Thank you from Sorche Fairbank, Fairbank Literary Representation

I want to extend a quick and heartfelt thanks once again for inviting me to be a part of your conference. I participate in six to eight conferences each year, and while I almost always enjoy them and find them worthwhile, it's been a long time since I've been to one that left this much of an impression on me. It was top notch all around, both for presenters and for attendees. Truly, not many conferences have such heart and and soul, professionalism, and value. Your selection of speakers / agents/ faculty was fabulous (even I left energized!), the attendees were open to suggestions and very eager to learn, there was a feeling of respect and excitement over being in the world of books and writing -- and none or very little of the doom and gloom that is present at so many conferences. And of course the meals were excellent, and the location was as well. I only wish we could have stuck to our original plan to stay for an extra few days.

PS: And I should add that I loved the Real Time Query appointments. A great way for attendees to pitch, but to also leave there with hopefully a more effective query.

Deadline Extended for Board Candidates

The deadline for completed applications for nominations to our Board of Directors has been extended another week until Monday, November 7, 6:00 p.m. To request applications or send completed ones, please use my personal email address:

Elections will take place at the November 19th Board Meeting.

SCWW Members' Books Accepted on Consignment

Jill Hendrix of Fiction Addiction is willing to extend the conference deal regarding book consignment to all SCWW members ( For details email Jill at Thanks, Jill.

It's in the Bag!

Today, the 21st annual SCWW Writers' Conference is history. As the conference ended yesterday, I heard enough feedback to say with reasonable certainty that it was a good one. Many of you told me that this year's was one of the best, citing our excellent faculty. We have Carrie McCullough, Conference Chair, to thank for that - along with just about every other detail pertaining to planning this event. Please give Carrie a round of applause for the outstanding job she performed all year.

Of course the conference couldn’t have been as successful without the efforts of Kia Goins, Conference Co-Chair, (volunteer, vendor, sponsor coordination and ace all-round problem solving) and Kim Blum-Hyclak, Silent Auction Chair. They worked like Trojans to make Conference 2011 an enjoyable, informative, seamless and financially-viable endeavor.

Then there are the 20 volunteers that gave up a good portion of their conference time to insure that attendees were comfortable and on time to their specific sessions and appointments. This was accomplished with smiles and enthusiasm. In addition, there were many behind-the-scene chores shouldered by these members. Good volunteers are the oil that makes the gears of an organization turn smoothly, and this weekend our conference machinery operated with premium-grade WD40TM.

Here’s a big thanks to each member of our faculty members who took time away from their busy lives to share their knowledge and expertise. They didn’t make a great deal of money, had to rearrange their work schedules and dealt with the annoyances of travel in order to be with us. We were fortunate to snag them.

I have a quote from an email I received this morning. “I sat beside a writer from NY Saturday night and I asked him how he discovered our conference. He found it online, a site that reviewed conferences in the USA and ours was listed as NUMBER ONE!”

Also, I spoke with an attendee an hour ago who said, “I am busy putting to work some of the things I learned this past weekend. I expect better results than I’ve had.”

On Sunday morning, an 18-year-old man stopped to pass on his thanks to SCWW and our annual conferences. He said he had been attending them since he was 15 years old and owed his writing career to SCWW.

And lastly, a lady paused at the door as she was leaving the conference when I asked her if she’d enjoyed her weekend. She placed her hand over her heart and with a blissful expression sighed, “I have been inspired.”

If you couldn’t be with us this year, start planning to attend the 22nd annual SCWW Writers' Conference, November 2-4, 2012. I’ll see you there.

Conference Update

In less than a week, SCWW members will be driving and flying into Myrtle Beach for the 2011 conference. Have you registered? There's still time. Just visit and follow the link for credit cards (we can't accept anymore checks because the mail might not make it to us in time). Want to pay by check though? You can register at the conference.

Did you manage to shift your schedule and can attend sessions on Friday? You can add it to your previous registration by emailing Please, don't start a new registration. That costs the organization needless fees.

Or, did you sign up for a basic conference package and now you really want to add meal tickets? Again, don't start a new registration, just email

Appointment Times

You signed up for an appointment with a faculty member. You're anxious to know who and when you'll meet, right? Well, this year we'll be sending out appointment time information the week before the conference. Appointment times will be emailed out, starting Friday. Please, keep in mind we sold 100 critiques alone, so it's impossible to send out all of the emails in one day. But, everyone should have their information by Monday. If you don't, please email

Keep in mind that appointment times and faculty cannot be changed, unless there was an error on the part of SCWW. Also, unlike previous years, you MAY NOT swap times or appointments. Only the attendee listed on our appointment schedule will be allowed in. Reselling of appointments is prohibited.

The Notebook

No, we're not referring to the Sparks’ novel by that title. We want to tell you about our conference notebook; it will be your guide for our conference weekend, October 21-23.

The Table of Contents will help you use the information more effectively, along with a map of the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort and the menus for our meals. The notebook features front and back pockets to hold transparencies for slush piles and handouts from sessions. Of course, you’ll want to bring your own notebook to take notes. They’ll fit together perfectly.

In the conference notebook, in addition to the schedule for sessions and activities for the entire weekend, you’ll also find bio pages of our faculty with their photos so you’ll know what they look like before you go into your appointments or be able to recognize them on the elevator and mealtimes. There are instructions for the Silent Auction and SCWW Board of Directors bios and pics. Please introduce yourself to us; we want to get to know you.

Faculty Silent Auction Donations

David Coe – 50 page critique; books
James Frenkel – 50 page critique; books
Toni Plummer – 30 page critique; books
Jessica Regel – 50 page critique
Stephanie Sun – critique of query letter + 1st three chapters of a manuscript
Jon Sternfeld – 50 page critique
Eddie Schneider – (2) critiques, 50-75 pages + 1 page synopsis
Melissa Jeglinski – 25 page critique to be submitted by the end of November
Mollie Glick – books
Matt Frederick – books
Sarah LaPolla – critique of query letter + 1st Chapter
Sorche Fairbank – books
Chuck Sambuchino – books
Andrew Gross – books
Stephen Barr – 75-page critique

Silent Auction Proxy Bidding

Have you heard the news? There’s new and exciting activity with this year’s Silent Auction. The first is what is on the auction tables. We have 3 amazing get-aways: Three Oaks in TN, The Lazy Spring Ranch in WY and The Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort in SC. We have after-conference faculty critiques ranging from 25 pages to a query + the first three chapters. See above for a complete list of bid lots.

And very new this year, we’re offering Proxy Bidding! Members unable to attend the conference may place bids on silent auction lots through a designated proxy bidder. Below are the guidelines for taking advantage of this new opportunity.

All bids must be placed by a member attending the SCWW Conference Members wishing to place bids by proxy should notify Silent Auction Chair, Kim Blum-Hyclak at no later than noon on Friday, October 21, with the following information:

Contact information: phone number, address, email
Name of designated proxy bidder

Members attending the conference and serving as a proxy bidder will submit a proxy bid sheet which will be in the conference notebook. All items must be paid for by 1:00 Sunday, October 23. Items won through proxy bid must be paid for through the proxy bidder and proxy bidder is responsible for taking and delivering the auction item. SCWW will not ship any auction winnings.

Vendors and Sponsors

Fiction Addiction – bookseller for the Conference
Henry Wren Publications
Glimmer Train
USC Press
Spalding University
Finishing Line Press
Dancing Lemur Press

Drop by these sponsors tables and thank them for supporting SCWW.


At the conference you will meet other SCWW members, published authors, editors and agents. You will also meet conference volunteers. Volunteers are SCWW members who are help to staff the conference. You’ll see volunteers practically everywhere you go during the conference. They will check you in at the registration desk, or sell you a t-shirt or Petigru Review at the Book Nook, or they’ll check your badge at meals. Say hi, they are really nice people and they’ll be glad to meet you.

Volunteers will easily indentified by the blue and green “Volunteer” buttons they will be wearing. If you need help with anything, from directions to a particular location or the answer to a question, just ask. If that volunteer doesn’t immediately have an answer to your question, he or she will find Carrie, Ginny or Kia and get you an answer as quickly as possible.

Have any questions about the conference? Email

Hope to see you soon!

Thank you, Thank you and Thank you again!

This year we’re celebrating our 21st Annual Writers’ Conference and we couldn’t do it without some very important people: vendors and volunteers.

We are excited to welcome several new vendors as sponsors of the South Carolina Writers’ Workshop – Postertext, Dancing Lemur Press, Finishing Line Press and Spalding University.

Personally, I’m excited about the way Postertext turns literature into art. (Click on the names of our vendors to go to their websites.)

Dancing Lemur and Finishing Line are small presses where some of our members may find their next publishing home. YA and science fiction literature are the focus at Dancing Lemur, while Finishing Line is an award-winning chapbook publisher.

Located in Louisville, Kentucky, Spalding University’s MFA program was named one of the top ten low-residency MFA programs by Poets and Writers magazine.

We’re fortunate to have several vendors returning as sponsors of our conference: Fiction Addiction, Henry Wren Publications, USC Press and Glimmer Train. Returning vendors are special to us because it tells us that we’re doing something right. When vendors or attendees join us more than once, it speaks to the reputation of our event and SCWW.

Fiction Addiction is selling our faculty and member books during the conference.

You can look forward to finding some Glimmer Train publications in your conference bag as well as a selection of Glimmer Train publications in our silent auction.

Members of USC Press and Henry Wren Publications will be on hand to answer any questions you might have about the services they offer.

Each year, SCWW depends on the time and talents of its members to plan and host the conference. We also rely on SCWW members to staff the event so that all of the attendees and faculty members have a great time.

So much of what SCWW does as an organization is the result of the volunteers, whether board members, chapter leaders or the person who runs the critique room at the conference.

I want to take a moment and say “Thank you to our vendors for believing in us enough to donate to our cause. Thank you to our Board for giving your time and talents to the business of running this non-profit. Thank you to the volunteers for spending your weekend helping host our visitors and friends at the conference.”

Conference Prep from an Illogical Mind

By J.M. Kelley

Prepping for an upcoming conference can be traumatic for an author, especially one who has issues with logic. Like me.

Last year, my first SCWW conference, I hadn’t even achieved South Carolina residency yet. Sure, that’s not a requirement. But a tiny part of me felt like I was cheating on my home state of Pennsylvania when I slipped into my car in the wee hours of the morning to slink off to visit my new paramour, the SCWW.

Logic isn’t my friend.

Luckily, this time, I can attend with a clear conscience. I broke up with Pennsylvania and moved to Greenville. Nearly a year later, my relationship with The Palmetto State is as strong as ever.

But, I digress. We were about to discuss conference prep.

We all know the basic battle plan for attending a conference with an unsold manuscript in possession. Some of the more important points are:
1. Know your story. Be prepared to sell it. Have your query ready. Memorize your elevator pitch.
2. Dress comfortably but professionally.
3. Have your classroom supplies ready. Bring notepads, pens and pencils, maybe a voice-activated digital recorder.
4. Choose your courses with thought. Think about what you want to take away from the conference. What are your weaknesses? Grammar? Marketing? Clueless about formulating a professional query letter? Focus on your needs, but don’t be afraid to mix it up a little.
5. Step outside of your comfort zone. We’re authors. We understand the introvert tendencies some of us experience. Make friends. Make contacts.


Pretty straightforward information, but always worth repeating, don’t you think?
Especially for a scatterbrain such as myself. I know the rules. Honest. But when it comes to applying them, logic often fails me. So let’s explore my brain in pre-conference prep mode. Consider it an exercise in how not to prepare.

Know Your Story.

I know my story. I can describe it to you. Do you have a half an hour? See, this girl, she has to come home to help out her father…

Okay, I know my story. And I’m working on the short version. I promise you that. It’s the elevator pitch that frightens me. How do you sum up a hundred thousand words in one sentence? This is the question that keeps me awake at night. And queries? Don’t even get me started on queries. My first novel went through about seven different queries before I finally found one that stuck. The first one will someday be featured on several agent sites to demonstrate what not to do when trying to entice an agent.

My biggest conference fear is that the following conversation will occur.
Random Agent: So what’s your story about?
Me: Huh? What?
R.A.: Your story. The entire point of you being in my presence. What is it about?
Me: It’s a book.
R.A.: Yes. Kinda figured that.
Me: It’s really good.
R.A.: Mm hmm. Excuse me. I have to go throw myself from the roof.
Me: Have fun?

Be Prepared To Sell It.

In my mind, that means one thing. Snazzy business cards. And when it comes to business cards, my idiocy emerges and I need the intervention of friends to return me to sanity.
Me: I think I found a business card design I like. Want to see?
Friend: Sure. (Views link to business card image) There’s a banana on this business card.
Me: Yes. It’s a very cute banana.
Friend. You hate bananas.
Me: I hate eating bananas. I like dancing bananas on business cards, though.
Friend: You’re an idiot. What does this have to do with your writing?
Me: I’m sure there’s a banana somewhere in the book.
Friend. Again, you’re an idiot.

Dress Comfortably But Professionally.

Exchanges like this are not productive when trying to decide on appropriate conference attire:
Me: What do you think of this skirt?
Friend: It looks good on you.
Me: Do you think I can wear my combat boots with it?
Friend: No. No combat boots.
Me: How about this dress? Does it make me look fat?
Friend: No. I think it’s a great choice for the Keynote Address Dinner.
Me: The skirt is longer on this. Definitely a combat boot kind of dress.
Friend: For the love of all that is holy, do not bring the combat boots.
Me: They give me an air of quirkiness.
Friend: They give you an air of Odor Eaters. Those things are ten years old and smell like death.

Have Your Classroom Supplies Ready:

My interpretation:
Go to Target and spend an hour trying to decide between a neon pink Hello Kitty theme or a notebook that looks like a tropical garden just exploded from its recycled material innards.

Feel bad about leaving behind the giant wooden pencil I’ve owned since kindergarten.

Choose Your Courses With Thought.

This means you shouldn’t accidentally wander into the conference room hosting the Morticians of America Annual Meet and Greet and Crematorium Emporium.
This also means that the crumpled course list you’ve been nervously twisting and untwisting in your hands has another, more important, use.

Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone.

Last year, I was a wall flower. An unemployed wallflower who selected the Basic Package and somehow managed to leave the conference without realizing she’d been awarded a Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Award.

This year I’m volunteering. That, my friends, is a step outside of my claustrophobic box of isolation.


Okay. Clearly, I’m exaggerating my mindset as the 2011 SCWW Conference approaches. Well, a little bit. I really am logic-impaired, and really do have a Hello Kitty notebook that is trying to wriggle its way into my bag of conference supplies.
The real point I’m trying to make, all kidding aside, is this: Don’t overthink it. But don’t underthink it, either.

You’re a writer forging into territory where some pretty impressive names in the publishing industry will be lurking. It’s smart to be at the ready, just in case you manage to catch the ear of your dream agent or editor.

Don’t wander the conference rooms with three printed copies of your full manuscript, attacking editors and agents at will. But don’t be afraid to think positive. There’s nothing wrong with having a flash drive handy with samples of your work, ready to print out in the Business Center just in case you get that miracle moment where an agent begs to see the evidence of your brilliance. More than likely, if you get an invitation to submit your work from an agent, you’ll be emailing the requested material once the conference ends. But a writer can dream.

Don’t sweat the attire. But don’t wear your twenty-one year old Chuck Taylor All Star sneaks and a ratty pair of acid-washed jeans that looked great on you in 1986. Be comfortable, but be mindful of the image you project to publishing professionals.
Pick the classes that appeal to you and your particular writing niche. And be prepared to take notes. Don’t let all the free-flowing information go to waste. A year after my original SCWW Conference experience, and I still often peek at the notes I took to refresh my memory about a certain point.

Have the kind of fun that doesn’t end up with you doing the Macarena on the hotel bar with a lamp shade on your head.

The most important advice I can impart is this: Reach out. I emphasize this because I am too often compelled to blend into the scenery. Interacting with real humans is infinitely more stressful to me than creating fictional characters. Thing is, even the most introverted, shy person at a writing conference has the easiest conversation starter at their disposal. Look around you. Find a kind face. Walk up to them and say, “Hi! So what’s your book about?”

Everybody there will have an immediate answer for you.

Solidarity, brothers and sisters. Embrace the opportunity to connect with the milling crowds of people who know just what it’s like to have the one job in the world in which it’s perfectly okay to respond to the voices in your head. You won’t be sorry.

J.M. Kelley's debut novel, Drew in Blue, is a contemporary romance available from Lazy Day Publishing. Drew in Blue was nominated for Best Contemporary of 2010 by The Romance Reviews, and is a TRR and Night Owl Reviews Top Pick. Drew is available for download from Amazon, B&N, All Romance, and OmniLit. J.M. dabbles next in the paranormal realm with her short erotic romance, Laws of Attraction, included in the Lazy Day Publishing anthology, Indulgence: Tales from the Cirque Romani, available via Amazon on October 19th. For information and news, please visit

Thank You for Your Patience!

Thank you for your patience with the Members' Published Work page on our website. A complete overhaul, including a new cost-effective method for updating the information on this page, was a task we'd hoped to accomplish in August/September. However, due to the economic strictures under which we all are operating, our proposed income for the year is down by 35% or more.

When the Board meets in November and we evaluate the financial success of the conference against our annual expenses, there may be difficult decisions to be made. Rest assured that your Board of Directors works diligently to produce the best results for SCWW to serve her membership in the most advantageous way.

Thank you again...and register for the conference! I'll see you there.

Getting Ready for SCWW Conference

The conference will start sooner for me than for attendees. You've still got 16 days before the event begins. I'll be Myrtle Beach bound Oct. 16.

Some of you are probably thinking, "Really? Lucky Duck. What's there to do?"

Well, I'll be reviewing the menus, meeting space and decorations. I'll take care of last-minute details concerning faculty flights, driving schedules and room reservations. With the help of volunteers, Co-chair Kia Goins and Board President Ginny Padgett, I'll put together the notebooks and the conference bags. We'll help the silent auction group, headed by Kim Blum Hyclak, with stuffing baskets and making bid sheets.

But enough about what will be going on behind the curtain, here's what you'll need to know:

1. Appointment times -- The week before the conference, we'll send emails to attendees who purchased appointments, providing the faculty name and the time and day they'll meet. Remember, critiques are on Friday and pitches and real-time queries are Saturday and Sunday.

2. Hotel reservations -- Have you made yours?

3. Meals -- Did you purchase a complete package. If so, you'll start receiving conference meals with Friday dinner and every time the meal bell rings from then until Sunday breakfast, you're covered. If you purchased the Friday morning or all-day intensive sessions, you're also covered for Friday breakfast and Friday lunch. Did you purchase a basic package? Then you're only covered for Saturday and Sunday breakfasts. Meal tickets will be checked. Please, don't try to sneak in. There's only enough for those who purchased.

Want to purchase a meal ticket for yourself or a guest/spouse? Be sure to email If you purchase meal tickets at the conference, there will be a fee increase (because it costs us more per meal from The Hilton).

4. Lay of the Land -- Not sure where to go once you arrive at The Hilton? As soon as you stand in front of the hotel reservation desk, look to your right. At the end of the room you'll see a big desk. That's the registration desk as of Thursday evening. Once you check in there, we'll provide you with a conference bag which includes a notebook with a map.

We'll be sending out a special mailing this weekend with other last-minute information about the conference. Remember, it isn't too late to register! We have a handful of appointment times available and there's still room at sessions and the meal tables. There will be plenty of opportunities to meet with faculty and other writers. For more information, check the conference website,

The Reward of Patience Is...

When I first heard the phrase “the reward of patience is . . . well, more patience” I felt a twinge of disappointment. I wasn’t expecting a medal pinned on my shirt but patience leading to more patience was tough to accept. But, acceptance is the goal and all this leads me to why I’m getting a little impatient waiting on the scoring from the judges of the Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards. We have four judges for each category—First Chapter Novel, Short Non-Fiction, Short Story and Poetry—which comes to twelve judges plus the two people at the South Carolina Arts Commission who tally the scores to come up with the winners. It’s a process and that takes time. We asked them to send in their scores by next week and eight of the twelve already have done so. That’s pretty good.

The winners of the Carrie McCray Memorial Literary Awards will be announced at the Friday evening banquet of the SCWW Conference, October 21-23. If you have not already done so, it’s not too late to sign up for “The Method, The Market & The Muse” which features top agents, top editors and top authors and held at the Hilton Myrtle Beach Resort.

Hope to see you at the Conference.

Martha Greenway
Contests Chair