A gathering of scribes

Jersey City Writers talk about how to get published

Ernest Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
The people who attended the Jersey City Writers workshop on April 30 got a similar message about publishing.
“Publishing,” said Carol Deminski, “is a lot work.”
At the same time, said Meg Merriet, one of three panelists brought together to talk about how they got published, getting accepted – regardless of how big or small the publication – is a thrill.
The event hosted by Jersey City Writers (JCW) brought together the panel and discussion at the Indiegrove book store in Jersey City about how to get their short stories published.
Approximately a dozen writers braved a torrential downpours to get some clue as to how to approach one of the most arduous tasks writers face.
“You get rejected a lot,” Deminski said. “But if you keep getting form rejections and don’t get more personal comments from editors, then you have to take a closer look at what you are sending them.”
Carol Deminski has been published in small press literary magazines including Word Riot, PANK, Metaze, Dogzplot, and Foundling Review.
Moderator Adriana Rambay Fernández, a former award-winning journalist at the Hudson Reporter, and a writer and communications professional since 1998, asked the panel questions of common concern before opening it up to questions from the audience.
Although there were common themes all three panelists talked about, some questions were specific. Nancy Méndez-Booth, a fiction writer and teacher of Latina/Latino literature and culture, was asked if she wrote in Spanish or English.
A writer with work appearing in print and on line for publications that include Jet Fuel Review, KGB Bar Lit Magazine, Philadelphia Stories, and Poets & Writers, she said she writes in English although tries to convey a sense of Latin culture.
Merriet, a writer of short stories, novels and plays, recently had her story “The Bedfellow” published in the Spring 2014 issue of The Antigonish Review, a literary journal produced by St. Francis Xavier University. She also agreed that a writer summiting material needed to be organized, but also emphasized the need to present quality work.
Each brought a slightly different perspective to the discussion. Deminski also did a video presentation that outlined her methodology, in particular organizing tools and sage advice when submitting material.
“Submitting is not easy,” she said.
Computers and various websites can aid a writer, but ultimately, the writer had to dedicate time and energy to the effort, bleeding over the keyboard in much the way Hemingway said a writer should over a typewriter.
All three talked about how to submit stories, and how to find the right market for what you right, even briefly speaking about how to shape work to a particular market.
The workshop kicked off JCW’s “Submit It or Quit It” month-long event in which JCW challenges its member writers to submit their works for publication.
“The idea,” said Racial Poy, co-chair of JCW, “is to get the works out from the bottom of your drawer or wherever you put them and get them published.”
Getting small works published in periodicals can pave the way for getting recognition for larger works, said Mendez-Booth, who hopes her publishing credits will lead to getting a publisher or a literary agent.

Upcoming events

Jersey City Writers is a community of dedicated writers who seek to develop and explore their craft. Writers are often very isolated, so the the group provides them with a social setting that allows them to share ideas and space.
JCW meets on three days a week, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Twice a month they host a writer’s workshop, and twice a month they host a night of writer’s prompts. JCW plans to host a number of workshops and special events this spring. These events are designed to inspire writers in a fun and social setting to write.
Whispers of an Apparition: Literary Reading of Paranormal Fiction will be held on Saturday, May 10 from 1 to 4 p.m. at Third & Vine, 353 Third St. with $5 recommended fee at door.
Inspired by love for all things paranormal, JCW is putting together a celebration of the genre. The event features award-winning novelist Leanna Renee Hieber, author of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and Darker Still of the Magic Most Foul series. Additionally, there will be readings of select pieces of paranormal flash fiction from local writers. For more information or to register for the event, go to: http://on.fb.me/1pTPABt.
A Full Story Launch Event/Mixer will be held on Wed. May 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Zepplin Hall, 88 Liberty View Dr. the event is free. The launch event, a form of “Speed-Dating” for novelists, is designed to bring like-minded novelists together who can offer one another encouragement, accountability, and feedback throughout the process of finishing their novel.
Attendees are asked to give a 30-second pitch of their novel. For more information, go to: http://on.fb.me/1fVGt9L.
Adriana Rambay Fernández, a freelance writer and yoga teacher, is leading the Yoga and Writing workshop at Yoga Shunya, 275 Grove St., 3rd Fl, on May 17 from 4 to 6 p.m. This is designed to get writers’ creative juices flowing with basic yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. There is a recommended fee of $10 at the door.
“Most of the events are by donation to support the ongoing activities of the volunteer-based group,” Fernandez said. “No one is turned away if they don’t have the suggested contribution amount.”
To learn more or register for the event, go to: http://bit.ly/1kr2oqK.
Non-fiction night will be held on Monday, June 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. atJohn’s Kitchen Cafe, 109 Columbus Dr. This is a bi-monthly workshop to help writers produce compelling nonfiction. Each night the group will review works from three members to offer advice for improvement. Meets on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. This is a free event.
For more information, go to: http://bit.ly/1iVAG3X.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

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