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Weathering 2019-20 : The Year in Review - President’s Post by Laura Stigler

28 Aug 2020 3:47 PM | Cynthia Tomusiak (Administrator)

Well, the year sure started out good. But as we’re all well aware, the world took a drastic turn, as did many of our lives. As an organization, IWOC braced itself, faced the challenges swept in by COVID-19, and has been able to stay afloat and ride this wild wave. We plan to do so until we can safely be brought to shore and carry on as normally as we ever have.

Whether it was before, during and will be after the pandemic cloud passes, IWOC’s course has remained steady, mapping the ways for members to get more work, including offering programs and information to help them improve upon or learn new skills designed to increase their own marketability to potential clients. Without skipping a beat, we took our programs from the Gratz Center to Zoom, adapting to these unprecedented times with unprecedented programs to help buoy up members not only professionally, but personally. From the onset of the virus we also provided easy access to numerous links to resources so that our members can stay afloat financially. (These links remain posted on our General Resources page.)

To recap the year’s happenings:

The show must go on – even while sheltering in place!

Program Chair Jeff Steele and his stalwart Committee of Vladimire Herard and Betsy Storm have continued to bring in programs that both informed and entertained. Members who missed any can download the podcasts on our Member Resource page and relive such info- and advice-packed gems as: What They Wish They Knew Then, Life in the Freelance Lane, Tech Tools for Writers, Blogging for Bigger Bucks, Growing Your Business Through Podcasting, Building and Preserving Your Brand in COVID-19 Times, Business Survival Kit, The Bushido Code: 7 Simple Secrets to a Happier, Healthier Life, and Stay Current on Ever-Changing LinkedIn.

And now that we have a Zoom account, the program possibilities will be virtually endless.

Uniting with our long-lost sister, Independent Writers of Southern California

When IWOSC President Gary Young proposed an affiliation between IWOC and IWOSC, there was no hesitation. We said, “I do.” Since June, we’ve been opening up our programs to each other’s memberships, and it has enriched the offerings of both organizations. Thus far, we were able to sit in on – for free – four of IWOSC’s Zoom webinars: How to Write Query Letters & Proposals, The Art of the Personal Essay, Learn to Zoom and an Online Conversation with Distinguished Author T.C. Boyle.

There’s more to plan but all I can say is, the honeymoon is not over! We’ve only just begun.

Events of Interest. We’re not the only ones who put on outstanding programs. We also informed IWOC members about these world class events:

Promoting our members. Proud of their breaking news and accomplishments, horns were tooted for:

  • Alicia Dale’s appointment as a Book Reviewer by the Nonfiction Author’s Association
  • Tephra Miriam’s co-chairing of Organization Development’s Role in Building Racial Equity
  • Francesca Peppiatt’s winning the Edgewater People’s Choice Award for her one-person show, “Life and Times of a Hopeful Romantic”
  • Jeff Steele’s guest appearance on “HearSay with Cathy Lewis,” a radio talk show on NPR affiliate WHRV in Norfolk, VA
  • Tom Thorson’s release of his debut novel, Heirs Apparent, A Malcom Winters Mystery
  • David Anthony Witter’s publication of Oldest Chicago, Second Edition

Promoting our authors

Last Spring, we got wind of #IndieApril, a new Twitter trend that promoted independently published authors. What a great way to promote IWOC member authors! And so we did, spreading word amongst our 1000+ contacts via e-blasts and our social media platforms for: Cindy Bertram, Adela Crandell Durkee, Tephra Miriam, Kathryn Occhipinti, Karen Sandrick, Jennifer Worrell, and Joseph Wycoff.

Perks in the works:

  • 10% Referral Reward. New Board Member Anne Hagerty had a splendid idea: Reward members with a 10% discount on their next membership renewal when they bring in a new member. Bring in several members within a year? Get an additional 10% discount for each. Details have to be worked out, but it will be a fine way to act as “IWOC Ambassador,” where you can help fellow freelance writers discover and reap the benefits of IWOC, and be nicely rewarded in return.
  • Association of Publishers for Special Sales (www.bookapss.org) This promising perk was brought to our attention. We need to do a bit more research on it, but if IWOC signs on as a partner, our members get to join for a substantial discount, and get tons of perks in return – whether or not they are book authors. Check out what would be in it for you at http://pro.bookapss.org/join-application

Oh, what a year it was. Challenging for sure. But, also, pleasantly surprising in what we were able to accomplish, including establishing affiliations and technological skills that ended up expanding IWOC in unforeseen positive ways. We actually were able to safely navigate a sea of adversity. With a watchful eye on the horizon, we fully expect to be heading towards calmer waters and sunnier days.

Land ho!

- Laura Stigler

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