the presentations, and the daring to step up and be seen and heard. Promotion and submission instill fear in most writers. But they are the two big doors a shy writer must pass through in order to advance from fun-writing to career-writing. Attendees will learn tricks from a fellow shy writer about how I grew from hiding as a bedroom novelist to public speaker, award-winning novelist and writing cheerleader recognized by Writer's Digest, The Writer, and more.

MWG: There will probably be standing room only in that workshop--I know you are right--so many authors struggle with promoting themselves! You also are going to have a book out (a sequel or 2nd edition) around this same time about being a shy writer--right? Tell us about the book and where people can purchase it.

Hope's book: 2nd edition
Hope: The Shy Writer Reborn is a sequel to The Shy Writer. I hope (fingers crossed) to have the print version available by the conference. The e-book version should be out and about by then. It will be available on Amazon, mostly; but I also hope to have it available for most e-readers. It's actually the third version of Shy, but this one is written anew with more current ideas. The news for its release will be available on both and .

MWG: On Saturday, you'll be presenting a one-hour workshop on The Big Three Incomes for Writers. Tell us what to expect in this workshop.

Hope: Regardless of what you write, income is the preferred outcome. But regardless of what you write, you can utilize the big three incomes for writers, resources that FundsforWriters has touted for a decade - Grants, Contests, Magazine Markets. Learn how these three can help fund your writing as you fight to perfect that dream project. Many writers omit one, two, or all three of these resources, thinking they don't need them, or worse, don't have a chance with them. I want to show how writers can benefit from them, bringing in some income while working on that long-range project.

MWG: That sounds great! Who would benefit from attending this one-hour workshop?

Hope: Writers who are struggling to build a resume/portfolio to make themselves appear stronger in queries. Also writers attempting to earn some income between long-range projects. And also writers who need to earn a reputation, a following, basically, a platform for their career. Every writer can adopt at least one of these into their business/marketing plan.

MWG: Thanks, Hope. Finally, you'll be doing a Sunday Master Class, "Career Solutions 101." What will you be sharing in this workshop?

Hope: This class will go into some of the previous workshop; but by listening to the actual situations of writers, I hope to lead the class in defining solutions for many stalemates, obstacles, and quagmires that writers find themselves in when attempting to earn a living, get recognized, and find publishing venues. We can talk about mixing fiction and nonfiction, self-publishing and traditional publishing, print and e-books, magazines and blogs, contests and grants, newsletters and copyrighting. The list is endless. It's about taking the strengths of the individual and using them to promote themselves as writers. It'll be a very individualized session, with everyone brainstorming to aid each other.

MWG: Sounds great! Before we say good-bye, we want to pick that expert brain of yours--what are two mistakes that you see freelance writers constantly make in their career and how do you avoid these?

Hope: First, I see writers hitting "Enter" too fast before the writing is polished enough. They tend to think a first draft is writing, when it's nothing more than taking notes out of your head. Editing is often the biggest difference between the successful and unsuccessful freelance writer. Second, many writers are not consistent. They start and stop their writing, letting other interests in their lives push writing to a time in the day when everything else is done. Writing needs to be the activity that's done while pushing OTHER things to the back burner. Sure, family tends to tug on us, but in reality, family isn't all that writers let get in the way. It's a matter of adopting priorities. Diligence and consistency impact every aspect of a writer's life, and we don't use them enough.

MWG: Yes, and just what you said above is very inspiring! As a debut mystery novelist this past year, with a sequel on the way, what have you learned about marketing a book?

Hope: Oh my is tough. I traveled across nine states, handling twenty-six events, and each time I wondered if I made any sort of difference. It's slow going, especially for a debut novelist. You are pitching, speaking, finding venues in competition with more seasoned writers for attention. Even acquiring speaking engagements at conferences, I competed against other speakers, learning quickly that a multiple published author, with four or five books, commands much more attention. I spoke to a room of one up to a room of two hundred, the number often determined by who I was speaking against. I attended events that cost me financially, and made money at others. Book store managers loved me and snubbed me. I've learned that savvy online work makes more sense than public appearances, but still, readers love to see an author and authors love the face-to-face feedback from readers, so a few sure feel rewarding. But I've learned you can never stop building that platform. The minute you take a breather and think you've done enough for a while, your image fades as others more proactive step up and snatch your readers away! You must be vigilante and diligent. There are a lot of us out there trying to sell books. The smart and steady usually win. And you can never guest blog enough.

MWG: Thank you, Hope! Great, practical advice as always. I know I speak for many when I say we can't wait to have you back at the MWG conference sharing your wealth of knowledge with us!

Hope: I love the people at this conference. My past experience with the Missouri Writers Guild has been nothing but fantastic. A bunch of good people, doing good things . . .

Interview by Margo L. Dill, author of Finding My Place 


  1. Thanks for the lovely interview, Margo. Can't wait to see all of you again in April at the conference.


  2. We can't wait to see you either, Hope! We learn so much from you. :)