Wednesday, April 16, 2014

President's Contest winners 2014:

Walter Williams Major Work Award:

First place - Carolyn Mulford, Show Me the Murder
Second place - Leslie A. Lindsay, Speaking of Apraxia
Third place - Scott Miller, Counterfeit

"Show-Me" Best Book Award:

First place - Bill Hopkins, River Mourn
Second place - Chris Bostic, Fugitives from Northwoods
Third place - Ellen Gray Massey, Papa's Gold
Honorable mention - Carolyn Mulford, Show Me the Deadly Deer

Best Magazine Article Award:

First place - Diana West, "Hideout Heaven"
Second place - Marti Attoun, "Little Free Libraries"
Third Place - Lynn Cassity, "Finding Family in TWA Skyliner Magazine"
Honorable mention - Kyle Kapper, "A Mint Jewel Ups the Stage"

Congratulations to all entrants and winners!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Meet Us in St. Louis for the Fifty Shades of Writing Conference this Weekend

The Missouri Writers' Guild will host its 99th annual writing conference this weekend in downtown St. Louis. Special guests are Chuck Sambuchino, Mary Buckham, Margie Lawson, Matthew Frederick, and multiple agents, like Sorche Fairbanks, and editors like Danita Allen Wood.  

The event starts Friday after lunch and run through Sunday afternoon. Full conference registration is still available online only until Saturday morning.

Even if you can't dedicate the entire weekend to the Fifty Shades of Writing Conference, its possible to still attend bits and pieces of the conference without paying the full rate. You don't have to attend the entire conference to attend Show Me Awards Banquet and the Sunday Masters classes. Tickets to those portions of the conference are sold separately. 

Show Me Awards Banquet 

CHUCK SAMBUCHINO, an editor for Writer’s Digest Books, a bestselling humor book writer, and a freelance editor, will give the keynote speech at the Show Me Awards Saturday Night Banquet. He works for Writer’s Digest Books and edits the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS as well as the CHILDREN’S WRITER’S & ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET. His Guide to Literary Agents Blog is one of the biggest blogs in publishing.
Saturday Night, Mr. Sambuchino's keynote is titled, ‘How to Get Published: Professional Writing Practices & What Editors Want.’ Banquet tickets are $40 for conference attendees and $45 for anyone else. 
Banquet registration can be done through the registration page, by just selecting the banquet option.
Master Classes 

Master Classes, scheduled 9 a.m. to Noon on Sunday, are available for a separate fee of $50.They offer a more in-depth study with conference faculty in a smaller class room setting. Class size is limited.

Class options are as follows:
Mary Buckham, Super Power Openings
Learn how to make your opening as strong as possible. Includes characterization (where and how you need to engage a reader with your character and how to do that); hooks (more detail than the one hour workshop; raising story questions and why this matters; Scene and Sequels; and Pacing in an opening. By learning what makes a powerful opening, a writer can expand those techniques throughout their manuscript.  

Sorche Fairbank, How to Query/Pitch/Describe/Summarize/Talk About your Book
Sometimes it feels easier to write a book than it is to effectively and confidently pitch, summarize, or talk about one. This interactive intensive session will cover how to talk (and write) about your book in one sentence, in one paragraph, and in one page. We'll go over uses for each, from logline/elevator pitches to the query synopsis and for DIY authors, book jacket descriptions, press releases, Amazon descriptions, and more.  

Margie Lawson, The EDITS System: Putting Power on the Page
The EDITS System is a tool created for writers to analyze scene components. It’s the ultimate show-don’t-tell power tool. It shows writers what’s working, what’s not working, what’s missing. Writers learn how to take a scene from the POV character’s head, to the reader’s heart.

Gina Panettieri, Brilliant Beginnings
Whether you're asked to include them with your query, or they're simply the first thing an editor or agent sees when opening your submission, your opening ten pages can make or break your submission. Most editors state they make a decision to keep reading, or not, within the first few pages of a manuscript. Make yours the very best they can be. This workshop will focus on the key elements you need to demonstrate in these opening pages, and what fatal errors you absolutely must avoid. The class will discuss winning opening lines/paragraphs, hooking the reader, pace, action, dialogue, setting the scene, making characters memorable quickly and leaving the reader wanting more.

Ken Sherman, What It Is to Be a Writer
We'll discuss your writing work habits, how you deal with yourself from day to day, how you interface with other writers who you meet in networking situations like at this conference, how you approach an agent at a party, a conference, or via an e-mail, how you make a commitment to yourself and to your book, and how you work with your agent from the time you agree to work with each other, as your agent submits you to publishers. Sometimes there's rejection, which needs to be identified in terms of the whys, and how, if necessary, you face rejection head on. This will be a seminar for open discussion, and we'll all learn from each other as personal journeys are discussed. 

Matthew Frederick, What’s the Big—or Little—Idea?
Successful nonfiction books—memoirs, travelogues, cookbooks, self-help manuals, humor books, and all the rest—are rarely published as initially conceived. Typically, the core concept must be revised, revamped, and re-centered many times before an inspired idea is found to propel the project forward. This workshop will introduce numerous strategies to help you discover, broaden, narrow, heighten, deepen, and redefine the core concept for your nonfiction project. Whether you are just beginning or are feeling mired in a long-term effort, you will leave this session with a fresh perspective on it. Bring to the workshop a project title/subtitle, one-sentence “tagline,” 200-word synopsis (such as might appear on a book jacket), outline, and any other working material.

Learn more on the Missouri Writers Guild Conference Website >>>

Monday, April 7, 2014

It's Not Too Late To Register for the Fifty Shades of Writing Conference

Late registration open through Saturday

Late registration is available for the Fifty Shades of Writing Conference this weekend at the Ramada Plaza Hotel Downtown St. Louis Convention Center. All late registrations must be completed online and paid via Paypal between now and Friday. Or, paid by cash or check at the conference.

Late registration costs:

$190 for Missouri Writers' Guild Members
$200 Chapter Members
$220 Non-Members

Registration includes all Friday and Saturday activities EXCEPT individual agent pitch sessions, the Saturday Night Banquet and Sunday Master Classes. Agent pitch sessions will only be available as space allows, for example if there are cancellations, and are not guaranteed.

Click here to register online >>> 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Regular Registration Ends Today for 2014 Missouri Writers' Guild Conference

Registration for the "Fifty Shades of Writing" Conference, organized by the Missouri Writers Guild, ends today at 9:00 CST. The 99th annual conference will take place Friday, April 11 through Saturday, April 13, 2014 at the Ramada Plaza St. Louis Convention Center in downtown St. Louis. 

The writing conference features 3 days packed with opportunities for writers to mingle with literary agents, editors and publishers along with fellow writers. Attendees, regardless of skill level, can expect to learn from expert writers, publishers and editors about the ins and outs of publishing during workshop sessions, panel discussions and master classes. 

It costs $165 for MWG members, $175 for Chapter members and $195 for General Public.  After today at 9 p.m. CST, late registration prices take effect. Registration information and payment through PayPal is available here.

Registration costs include access to the early-arrival seminar April 11 and two days of panel discussions, break-out workshops, and pitch sessions in addition to scheduled networking times and a Saturday luncheon with keynote speaker USA Today Bestselling Author Mary Buckham.
Attendees can also meet one-on-one with their choice of literary agents, magazine editors or book editors in an opportunity to pitch their completed manuscripts. 

Agents and editors planning to participate in the pitch sessions include: Literary and Film Agent Ken Sherman, of Ken Sherman & Associates; Literary Agent Laura Biagi, of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency Inc.; Literary agent Sorche Fairbank, of Fairbank Literary Representation; Literary Agent Gina Panettieri, Talcott Notch Literary Services; Editor Danita Allen Wood, of Missouri Life Magazine; Editor Kristina Blank Makansi of Blank Slate Press; and Acquisitions Editor Claire Applewhite of Smoking Gun Publishing.

Tickets for the Saturday night Show Me Awards Banquet with keynote speaker Chuck Sambuchino, Writer’s Digest Book Editor, can be purchased for an additional $40 to conference attendees and $45 to the general public.  Also, 3-hour Master Writing Classes on Sunday morning are available for $50. Master classes offer writers opportunities to work closely with conference faculty in a classroom environment.

Additional information regarding speakers, classes or registration can be found on the Fifty Shades of Writing Conference website.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Literary Agent Gina Panettieri Answers Representation Questions for Authors

Panettieri will take pitches, present a workshop session and a master class during the Fifty Shades of Writing Conference 

Gina Panettieri is the president of Talcott Notch Literary Services, LLC, located in Milford, CT, with a satellite office outside Boston. She is a 25-year industry veteran who has worked as an agent, author, and freelance editor. Two of her more recognizable sales—BROKEN, and its sequel, TAINTED, by A.E. Rought—have been optioned by ABC Family for development as a series. Another DEAD JED by Scott Craven, was optioned by Nickelodeon for development as a movie.

Gina loves all genres of literature, from history to travel. To see the many other genres she and her agents are looking for, visit her website here.

While at the ‘Fifty Shades of Writing’ conference, Ms. Panettieri will take pitches on a first come, first serve basis throughout the day on Saturday. Also, she will be leading a breakout session entitled, “Dialogue: Using it to Your Advantage." Attendees at this session will learn how to enhance characterization, keep the pace crisp, add humor or suspense, among other things. For more details click on the link above.

Additionally, she’ll present a Sunday master class entitled, “Brilliant Beginnings.” This three-hour class will focus on the key elements you need to demonstrate in your opening pages, and the errors you absolutely must avoid.

Brian: Ms. Panettieri, thank you so much for joining our ‘Fifty Shades of Writing’ conference. When reading your bio, I see that you and I have a lot in common: books are a huge part of our lives. What was it that led you to a career as an agent, rather than taking the path like many of us book lovers, as a writer?

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Nonfiction Writing According to Bestselling Author Matthew Frederick

The Missouri Writers' Guild is pleased to welcome Matthew Frederick as a speaker during the Fifty Shades of Writing Conference in St. Louis, April 11-13.

Matthew Frederick is an architect, urban designer, and bestselling author. He scouts nonfiction book projects for Fairbank Literary Representation and coaches authors on developing their nonfiction concepts. 

Mr. Frederick was an architecture columnist before authoring the bestselling 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School (MIT Press, 2007). Since then, he has developed the 101 Things I Learned book series for which he serves as editor, co-author, and illustrator. The series now has over 500,000 books in print, including titles in Business, Culinary, Fashion, Film, Law and Engineering School (Grand Central/ Hachette), and has been translated into fifteen languages. 

At the 2014 Missouri Writers’ Guild Fifty Shades of Writing’ Conference, Mr. Frederick will provide one-on-one Pitch-Practice at the Friday pre-conference and will lead two other sessions. On Saturday, his breakout session, “The Four Ps of Nonfiction—Platform, Prose, Proposal and Purpose,” will provide an overview of the unique needs of nonfiction and equip students with tools to tackle the genre. And on Sunday, his 3-hour Master Class, “What’s the Bigor LittleIdea?” will help attendees discover, broaden, narrow, heighten, and deepen their nonfiction concepts. Attendees should bring a project to the session a title/subtitle, a one-sentence “tagline,” and if possible, a 200-word synopsis.

Brian:  Mr. Frederick, thank you so much for joining us at our ‘Fifty Shades of Writing’ conference. Can you tell us a little about how you became an expert in a variety of disciplines? 

Monday, March 3, 2014

What Literary Agents Do to Help Authors

Laura Biagi, literary agent with Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, previews her workshop session, “What an Agency Brings to the Table” for the Fifty Shades of Writing Conference

Laura Biagi is an agent with the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. She specializes in adult literary fiction and young readers' books. She also handles the sale rights for Australia and New Zealand for the agency. In addition, she’s an author and the recipient of a Kentucky Emerging Artist Award for fiction writing.

Biagi will listen to individual pitches and will lead two breakout sessions.

In the workshop, “What an Agency Brings to the Table,” Biagi will present exactly what a literary agency does. Additional topics covered will be on agent negotiation and contracts, editing a manuscript before submitting, as well as communications between author and editor.

Attendees in her second workshop, “How to Write a Stand-Out Query”  will learn to shape their plot description and the elements for a stand-out query, so that their writing changes from “ho-hum” to “WOW!

For more on both workshops, check out the conference website here.

Throughout the day on Saturday, Biagi will also be available for one-on-one agent pitch sessions. These are on a first come, first serve basis, so sign up sooner rather than later!

Brian: Ms. Biagi, thank you so much for joining our faculty at our upcoming ‘Fifty Shades of Writing’ conference.

So I’ve got this great book, I know it’s going to be a best seller. I want to send it straight to a publisher. They’ll love it. So why should I bother with an agent? I mean, won’t you just take 15% of my royalties? What’s in it for me? What do agents do, exactly?

Friday, February 28, 2014

MWG Writing Contests Deadline Extended to March 15

The 2014 MWG conference committee has decided to extend the deadline for the Sponsor and Chapter contests until March 15, 2014.
So, whether you write short stories in YA, Sci/Fi, fantasy, humor, or on any topic, put the finishing touches on your manuscript and send it in! Or pen an inspirational essay or turn our judges on their ear with a flash fiction story.
Chapter Contests:
1. Flash Fiction (Sponsored by Saturday Writers) Max 500 words
2. Inspirational Essay (Sponsored by: Saturday Writers) Max 2500 words
3. Young Adult (YA) Short Story (Sponsored by Southeast Missouri Writers’ Guild) 2,500 words or less
4. Short Story (Sponsored by Southeast Missouri Writers’ Guild) Max 2000 words
5. Free Verse Poem (Sponsored by St. Louis Writers Guild)
Sponsor Contests:
1. Humorous Short Story (Sponsored by Joanna Dale) 1,000 –2,000 words.
2. Science Fiction and Fantasy Bonanza Short Story Contest (Sponsored by Walrus Publishing) 1,000-6,000 words. 
For complete contest listings, judges, and rules go to: http://missouriwriters Rules.pdf and and click on the 2014 conference link.
WRITE! And see you there!
—Submitted by Donna Essner, MWG Secretary

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Authors learn how to “sit down & pitch” at free St. Louis Writers' Guild workshop

Once you’ve written a book, getting the attention of an agent or publisher isn’t always easy. Learn how to promote yourself and your writing at the St. Louis Writers Guild’s second annual Sit Down and Pitch” workshop from 10 a.m. to noon, March 1, at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Rd. in Kirkwood, Mo.
“Pitching to an agent or publisher might be the scariest thing a writer has to do,” said Brad Cook, St. Louis Writers Guild president. “This workshop is free and open to all. We invite everyone who is planning to attend the Missouri Writers Guild (MWG) conference in April or other writing conference this year.”
Brad will offer tips for delivering an effective five-minute pitch, then writers will get a chance try their pitches within small breakout groups of other authors. 
“Even if you don’t have a pitch when you arrive, you’ll have one by the time you leave,” he said.
Then you’ll be ready to pitch to real agents and publishers at the 2014 MWG Conference, Fifty Shades of Writing, April 11-13, in St. Louis. For more conference information and registration, visit
Learn more about the St. Louis Writers Guild, a MWG chapter, at

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Missouri Writers' Guild Conference Nets Record-Breaking Early Registration Numbers

Regular registration lasts through March 31

SAINT LOUIS – The 99th Annual Missouri Writers’ Guild Conference has broken its previous early bird registration record. Currently, approximately 80 writers from throughout the country are registered to attend the “Fifty Shades of Writing” conference. The event will take place Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13, 2014, in downtown St. Louis, Missouri. Registration remains open through March 31. 

“Writers looking for an affordable conference that’s centrally located, need look no further,” said Conference Chair Lisa Miller. “The MWG board has worked hard picking our speakers and agents and the early numbers prove we have put together a stellar line-up that appeals to writers of all skill levels.”

Conference events include:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Introducing the Judges for the MWG Writing Contests

Tick Tock. Tick Tock....Watch the Date! Watch the Clock! MWG Writing Contests Deadline Approaches 

Time groweth short to send in your entries to the 2014 MWG Conference Contests! The postmark deadline is a little more than a week away—Saturday, March 1, 2014. But there's still time to enter.

This year, there are several Chapter and Sponsor contest options—the Short Story (open topic), the Humorous Short Story, YA Short Story, and the Sci Fi Short Story contests. Additionally, a Flash Fiction contest, as well as an Inspirational Essay and Free Verse Poetry contest are open for submissions. And you don’t have to be present at the conference banquet to win! If you’re a MWG member, you don’t have to go to the conference at all to enter.

All submission guidelines can be found at

So, don’t delay! Polish your story, essay, or poem and send it in. Why not try more than one? Or all?! The distinguished panel of contest judges are waiting in the wings to read your submissions.


The conference committee now would like to take this opportunity to introduce some of the distinguished panel of judges who have volunteered their time and expertise to judge all contest submissions this year. Kudos and thanks to each and every one of you!

Drum roll, please!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

MWG 2014 Conference Volunteer Opportunities

The Missouri Writers’ Guild is a non-profit organization and is run on a volunteer basis. While board members do much to organize the conference throughout the year, more help is needed during the conference weekend.

The "Fifty Shades of Writing" Conference takes place Friday, April 11 through Sunday, April 13. Volunteers are needed for Friday and Saturday.

MWG volunteers, while receiving the added bonus of receiving additional face time with our conference faculty, help keep the conference costs low. Please consider supporting the board's continued efforts to offer attendees a first-class conference line-up and activities at an affordable rate by volunteering for the below jobs.

Contacts for Volunteering:

Please contact these persons directly to volunteer in that area. More information for each volunteer opportunity can be found by reading below.

Registration – Brain Katcher
Shepherds – Brad Cook
Pitch Sessions – Brain Katcher
Basket Wars – Sarah Whitney
Writing Contests – Donna Essner

Monday, January 13, 2014

Literary Agent Sorche Fairbank Tackles Rejection During Breakout Session At Upcoming Missouri Writers' Guild Conference

The most frustrating hurdle for many new writers is how does one impress a literary agent? How can a writer make their query letter stand out among the hundreds of others? How do you get your foot in the door without being pushy?

Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank, literary agent and founder of Fairbank Literary Representation, has helped authors see their work in print for more than twelve years. She’s also well known for being one of the most easy going and approachable agents in the world of publishing.

During the Missouri Writers’ Guild conference, Fairbank will be taking pitch appointments on Saturday, April 12. Remember, this is on a first come, first serve basis, so register early. See the Fairbank website to see which type of manuscripts she is currently accepting.

On Friday, April 11, Fairbank will present the Early Arrival Seminar “How To Talk to an Agent, and Other *Important* Conference Topics.” This informal pre-conference talk will cover topics from the best way to pitch, how to get the most out of the conference, to what NOT to do under any circumstances.
On Saturday, Fairbank presents the breakout session “Rejection, Rejection: Why It’s Happening To You, and How To Avoid It.” Attendees will dig into the murky world of rejection. Learn what some standard rejection phrasing means (i.e., agent-speak), and why so many rejections are simply a form letter. Attendees will find out if they are guilty of one or more of the top twenty reasons for rejection, and participate in a frank discussion about second chances with agents and publishers. Fairbank will offer suggestions as to when to listen to advice and when to chalk things up to subjective difference, and how best to turn that  “No” into a “Yes,” or at least a “Please send me more.”

Fairbank will also present the “Agent on the Spot Q&A Session.” She will address the most common questions asked about agents and agenting, as well as the ever-changing state of publishing and getting one’s work noticed. Attendees may send Fairbank questions in advance to: Limit questions to no more than 70 words, and one question per e-mail. There will also be ample opportunity to ask questions during this enlightening breakout session.

Finally, Fairbank will teach a Masters class on Sunday, April 13, entitled “How to Query/Pitch/Describe/Summarize/Talk About your Book.” This interactive, intensive session will cover how to talk (and write) about your book in one sentence, in one paragraph, and in one page. Fairbank will go over uses for each, from logline/elevator pitches to the query synopsis. And for DIY authors, book jacket descriptions, press releases, Amazon descriptions, and more.  

A complete description of Fairbank’s workshops can be found on the MWG web site.

Brian: First, Sorche, I’d like to thank you for taking the time for being a guest on our 2014 MWG Conference blog. We are obviously very excited to have you as part of our faculty at our “Fifty Shades of Writing” conference. Welcome.

Sorche: Thanks for the welcome. I’m excited about this conference already!

Brian: Rejection. Every author knows it well, so I predict your breakout session on this very topic will be popular. In part, I see you’ll be covering the top twenty reasons for rejection. Without giving away the ending, could you tell us one of the big time errors new writers make when approaching an agent?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Missouri Writers’ Guild President’s Contests Open for Submission

Some of the most coveted awards by Missouri Writers’ Guild members are the President’s contests awards, which will again be awarded at the 2014 MWG conference to be held April 11-13, 2014 at the St. Louis Ramada Inn/Downtown St. Louis.

Now is the time to enter. All entries to the MWG President’s contests for the 2014 MWG conference will be accepted from January 1 to January 31, 2014 only. So, get those entries submitted.

The MWG conference committee and MWG board members would like to thank each of the sponsors for sponsoring the 2014 President’s contests! Below is a listing of each category and its sponsor.

Walter Williams Major Work Award
Sponsored by Missouri Center for the Book
This should be a major work whether in book form or in some other form of publication, a work considered to be worthy of special recognition because of the research or high literary quality involved in its creation. This award is open to any type of publication or production, including fiction, nonfiction, scripts, poetry (as in a poetry collection in a book), books and anthologies (if sole author or editor). Please note that self-published works are not eligible for this category.