We are one branch of the California Writers Club. It is a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to educating both members and the public in the craft of writing and in the marketing of their work, through public meetings, workshops and conferences.
The Redwood branch was chartered in 1975 and was the fourth branch established in the statewide club. It is located in Sonoma County, California, about sixty miles north of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Naming the branch "Redwood" as opposed to "Sonoma" reflected the sensibilities of the time and of a region that frequently used Redwood as part of its name.
The California Writers Club is open to writers of all genres.
David Corbett was our guest speaker in June and was informative as well as entertaining. Here are two opportunities to learn from him:
The Outer Limits of Inner Life
That’s the name of two classes David will be teaching this fall—one a ten-week online course through UCLA Extension’s Writers program (open to everyone around the world), and the other a two-day (weekend) in-depth hands-on workshop through Book Passage bookstore in Corte Madera.
This letter was written by my friend Erika Mailman, author of the novel A Witch's Trinity. She graciously gave me permission to post this on our blog. - Linda McCabe
Authors, we have until Sept. 4 to file an objection to the Google Book Settlement. For specs, see the FAQ under googlebooksettlement.com. This is a landmark, precedent-setting case; please consider expressing disapproval to the court.
My few italics do not show up in this Note, unfortunately. -Erika
Office of the Clerk, J. Michael McMahon U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York 500 Pearl Street New York, New York 10007
August 21, 2009
I’m writing to object to, and express my horror at, the Google Book Settlement currently on Judge Denny Chin’s desk.
As an author, my creative work is copyrighted. What does a copyright mean when a corporation like Google can get hold of my work, without my permission, for financial benefit?
I find it unconscionable that an interloper who had nothing to do with the writing of my books, nor the publishing of them, will now be able to profit from them.
If I were a dressmaker and Google absconded with my gowns, there would be no question that Google would need to promptly return them and face serious legal consequences. However, due to the digital and therefore distributable nature of books, Google’s theft does not appear that way to all eyes.
I opted in to the settlement because it was the only way to protect my rights to my work; my back was against the wall. I did so under situational duress. My literary agent recommended that I do so. I don’t have the time or resources to hire my own attorney, but I do not feel that the Author’s Guild attorneys represent me… nor do they somehow magically represent the world of “all writers everywhere.” I am not a member of the Guild, and I am deeply upset that the Guild is considering the settlement. I would like Google to go to court and have to defend its position.
Under the terms of the settlement, Google keeps 37 percent of all revenue generated by its sales of works written by hapless authors. That is a despicable figure given that the typical percentage for authors who created the content is only 10 percent under traditional publishing.
With the settlement, Google keeps 37 percent. Of the remaining 63 percent, writers and publishers must pay 10-20 percent to the Book Rights Registry (again, an entity I don’t know and don’t want to profit from my work) and then equally split the remains. Doing the math, whether the Registry keeps 10 or 20 percent, the author and publisher percentage is significantly less than Google’s (28 percent or 25 percent, respectively). That is grossly unfair.
Authors sweat and pray and write for years to create a book. Publishers do a fair amount of work as well. They put up money to create a tangible book (or e-book), maintain a stable of editors and marketing staff, and undertake the arcane and unwieldy world of book distribution. These two entities deserve revenue from their books. But what will Google do to receive 37%? It will scan a book—which any halfwit with a scanner can do.
The publishing industry is already on the wane. This Google settlement may sound its death knell. Independent bookstores are closing like the livery stables of yore, and losing business to yet another online competitor may close down the entire literary operation, with thousands of publishing house employees, bookstore employees, and authors left stranded. If we thought Amazon was tough on the business, this new venture will shoot it in the knees.
The saving grace for publishers may be e-books… a new way of reading that may rescue the industry. Yet the Google Book Settlement will undercut this possibly vital new scheme.
Publishers publish books knowing the undertaking is risky. The book may not flourish and its publication will have been an error. But that is the beauty of literature: we do not know which books will please, and we read and write and hope for the best. Already it is famously difficult for writers to get published…if publishers must watch their wallet even more closely, and take less risks on new writers, there will be a trickle-down effect on the entire world of literature.
And what about libraries—those bastions of civic benevolence? If one can access a book at 2 a.m. on one’s computer, who will bother to wait until morning to get in the car and go to the library? The whole library system may founder.
This settlement provides a landmark precedent for whether literary works will be protected by law. If Google is permitted to scan and sell others’ content, the “barn door is open,” as they say, and scads of other companies will leap to do the same thing.
Please protect writers, publishers and bookstores by unequivocally shutting down this unfair, abhorrent settlement—make Google go to court and explain itself.
It is gratifying to see our writing club mentioned in the press. Here is an article that appeared in the Oakland Tribune that not only mentions the California Writers Club, but the Centennial Grove in Oakland that was planted in honor of California Writers.
I remember returning to school as a young girl in Healdsburg , on a burning hot September day in which I’d insisted on wearing a new winter outfit, the one I’d picked all those prunes to buy. I was hot and uncomfortable, but I was back. School years, while they can offer some tough challenges both mentally and emotionally, have always been exciting places for me. I suspect that might be true for most writers. We are proverbial students, always reading and learning. That is why Redwood Writers is such a great “fit” for me. Looking at the line-up of activities for September and October only substantiates my feelings.
First is the Sept 19 Sonoma County Book Festival. RW is proud to be a major organizer this year, handling both the RW Booth and the new Redwood Writers Reading Circle. Many of our authors will be speaking their wares on this glorious Saturday in the sun. Come and meander along the many booths chockfull of books and writing ideas. Hear poetry, see mini-plays, listen to stories, and enjoy food and music.
Sept 13 is our next General Membership meeting at Copperfield's Books in Montgomery Village. Our speaker is Seth Harwood, mystery writer and pod-caster extraordinaire, who will tell us his secrets for success.
Sept 26 is the release of RW’s next anthology, Vintage Voices.Your voices that is, and I can’t wait to hear the readings at North Light Books in Cotati where we will celebrate the launch from 2:00-4:00.
Our biggest event of the year is the Writers Conference on Oct 24, at the Flamingo Hotel. What an accomplishment! Do you know, thinking of the economy, what a good deal this is? I went to the San Francisco Conference last February and it was just under $600 for 2 days. Here you have many of the same great seminars, an opportunity to have your work reviewed by a professional editor, and great speakers all for under $150.
If you’ve not registered yet, do it now on-line at our website: www.redwoodwriters.org (a place you should check out regularly.)
During the first week of September, I will be interviewed on Elaine Holtz’s TV show, Women Spaces, the third most watched local access production in our county. Joining me will be Patricia Volonakis Davis, author of the delightful book, Harlot’s Sauce. Together we will promote the Writers Conference. Please watch your email for airing times.
This brings me to the subject of volunteerism, something Americans do very well. I am proud of the long list of RW members who spend hundreds of hours making our motto a reality: “writers helping writers.”
A big “thank you” to the many who have contacted us to work at the Book Festival or at the Writers Conference. Your support is heartwarming. However, we still need more help, so let me know if you can spare, not a dime in these hard times, but an hour for the Conference, or let Karen Batchelor know if you can work two hours “sitting” the RW Booth at the Festival. You will have fun and help too.
Speaking of hard times, the Festival and most of RW events are FREE!
And, speaking of volunteerism, being an audience for your fellow writer is another way of helping, while at the same time learning and being entertained. What could be better? So, wherever a RW is speaking or reading, bring friends, your family, or heck, bring strangers, or better yet, prospective members!
As to school and learning? Together we are creating a special space:
Of learning, i.e., our recent Tech Workshop; Of seminars, i.e., all day at the Conference; Of readings, i.e., Salons and Odd Month Readings; Of speakers, i.e., each month at General Meetings; Of writing opportunities; i.e., RW's many contests;
Maybe leave your winter clothes in the closet for a few more weeks, but do indeed join in all the opportunities and the friendships offered at Redwood Writers.
...the deadline to submit your works for the 2009 Redwood Writers Conference writing contests is Saturday, August 15.
The Poetry Competition will be judged by Terry Ehret, Sonoma County Poet Laureate Emeritus and Mike Tuggle, Sonoma County Poet Laureate. You do NOT have to be registered for the conference to enter this contest. A PDF with the information for the poetry competition can be opened or downloaded here:
The Writing Competition for your 1500-word work(s) will be judged by B. Lynn Goodwin of Danville, a CWC Member, J.J.Wilson of Penngrove, and Laura McHale Holland, of Rohnert Park, a Redwood Writer. You must be a conference registrant to submit. A PDF with the information for the writing competition can be opened or downloaded here:
Kate Farrell will be involved in two literary events on Saturday, August 8th.
In the morning she will be in Cotati with Lynn Henricksen and in the afternoon she will be in Sonoma with Linda Reid.
_____Morning_________________________________________________________________________________ Wisdom Has a Voice: Daughters Remember Mothers 2-hour Workshop to Remember Mothers in Memoir
Does thinking of your mother make you wince or win you over? Saturday, August 8, 2009 9:30-11:30 AM * The Sitting Room, 170 East Cotati Ave., Cotati Cost $20.00 * Limited to 12 participants and space is filling up fast!
* Gather your thoughts about mother into memories and memoir into truth * Discover the hidden legacies of daughter-mother wisdom * Leave with a keepsake memoir of your mother
Please RSVP to the presenters or arrive at 9:00 am.
This Sitting Room Workshop is dedicated to the memory of Elizabeth "Betty" McKegney, a longtime Tiburon librarian and town volunteer, whose last name graces a vast field in the town, died June 12 in Petaluma. She was 99.
Longtime former Sonoma resident Monica McKey will return to Sonoma on Saturday, Aug. 8, to provide a musical warm-up for a Meet & Greet literary gathering at Readers’ Books, featuring authors Linda Reid and Kate Farrell.
Accompanied by local guitarist Dan Goldfus, McKey will perform jazz standards on the bookstore’s back patio starting at 12:30. Wine and refreshments will be served.
Then at 1:30, patrons will have the opportunity to meet the authors and learn about their recently published works.
Reid, a Healdsburg native and lifelong resident of Sonoma County, won first place in the Redwood Writers Club 2008 writing contest with one of her short stories (visitwww.lindalovelandreid.com). Touch of Magenta, her first novel, is the intriguing and suspenseful story of two women from two different times, with settings ranging from the California Gold Country and San Francisco’s Chinatown to Singapore, Italy, and England.
A founder of a family insurance business in Santa Rosa, Reid is also a figurative oil painter and theatrical director. She has directed several plays in Sonoma, including My Left Breast, which featured McKey.
A storyteller and published author of educational books, Kate Farrell is a San Francisco high school librarian residing in Sonoma County. Her novel Girl in the Mirror takes readers on a young woman’s journey of self-discovery, an odyssey that the author magically interweaves with the ancient story of Psyche and Eros (visit www.girlinthemirror.info).
The featured works of both Reid and Farrell address a woman’s struggle to find her own identity and her place in the world.
For more information, call Readers’ Books at (707) 939-1779.
Technology Workshop Series: Navigating Cyberspace for Authors (Sail On!) Cyberspace 101 for Authors
Why do authors need to feed their Facebooks and dig their Blogs?
August 4, 2009, Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 pm Petaluma Community Center at Lucchesi Park 320 N. McDowell Ave. Petaluma 94954
WiFi available, Laptops optional
Members $15 Non-members $20 If you have not paid for this workshop in advance, you may pay at the door
Leader: Ann Wilkes
Outcomes: 1. to understand the value of website, blogs, social networking to further their writing careers 2. to be familiar with these basic tools 3. to explore he potential of these tools for individual use
Intro 1. Website (the basic platform, the office & reception area) 2. Blogs & feeds 3. Social Networking: Facebook & widgets 4. GoodReads 5. Evaluation (with testimonials) Handouts: Instruction on Facebook features & more