Islanders Write will be returning for a full day of panel discussions, author signings, and workshops on Monday, August 14, at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. This year we are introducing a pitch panel, half-hour feedback sessions, and open mic.
Explanations and guidelines for these new additions to are below.
The pitch panel
How can I get an agent or editor to notice my book project? How many of us have asked this question? Are you wondering if that great idea you had for a book is really a great idea? Have you written a manuscript that you’re trying to sell? Are you trying to perfect your pitch, or wondering how to even begin? If you’re willing to hear feedback in public, this is your chance to practice your pitch and get feedback from three industry professionals: an editor, agent, and author.
Pitch panel guidelines: Pitches must be three minutes or shorter. They can be fiction or nonfiction, for the adult or children’s market. Each project pitched for this session will be preselected by the organizers of Islanders Write. We will only be selecting five pitches, in order to give our panelists time to comment on each pitch and to take audience questions at the end. The people on the panel will not have advance knowledge of your project, and will be hearing about your work and about you for the first time on August 14. If you are interested in pitching to our pitch panel, please email a paragraph about your book project and a short bio to email@example.com.
The editor and agent on this panel have generously agreed to offer their advice in order to help writers better understand the process of getting editors and agents interested in their books. Please be aware that they are not here seeking projects for themselves. Panelists on this pitch panel include agent Rosemary Stimola of Stimola Literary Studio, which represents fiction and nonfiction from preschool through young adult; and novelist John Hough Jr., author of “Little Bighorn” and “The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Dialogue.”
Feedback: I’ve finished my story. Now what?
Congratulations! You have completed a draft of your novel, or written a short story. You have even finished a revision. Perhaps now is the time to seek some feedback. Acclaimed novelist LaShonda Katrice Barnett is offering six 30-minute one-on-one feedback sessions to discuss your book’s strengths and the areas where it can use further development. She will offer advice on how to scout an agent and develop a query letter, and how to solicit the right literary journals for the publication of a short story.
Feedback session guidelines: Please submit a one-paragraph description and between 10 and 15 pages, but no more than 15, of your novel or short story (saved as a .pdf only) to firstname.lastname@example.org. These sessions are geared toward writers who have already completed a draft and at least one revision of their submitted work. The first six manuscripts submitted are the lucky recipients of conference time.
LaShonda Katrice Barnett is a novelist, short story writer, and playwright. Her debut novel, “Jam on the Vine” (Grove Atlantic, 2015), was an Editor’s Choice pick at the Chicago Tribune, won ElIe magazine’s Reader’s Choice Prize, and earned Barnett the Emerging Writers Award at the 2015 Tennessee Williams Literary Festival. This year, “Jam on the Vine” was awarded the Stonewall Honor Award by the American Library Association, and was nominated for the 2016 Lambda Literary Award. LaShonda holds a Ph.D. in American studies from the College of William & Mary, has taught at Sarah Lawrence College and Brown University, and is currently a visiting professor in African American studies and gender and sexuality studies at Northwestern University.
We will be returning with an open mic event this year. This will provide an opportunity for Island writers, published and unpublished, awardwinning and award-aspiring, or seniors in schools and seniors in life, to read a piece of their writing. Each piece must be under five minutes long when read aloud. Sign-up for our open mic session begins when the doors open at 7:30 am. We will go down the list until the hour ends. The open mic will take place from 1:30 to 2:30 pm.
For more information about Islanders Write, visit islanderswrite.com.