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VENTURA COUNTY WEEKEND | WORDS & IMAGES

How to Pen, Promote a Manuscript

Jan Johnson, a nonfiction author, will conduct a series of three writing seminars in Simi Valley.

August 29, 1996|FRANCES HALPERN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

I have lost count of the panels I've moderated and the workshops I've presented on the publishing process. Nevertheless, still fascinated by the literary business, I continue to attend seminars and classes led by others.

And so, I had the pleasure of observing author Jan Johnson in action recently. She managed to be prepared and passionate, inspiring and practical.

Johnson is an author of six nonfiction books and hundreds of articles. She will present three separate Monday-night seminars in Simi Valley sponsored by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Parks Department.

The "Get Ready, Get Set, Get Published" seminar, scheduled for Sept. 9, will deal with the skills necessary to make it as an author once a manuscript is finished.

"How to Write and Sell Magazine and Newspaper Articles," on Sept. 16, will focus on a variety of markets, including hobby and children's magazines. The basics of lively, picturesque writing are the subject of the "Write Clearly and Powerfully" seminar on Sept. 23.

All of the workshops are scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. in the Micom Room, 5005-C, Los Angeles Ave., Simi Valley. The fee for each is $15. Call 522-3221 for more details.

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We hear it over and over. Writers must learn how to market their manuscripts and then get involved in marketing the published book. Most authors respond with glazed eyes and furrowed brows when they discover that creating the book is only half the job.

And then I met Catherine Cloud Templeton of Camarillo, author of "A Guide to Citizen Participation in Environmental Action." She has written a historical novel set in 1789 America and is whipping up interest in the manuscript by targeting hundreds of history buffs and organizations and asking them to write a brief message saying they are intrigued by the prospect of reading "The Righteous Rebel."

Templeton hands out and mails out flyers about the book, and provides stamped postcards, which are addressed to an interested publisher. This is a clever marketing ploy calculated to move a first-time novelist out of the pack. I tip my bonnet to an innovative writer.

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Family Gatherings, a new and powerful genealogy software program, will be presented by Lloyd Budwig at the Computer Interest Group/Conejo Valley Genealogical Society at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Adult Education Center, 1025 Old Farm Road, Thousand Oaks. Call 495-9659.

An evening of poetry will feature the award-winning Valentina Gnup-Kruip, who will read her work at 8 p.m. Tuesday at 2 West Coffee Company, Ventura. The event is hosted by Friday. Sign in for open-mike readings at 7:30 p.m. Call 643-6411 for details.

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IN SANTA BARBARA: Local novelist J. Jaye Gold, author of "Another Heart in His Hand," conducts a monthly reading and discussion workshop at Barnes & Noble, 829 State St. The group will discuss the work of Carlos Castaneda at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Frances Halpern is co-host with Jon O'Brien of "Beyond Words" at 10 a.m. Sundays on KCLU 88.3 FM, Ventura County's National Public Radio station.

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