A Day of Connecting and Recognizing Writers

Press release from Tori Bailey

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The Southern Pen Bookshop Hosted First Annual Writers Conference and Awards Banquet

(Monroe, Georgia -May 2019) The Southern Pen Bookshop hosted its first annual writers’ conference at the Monroe Community Building on Saturday – May 18th. The theme for the conference was connecting writers with their potential. Ed Grisamore and Lori Duff were the keynote speakers. Mr. Grisamore, the morning keynote speaker, shared his experiences of becoming a columnist and the wonderful life of being a writer. Lori Duff delivered the afternoon keynote address. Her topic focused on the legal side of writing.

Attendees were able to select from thirteen breakout sessions with topics ranging from how to develop character to the accounting side of writing. Many of the sessions were interactive, as well as, informative. The conference also included a Trade Show allowing attendees the opportunity to meet and speak with industry professionals. “With the ease of being able to self-publish many authors are now looking for a la carte services that are often provided by a traditional publishing house. Services such as: interior formatting, editing services, cover design, and marketing services. This is why the decision to add a trade show to our conference was made.” Vickie Bley, the owner of The Southern Pen Bookshop, continued to express the concept of a trade show is not one often seen at a writer’s conference. “Several of our trade show vendors provided one-on-one critique sessions with attendees who wanted professional feedback on their works.”

The conference concluded with a social hour hosted by the Walton Writers Group at the Monroe Walton Center for the Arts. While attendees were enjoying the creative atmosphere of the art center the Monroe Community Building was being prepared to host the first annual Georgia Independent Author of the Year Awards Banquet. Submissions for the awards were opened last fall to Georgia independent and self-published authors. “The decision for the bookshop to host and recognize this group of authors was made in reaction to this group being excluded from another Georgia writers award.” Vickie, an independent author who writes under the name of Tori Bailey, felt that to exclude these talented writers because of how they chose to publish their works was a discredit that needed a response.

Ten awards were presented for the categories of: Children’s Book, Historical Fiction, Romance, Inspirational/Memoir, and Specialty Photography. Each category recognized a first-place winner and finalist. One Honorable Mention was given for the Historical Fiction category.

“The feedback from those who attended the conference has been filled with positive comments. Several of our presenters and keynote speakers expressed they look forward to participating in next year’s conference. To be able to take a simple idea, nurture it, and watch the responses from those who enjoy the benefits is an honor and privilege.” Vickie has begun planning for the next conference to be held March 2020 at the same venue. “The Southern Pen Bookshop is proud to be a part of bringing people to Monroe and sharing our beautiful town with them.”

The Southern Pen Bookshop is located inside the Monroe Mercantile in downtown Monroe. They feature titles by independent and self-published authors and carry many genres. TheSouthernPenBookshop.com

If you would like more information about this topic please contact Vickie Bley 706-318-7752 or via email thesouthernpenbookshop@gmail.com

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