Monday, July 9, 2012

WbtR Organizational Meeting Notes

Write by the Rails – Summer Tune-Up Meetings
Sundays@2pm - 8908 Fort Drive, Manassas

July 9 – Cindy Brookshire, Chip Deyerle, Leigh Giza, Marv Josaitis, Claudia Lefeve, Dan Verner

Vision – What do you want out of Write by the Rails?
·         To meet local writers, networking, get out and be with others
·         To get better at the craft by seeing what works for others, improve from those who have more experience, to share lessons learned
·         To encourage each other to be creative and productive
·         To make our writing known
·         To learn how to get a book to market
·         To broaden the perspective of the community, to appreciate local creativity
·         To fill the dead zone between Washington DC and Richmond with a creative zone for writers
·         To fill the gap within the Prince William County Arts Council with a vibrant literary community
·         To nurture a community of writers and be nurtured; to make members dreams happen
·         To increase our own visibility as writers (Facebook, blog)

Obstacles – After one year as a group, what is keeping us from our vision?
·         Figuring out if we want to be organized (by laws, etc) or loose networking on Facebook
·         Anthology vs no anthology – we are/are not ready to showcase
·         Money matters – bank account or non-profit, which should come first
·         Writers are introverts not extroverts
·         Some of us are not comfortable selling our books out there, getting up to talk
·         Self-interest – only wanting what you want out of the group and not willing to give back
·         So many genres (fantasy, romance, non-fiction) but not enough diversity of writers (age, race)
·         Publishing platforms – traditional vs. self-published, print vs. e-book
·         We don’t have a clear chain of command in decision-making
·         We don’t have a board or some advisors to help steer us
·         We don’t have enough programming – speakers, workshops, vs. book sales at events
·         We aren’t connected into the schools

Resources – What can we connect with to overcome our obstacles and reach our vision?
·         Toastmasters – develop as extroverts to market books
·         PWC Library System, NVCC Continuing Education, Center for the Arts, Chamber of Commerce, Lifelong Learning Institute to offer courses such as “Marketing for Authors” to share our expertise
·         James River Writers and Virginia Writers Club (Northern Virginia Writers) to learn best practices
·         Member talents – Nancy Kyme (finance), Chip Deyerle (by-laws), survey monkey (Claudia LaFeve)
·         Print media (News & Messenger, Prince William Living), hyperlocal news (,,, etc) for jobs and publicity
·         Schools – awareness of scholarships, speakers

Action Plan – What can you do to use resources to overcome obstacles and advance our vision?
·         Claudia LaFeve will create a survey, using Survey Monkey, to the membership to ask basic questions to the full membership.  The group that met on July 8 will help decide what the questions will be, such as, do you want to work toward becoming a non-profit, or remain a loose Facebook networking group?  Do you want to move ahead with or delay the anthology?
·         Leigh Giza will look into finding places where we can meet at least bi-monthly face to face in the western (Gainesville/Haymarket/Bristow), eastern (Woodbridge/Dale City/Dumfries) and central (City of Manassas to Hoadly/Minnieville Rd) Prince William region.
·         Chip Deyerle, who has done by laws for the fire company, will draft an easy to understand constitution and by-laws based on information Nancy Kyme gathered from the Manassas Art Guild and the Northern Virginia Writers’ chapter of Virginia Writers Club – if results of survey indicate this is the avenue we want to pursue.
·         Cindy Brookshire will gather a list of resources to add to the Write by the Rails blog, based on the brainstorming under “Resources” (Toastmasters to educational institutions to local media).
·         Cindy Brookshire will learn “mail chimp” to create a monthly e-news for local writers to share their news (sign up for e-news on blog).

“How To Market Your Book” Workshop
A panel discussion with local members of Write by the Rails
Saturday, September 8
12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Bull Run Regional Library
8051 Ashton Avenue, Manassas

·         Leigh is asking Claudia Lefeve, Nancy Kyme and Ross Murphy to be on the panel
·         Chip Deyerle will be coerced to provide a banjo prelude/interlude
·         Leigh Giza will MC and introduce panel
·         Dan Verner and Leigh Giza will handle set-up and clean-up
·         Cindy will handle publicity starting Aug. 1

NEXT MEETING:  Sunday, July 15 @ 2pm – Cindy Brookshire’s,
 8908 Fort Drive, Manassas

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