If the past few weeks have taught me anything–and boy have they taught me a lot–it is the awesome power of local. Being an independent artist (and YES, I feel pretty cool writing that. Though to be clear, my visual artistic talents are basically limited to stick figures), it is gratifying, humbling, and inspiring to realize the incredible local support that exists for aspiring writers. It was not something I expected to find when we moved to the Northwoods. So, that got me thinking: how many resources and artistic organizations exist in our communities that we don’t know about? There are probably resources at your finger tips that you aren’t aware of that could help make your passion a reality.
So, for this Friday Favorites post, I thought I’d share a little more about some of my favorite local organizations, booksellers, and people that have made my writing career (SQUEEEEE! I get to say career now 🙂 ) possible. My hope is that perhaps after seeing so many great resources available in my local area, maybe you’ll be inspired to seek out opportunities in your own town!
My publishers are definitely at the top of this list. Big shock, I know. I love the fact that RiverPlace is right in Minnesota, and is run by two of the best people in the world. Because RiverPlace is a local press, I was able to really form relationships with Chip and Jean, and had a lot of say in the design elements of the novel as well as the editing process (something that does not often happen in the publishing world). Seven Stones was truly a team effort, and the support I continue to get from RiverPlace is unheard of.
Smaller, independent publishing houses and presses produce quality books and promote local artists. If you search for publishing options in your area, you might be pleasantly surprised!
Blue Cottage Agency
Needless to say, I am a huge fan of Krista and her team! She is helping me promote myself better and reach a wider audience. Usually when you think of “agents” or “publicists” you may imagine they all work in swanky skyscrapers in New York City and are far too busy and important to see you. Krista does have a pretty swanky office, but she represents Minnesota authors right from downtown Brainerd. And she is completely 100% fabulous.
I could spend hours in a book store–just ask my husband. Local book stores have always been favorites because they each have their own feel and often carry books you can’t find anywhere else. I am proud to say that MY book is on the shelves of several local book stores in Bemidji, with more to come thanks to Krista! Since early March, I started contacting the independent booksellers in town and they have been awesome! If you want to support your local economy, independently owned businesses are the way to do it. Thanks to Big River Scoop, Kat’s Book Nook, Harmony Co-Op, Accidentally Cool Games, and Book World for supporting Seven Stones!
Region 2 Arts Council
I think I made it pretty clear with the last few posts how much I appreciate the Region 2 Arts Council. 🙂 The fact that they offer grants that open doors for local artists is huge. The crazy thing is that I never really knew about any sort of art grants before moving to the area. I was applying for school scholarships at the time and thought maybe there were similar funds for writing. I asked the reference librarian at my local library about art grants, and she directed me to the Arts Council. If you have a project that is on hold due to lack of funds, check out what grants or artistic groups are available in your area.
YES! YOU ARE MY FAVORITE! None of this would be happening without you. By reading my blog, spending your hard earned money on my book, liking my posts on Facebook, you are supporting my dream of being an author. You seriously have no idea the power you have as a consumer, and by buying local you are using your powers for good. Thank you. I love you. 🙂
Book of the Week:
It has been a while since I’ve encountered a good writing guide, and I’ve heard some really great things about this one. Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer seems like it offers tips for writers of all levels. I’m personally looking for strategies on making and keeping writing schedules and always in search of inspiration. I plan on curling up on Saturday with this book, my big fluffy blanket, and a pot of Irish Breakfast tea.