Getting Started in the Business of Writing; Start Using Social Media; In Memory of Jackie Livingstong; Upcoming Author Events
September Calendar of Literary Events

Tues., September 10, 6:00-7:00 pm
The Big Read: “Swann’s Way”
Buffalo Street Books

Wed., September 11, 6:00-7:00 pm
Jane Austen Book Club
Buffalo Street Books
Discussing Mansfield Park.

Thurs., September 12, 7:00-9:00 pm
Trampoline Presents: Technical Difficulties
Lot 10 Lounge
Ithaca’s Competitive Storytelling Event. This month’s theme is “Technical Difficulties”. Participants get 5 minutes to tell a story with NO NOTES! 

Fri., September 13, 9:00 am-Noon
Social Media 101
TCPL, Borg Warner Community Room
This introductory workshop will provide tips to individuals and non-profit s of every type on how to create a social media schedule and stick to it, how to integrate social media into your overall marketing plan, and using social media tools to engage in a controlled dialogue with the public. Fee $50.00-Registration required.

Mon., September 16, 6:00-8:00 pm
12 Steps with Leslie Meyerhoff
Buffalo Street Books
Reading “The Self Beyond the Self” 

Mondays: September 16, 23 and 30 and October 7, 21 and 28, 2:00-4:00 pm
Senior Memoir Writing Series
TCPL, BorgWarner Community Room West
Facilitated by Irene “Zee” Zahava, this program will encourage seniors to write original works based on prompts from Zahava and have an opportunity to share the pieces they create in a supportive, judgment-free environment. The Senior Writing Circle is free and open to adults aged 50 and older; however, pre-registration is required. To register, contact Zahava at or (607) 273-4675. 

Tues., September 17, Noon to 1:00 pm and Thursday, September 19, 6:00-7:00 pm
Community Read Book Discussion Groups
TCPL, BorgWarner Community Room West
Join Community Read Coordinator Sarah Glogowski for a discussion of the 2013 Community Read, “When the Emperor was Divine” by Julie Otsuka. Participants of all ages are invited to share their impressions and discuss the relevance, themes and messages of “When the Emperor was Divine” in a judgment-free and welcoming environment. This program is free and open to the public; however, advance registration is requested. To register, contact Sarah Glogowski at (607) 272-4557 extension 255 or

Tues., September 17, 9:00 am- Noon
Internet Marketing Series with Matteo Wyllyamz (aka: @mouselink)
Alternatives Federal Credit Union
Back by popular demand! This series of seven workshops will provide you hands-on opportunities to learn the tools and programs to put the Internet to productive marketing use for your business. Sign up for the full series, or the topics that are most relevant for you! *Intro to Internet Marketing - September 17 *Business Marketing with Facebook - September 24 *Business Marketing with Twitter - October 1 *Intro to Email Marketing - October 8 *Getting Found Online (SEO) - 2 sessions, October 15 & 22 *Intro to Internet Statistics - Measuring Traffic and Effectiveness - October 29 *Social Media Tune-up - 2 sessions, November 5 & 12 Sliding scale $20-$80 per class, or $150-$300 for all. 

Wed., September 18, 6:00-8:00 pm
Heidi Ravven
Buffalo Street Books

Thurs., September 19, 2013
International Talk like a Pirate Day
Tompkins County Public Library
Ahoy, Maties! Win Library loot and hop on board with MANGO’s language programs and Library-wide treasure hunts. You can be a TCPL BOOKaneer! For more information, visit 

Thurs., September 19, 4:30-5:30 pm
Cleveland Memorial Reading by Alison Lurie (Cornell English faculty emerita)
Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
Pulitzer Prize winner and Department of English Professor Emeritus Alison Lurie reads from her fiction as part of the Fall 2013 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series. ALL EVENTS ARE FREE and open to the public. For more information, contact, or call 607.255.7847. 

Sat., September 21, 1:00-4:00 pm
Eight Square School House Fall Festival
Eight Square School House-Upper Hanshaw Road
Please join us on Saturday, September 21st from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. for a day of games, crafts, food, fun, and history at the historic Eight Square Schoolhouse. The schoolhouse is located on Upper Hanshaw Road, about 1/4 mile east of the Tompkins County Regional Airport. 

Sun., September 22, 2:00-4:00 pm
Open House
Saltonstall 435 Ellis Hollow Creek Road
New York State poets, writers, photographers and visual artists who have been awarded month-long summer residencies at the colony in Ithaca, NY present their work and open their studios for these enjoyable and inspiring Sunday afternoons. This event features Loie Hollowell; visual artist, Dina Kantor; photographer, Amanda Mathis; visual artist, Jaclyn Thomas-Kennedy; fiction writer, and Ocean Vuong; poet. Free and open to the public. Light Refreshments are served. 

Mon., September 23, 6:00-8:00 pm
Buffalo Street Books

Tues., September 24, 6:00-7:00 pm
Mark Rosenberg
Buffalo Street Books

Wed., September 25, 6:00-7:00 pm
Thomas Glave
Buffalo Street Books

Wed., September 25, 10:00 am- Noon
“Home and Away,” A Community Read Writing Workshop
TCPL, BorgWarner Community Room West
Writers of all ages and abilities are invited to share memories and connections of homes past and present during this free workshop facilitated by Irene “Zee” Zahava. Advance registration is required. To register, contact Zahava at (607) 273-4675 or

Wed., September 25, 6:00-9:00 pm
9 Week Small Business Training: Getting Down to Business
Alternatives Federal Credit Union
"Getting Down to Business" is our comprehensive business planning course, covering all major aspects of business start-up and management. We'll address bookkeeping and financial feasibility, financial statements, business taxes, marketing strategies and foundations, legal issues for small businesses, banking and financing, and more! "Getting Down to Business" is designed for people who: - have a definite business concept that they are committed to, AND - are ready to move forward with their business planning process, AND - expect to get their business off the ground within the next 6-12 months, if the business is not already operating. *Class participants must be able to commit to an intensive, nine-week course with outside research and homework. It takes time and dedication to create a successful enterprise!* Sliding scaled $80-$300 

Thurs., September 26, 4:30 pm
Reading by Poet Brenda Shaughnessy 
Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
Brenda Shaughnessy reads from her poetry as part of the Fall 2013 Barbara & David Zalaznick Reading Series. 
ALL EVENTS ARE FREE and open to the public. For more information, contact , or call 607.255.7847.

Thurs., September 26, 6:00-7:30 pm
Fall Book Group Women in the Civil War
The History Center
In our first installment of the fall book group focusing on women during the Civil War, we will discuss Drew Gilpin Faust's Mothers of Invention: Women of the Slaveholding South in the Civil War. How did the roles of women change during the war, and how did those changes evolve during the post-war period? What role did war play in challenging traditional gender roles? The discussion will be facilitated by History Center Executive Director Scott Callan. 

Saturday, September 28, 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight
Tompkins County Public Library
Friends, readers, library lovers, librarians, and families (even unsuspecting people just wandering by) are joining together to take a stand in support of literacy, learning and free and equal access to the world’s information. TCPL’s READATHON will take place directly outside the library’s front doors on the corner of Green & Cayuga Streets. It's an 18-hour reading challenge – one reader at a time, a world of books – and we want you to join us. 

Sun., September 29, 1:00-5:00 pm
Voices of Freedom: A Celebration of Freedom to Read Week
TCPL, BorgWarner Community Room
TCPL and the Ithaca City of Asylum will present “Voices of Freedom” featuring a reading by Venezuelan political critic and renowned author Israel Centeno. Centeno will read in English from his novel “La Torre Invertida” (translated as The Tower Overturned). The novel is about the unraveling of a city where dystopia becomes its citizens' harsh reality. As part of the program, Ithaca City of Asylum’s resident writer, Sonali Samarasinghe, exiled from Sri Lanka and presently an international visiting scholar at Ithaca College, will read a brief excerpt from her memoir-in-progress, and Pablo Cohen, head of the classical guitar program and a faculty member in the Latin American Studies program at Ithaca College, will perform regional music. 

Wed., October 2, 6:30-8:00 pm
Non-Fiction Writers Group
TCPL, BorgWarner Community Room East
Non-fiction writers are invited to network, share their work and discuss their craft during monthly meetings of TCPL’s popular writers’ group. Facilitated by veteran writer Paul Boyer, this group will meet on the first Wednesday of each month. This group is free and open to the public. Registration is appreciated but not required. To register, contact Carrie Wheeler-Carmenatty at (607) 272-4557 extension 248 or

Wed., October 2, 4:30-5:30 pm
John Freeman (Former Editor of Granta)
In Conversation with Ishion Hutchinson and Ernesto Quiñonez 
Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall
John Freeman discusses creative writing and the editing process with Ishion Hutchinson and Ernesto Quiñonez.
ALL EVENTS ARE FREE and open to the public. For more information, contact, or call 607.255.7847.

Thu., October 3, 5:30-6:30 pm
Moosewood Cookbook Anniversary!
Buffalo Street Books

Opening Reception: Friday, October 4 from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
TCPL, Borg Warner Community Room
BANNED! brings together 16 artists, poets, writers, librarians and community members who have been inspired to illustrate a challenged or banned book in a variety of mediums and asks: “What sort of society would we be without freedom of access, freedom of ideas, and the freedom to read?” Ranging in experience and in age as young as 10 years old, the goal of the participating artists remains the same - to draw attention to the current and growing issue of censorship, challenging and banning of books and the free and open access to information.
For additional information please contact Sally Grubb at or call 607-272-4557 ext. 232.

What does it take to get your book published? 

One, audience platform. 

Two, book proposal. 

Three, a manuscript

(For non-fiction projects, a writing sample will suffice. A full manuscript is required for fiction, children’s fiction, and memoir.) 

And authors need to work on all three – platform, proposal and manuscript -- simultaneously.

It’s a bit of a juggling act keeping all three balls in the air during the pre-publication process, but all three are necessary to secure a contract for publication. 

While authors worry most about their manuscript, the publisher focuses on platform first. If you are an author and want to know more about building an audience platform, we recommend you watch this video by Jane Friedman.

If you have a platform, they’ll look at your book proposal as a business prospectus. If they are convinced you have something promising, they’ll  read your writing sample or request the full manuscript. 

When you submit a query letter, one of the first things an agent or acquisition editor will do is Google your name. Verifying information about the author is only one reason. They also look for potentially controversial or harmful information that results from searching the author’s name. Whether or not the author has an easily found online presence is a top concern. If nothing comes up when using a search engine for the author’s name, the publisher or agent will consider whether it is worthwhile to teach the author to use social media and possibly have to badger them into using it. 

So having an online presence is required, though quality of content and level of reader engagement is far more important than the quantity of Twitter followers or Facebook Friends or Fans. Getting the maximum return on your investment of time in social media is the primary objective of most authors. 

Spend more time on writing and less on social media. To help you get more bang for your buck on social media, let me suggest the following tips and techniques.

  1. Spend 10% of your writing time on social media. This includes writing your blog. 
  2. Respond and reply to create real conversation and personal connections.
  3. When you mention someone else, their research, or their book in your blog, notify them with a personal email containing a link.
  4. Four out of every five status updates should be about something other than you or your book. 
  5. Use your author accounts on GoodReads and Amazon to market your books. This is where readers go to search. Most people aren’t on Facebook or Twitter to be bombarded with “buy my book” messages. 
  6. Leave comments on others’ blogs if you hope to get comments on your own. 
  7. Spend as much time adding the people you already know to your social media networks as looking for new friends and tweeps. 
  8. Provide something of value to your readers. Inform. Entertain. Excite. Educate. Include photographs and links to related material.
  9. Ask something of your readers besides buying your book. Get them invested in your success. At least ask readers now to sign-up for email updates. 
  10. It is more important to blog routinely than often. Blog no more than once a week and no less than once a month. 

Social media metrics are one way in which audience platform can be measured. Acquisition editors and agents also look at:

an author’s publications in magazines and journals

endorsements from opinion leaders and social influencers

previous book publications and sales figures

speaking engagements

juried readings

media appearances

memberships in organizations

participation in volunteer and non-profit activities

professional guilds or trade unions

alumni associations

sports and athletic teams

community groups

clubs and hobby groups.

Do you host a radio program?

Have you given a keynote address?

Is your blog syndicated?

Do you write a column in a newspaper?

Do you have an email list of interested readers?

Building an audience platform is one of three balls an author needs to keep juggling in pursuit of publication. 

Contact Swenson Book Development llc if you need help building your own website, blogging more effectively, building your online presence, or more guidance or advice on audience platform. We also work with authors on their manuscripts and book proposals. 

With a platform, a proposal, and a manuscript, you can count on Swenson Book Development llc to find the right agent or acquisition editor for your book project.


See you in Dayton this September?

September 26-29 is the 2013 Military Writers Society of America (MWSA) conference and this year it is again in Dayton, Ohio.

Swenson Book Development llc will return to this exceptional writer’s conference to give a presentation on pathways to publishing, offer one-to-one consultations to members and hopes to see you there.  

Military Writers Society of America is a national organization that helps veterans, their families, journalists and historians to record the complexities of military life. Membership is open to anyone interested in books, movies, and other works related to military issues and the experiences of men and women in uniform. Veterans are especially encouraged to join and participate. Membership is diverse and dedicated with tremendous encouragement and support for writers of every stripe. The benefits of membership are more than book reviews, monthly dispatches, educational opportunities, and eligibility for awards: it’s the friendships you make, renew, and cherish. 

Cathryn Prince’s new book, Death in the Baltic: The WWII Sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, has been nominated for the 2013 MWSA Founder’s Award. The winner of this award will be announced at the Awards Banquet. MWSA also publishes an annual anthology and both Cathryn Prince and Jill Swenson have stories included in this forthcoming edition. 

Jill Swenson will present “Pathways to Publishing” to the attending members this month in Dayton. You can schedule a consultation session with her during the conference to review your manuscript, proposal, or platform. Contact Jim Greenwald ( to schedule your session now. Spots are limited.


Do you have a Little Free Library in your neighborhood?

You can find them in all 50 states and 40 countries around the globe. Some look like birdhouses. Others like dollhouses, Scandinavian cottages, British phone booths, two story brownstones, Amish barns, tea shops, artist studios, and garden sheds. No two are quite alike. Some have picture books for children while others may hold Spanish language books. There are Little Free Libraries with a gardening theme and others that resemble the home or business in front of which it stands. It’s an amazing concept and quite simple: take one, leave one.

Pop-up book club. 

Literary trading post.

Community book swap. 

In Ithaca there are now four registered Little Free Libraries. This past week Swenson Book Development LLC transferred registration for #4094 to Amanda K. Jaros, a local Ithaca writer and book lover.  Inspired to bring this good idea to our Ithaca community, Amanda involved her husband and son in creating a library using a repurposed wooden box earlier this spring.

Hundreds of books have come and gone from this spot on the greenway path from Helen’s Way up into EcoVillage on the West Hill of Ithaca.
Putting this wonderful community resource on the map just seemed right to Amanda K. Jaros, blogger for Funky Fresh Ithaca. Amanda is planning to write a feature article on the growing number of Little Free Libraries in our area soon. 

If you are an author and want to donate copies of your books to Little Free Libraries, we encourage you to do so. Signed copies are especially appreciated and you can leave them in Little Free Libraries near you. For donations of larger quantities, please go to Little Free Library and fill out a Contact Us form. Rick Brooks will advise you on the best way to accomplish two things: promote your books [and receive a tax deduction for your donation] and distributer your books to many more readers. 

How can you find out if there are Little Free Libraries in your area? The first place to look is the Little Free Library Map of the World. If you find a library in your daily travels and it is not registered, please do your part to urge the library steward to utilize the Little Free Library network services. 

Here in Ithaca we recently discovered a new books-in-a-box library in front of the old public library building. Sharon Yntema took the initiative a couple weeks ago, as a birthday present to herself, to repurpose an empty advertising box on Cayuga Street. Massage therapist and author of New Vegetarian Baby, Sharon Yntema walks by the old library building every day on her way to and from the DeWitt Mall. She noticed the empty plastic yellow stand for free real estate brochures up against the colorful mosaic wall on the corner. After months of observing it sitting empty, Sharon wrote New Point Media Group in Georgia to request permission for use of the advertising box. Emails and phone calls went unanswered. So she put some of her books inside and placed a sign on the front of the box. So far no one has left any books, but Sharon says she’s refilled it several times from her collection of advance review copies of novels, slightly damaged new books, mysteries, bird books, philosophy, and psychology books. 

If you are an aspiring author and do not yet have published copies to donate, it’s a nice idea to make friends with other book lovers in your community. Find the Little Free Libraries in your neck of the woods and get to know the stewards and people who read books. 

If you’d like to join this global movement but there aren’t any Little Free Libraries near you, then please create one in your neighborhood. It’s easy. Here’s how. 


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