I spent Saturday at a southern Oregon Williamette Writers gathering learning about the eMedia Publishing Revolution! Julie Fast (www.JulieFast.com) an expert speaker on publishing and media, and the author of seven books related to bipolar disorder, presented a mind-blowing variety of new social media that writers must use if they hope to promote their books -- blogs, newsletters, podcasts, tele-seminars, HARO (Help a Reporter Out), virtual book tours, e-newsletters, MP3s, Facebook, YouTube, and more. She also covered Kindle, Lulu, and the variety of e-publishing options that offer a bit more income for the writer than the traditional approach of finding an agent/publisher, which gains prestige but rarely a good income. Writers today have to be expert web navigators, or hire others who do it for them. Who knows how they find the time and still produce books and other content for their fans?
The Williamette Writers meet monthly in the council chambers of a little town called Central Point, and are affiliated with a larger Williamette Writers of Oregon that is headquartered in Portland. Many published authors are part of the group, all willing to share advice and encouragement to others. It is one of several writers organization in Oregon.
Ashland alone has over 80 authors, and will be holding an annual Ashland Book and Author Festival from 10 to 5 on June 22 at Oregon State University. (info at firstname.lastname@example.org or hanlib.sou.edu/bookfest) If you are a writer you can find everything from play-writing classes to poetry slams along with over 100 book clubs here in town. There are two new bookstores, one used book store, one new and used store, and one free book store just in Ashland, with more options down the road in Medford. I have heard OSU is also hosting a writers conference this summer -- details yet to come!
I guess its the weary four-month winter that keeps all this reading and writing going, because from my perspective the other seasons are just to beautiful to stay indoors.