Sunday, March 8, 2015

COSCBWI Meeting February 2015


February's Central and Southern Ohio SCBWI meeting featured YA author Natalie Richards.  I was so disappointed that the meeting fell during my vacation, so I wasn't able to attend.  Fortunately, Assistant Regional Advisor, Andrea Hall, was kind enough to step in and do a guest post meeting summary!

Andrea Hall:
We had an amazing visit from Natalie Richards at the February meeting!  Natalie’s presentation was titled ‘Pieces of the Publishing Pie’ and it was entertaining as well as informative.

Natalie started off the presentation by reminding us to be serious about our writing.  Read a lot.  Write a lot.  Give yourself deadlines.  No one else is going to write the book for you.  Joining a critique group is a good idea.  Your critique partners can help you find your writing strengths/weaknesses.  Knowing these are critical.  Playing up your strengths in each manuscript can help make it better, and realizing your writing weaknesses can help you improve them or find a way to use them less in your writing (such as description: if it isn’t your strength, maybe don’t try writing a historical piece).
It was Natalie’s third manuscript that landed her a literary agent.  It was still rejected by publishers. Many times.  Natalie’s fourth manuscript was the one that finally sold.  Why did that story (Six Months Later) sell?  Natalie believes it was because she found a story that fit her skills and writing strengths.  She needed something quick paced with a twisty plot to keep readers turning the page.

Once her debut book came out, her job wasn’t over.  Numerous book promotions were set up to help market the novel as well as school-visits.  Natalie thought when all the copies of her book sold, that was it.  No one told her it had gone back to be reprinted!  Meeting other authors and making connections helped her navigate the world of a debut release.

So what challenges did she face with her 2nd novel, Gone Too Far?  Natalie felt more pressure to deliver.  She felt a new set of responsibility to the readers who fell in love with her debut.  There were also tighter publishing deadlines, a whole new slew of rejections, and another level of fear for how the book would be received.

Natalie's parting words of advice are to be prepared to pitch your story anywhere, be willing to revise everything, be willing to work hard, and don’t quit!

To learn more Natalie and her books, be sure to visit her website at

A big thanks to Andrea for her guest post!  You can follow her on Twitter at @andreadawnhall.   

If you'd like to learn more about Central and Southern Ohio SCBWI and upcoming events, check out  I hope to see you at the March meeting!

Note: Cover image is from Natalie's website at

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