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Stet | January 2016

30 Dec 2015 5:30 AM | Roger Rueff (Administrator)
Stet Newsletter
January 2016

Volume 35 | Number 1

Editor's Note

Stet Editor Cynthia TomusiakCynthia Tomusiak

We have a new format for the newsletter! The board and I are very excited to present a newsletter that will be available in multiple formats for your viewing and reading pleasure—online, mobile, email. Wherever you are and whatever device you are using to read the newsletter—you will be able to do so.

The new Stet format is completely searchable on the website.

The new version of the newsletter will be searchable by topics, authors, subjects, and keywords. So when you contribute an article, it can be found. If you want to go back to it or the newsletter, you can. All newsletters will continue to be archived on the IWOC website.

The deadline for submission of articles, columns or features is the 15th of month prior to publication. We will publish the newsletter on the first of the month. This publication date should give readers enough time to see it before the monthly meeting. It should also give writers enough time for submission.

If you want to see something in Stet, just let us know.

We plan to keep all of these previous features: the monthly meeting recap, the president’s column, information for the next meeting. If there are other items you would like to see in the newsletter, please let us know.

We also plan to publish every month of the year... starting in 2016 of course. I think the previous meeting recaps and the announcement of the speaker or events for the next meeting are an important part the information the newsletter offers. I want to make that available to you every month of the year. Of course, the board will be opening up both the Stet editor and membership manager positions for people who want to fill them long-term so watch for the announcement in early spring. (For more information, please see the President’s Column, below.) But I am looking forward to the next few months as the editor of Stet.

- Cynthia Tomusiak

January Meeting Preview

How to Write, Publish, and Market Your Book!

Image courtesy adamr at

So you want to write a book?! On January 12th, two experienced book-publishing experts will discuss the specific steps that new (or old) authors must take to succeed. They will be offering a “one-two-three” type approach with practical advice that works! They will cover the entire process, beginning with the initial creative idea for your book and working all the way to its eventual sale. In today’s competitive marketplace, the experience and advice that will be offered will be priceless.

In today's marketplace, the advice of experienced professionals is priceless.

Based on their real-world publishing experience, two seasoned and professional IWOC veterans—James Kepler and Kim Bookless—will address the two major publishing strategies to consider today, including traditional royalty publishing and self-publishing. In their co-presentation, Kepler will discuss the pros and cons of traditional royalty publishing, while Bookless will delve into the advantages and weakness of self-publishing. There also will be an interactive Q&A session, discussing the respective benefits and challenges of each strategy.

Kim Bookless

Kim Bookless is a publishing consultant and editor. She helps authors bring their books to life by guiding them through the self-publishing process, serving as their advisor, advocate, and project manager. She is President of Chicago Women in Publishing (CWIP) and Founder of the Chicago Self-Publishing Group. Connect with Kim at or

Jim Kepler

Jim Kepler is the principal of Adams Press. The company's current web site says: "For more than half a century Adams Press has helped authors self-publish their books. Founded in 1942, Adams Press produces professionally printed books at a reasonable cost for authors, poets, educators, professionals, clergy, and others who choose to publish their own work." The author of several books himself, Kepler has also been a professional writer for many years, based in the Chicago area. He has been active in various writers' organizations, including IWOC, where he has served in several key capacities including as that organization's President.

- Tom Lanning

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November Meeting Recap

Videographer Tom McCosky Shares Insights

Tom McCosky

Stewart Truelsen introduced our November speaker stating that we should all think about becoming writer-producers. In his experience, he has found that it usually involves more travel and more pay. The tools we need, we already have—the ability to interview and to tell stories. Then, hire someone like Tom McCosky (the speaker) to shoot the video.

Tom has shot videos on just about everything, from farms to Broadway plays. His work has taken him around the world to interview celebrities and CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies. Tom has seen many changes in video production over the years, but understanding the client’s needs, expectations and budget have not changed! You have to spend some time with the client to understand what they want from the production. They may start with a script idea, get or have a written script and have the video shot and then edited.

Tom has shot videos on just about everything, from farms to Broadway plays.

More often than not, Tom has found that the clients have him shoot video based on an idea and then have the script written to fit the idea and the captured images. This may lead to “happy accidents” of have shots that you might not have gotten sticking to a pre-written script but overall Tom finds this method can cause consistency problems with the video.

Tom usually comes in after pre-production has been done. He goes on location and may hire extra crew but brings his equipment. The minimum crew needed to shoot a video is a producer, cameraman (Tom) and sound person. A lighting person would be nice as well.

If he does not have the right or enough equipment, he will rent it. In 2015, he used 32 different cameras ranging from highly professional all the way down to a windows phone. In fact, the images do not have to be top quality.

Understanding the client’s needs, expectations, and budget is paramount.

Sometimes a client wants a video that looks homemade. However, sound quality is key. No matter the picture quality, the sound has to be excellent. The equipment helps link the visuals with the sound. There is a time code generated by camera and the audio. It gives you the hour/minute/second and a frame number. You can link multiple cameras and to one code for easy of post production work including editing.

When asked what costs and fees are, he responded that it really depends on the project and size of the crew. He usually gets paid for the day and it is a 10-hour day. The day rates can range from $500–$10,000/day for the crew and equipment.

IWOC Members:
Click here to access the meeting podcast!

His work can be found in many places, multi channel and outlet, Facebook, Instagram, Vine, YouTube, Vimeo and web-site pages. Video tends to work across all types of media so there are not many changes needed for different outlets.

If you want to do it yourself, he said there are many cameras available that are both good and reasonably priced. He gave some tips on how to to shoot your own video: Do not shoot into a window or against a white wall. Look for a neutral color, gray is best. Get the camera as close as possible to the subject without distortion. Get good clean audio (if you cannot hear what they are saying it does not matter what they look like). Do not shoot outdoors (if possible) with live audio–you cannot control sound and other things such as sirens, birds or honking horns. The subject or interviewee can look directly at the camera or, if it is more of a “60 minutes” style, not.

The podcast of Tom's presentation is available to IWOC members on this website. His Web presence is here: And he can be reached via email at

- Cynthia Tomusiak

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President's Column

The New-and-Improved Stet Format

David Steinkraus

As you know, Joen Kinnan recently decided to resign as Stet’s editor and membership manager, and to leave IWOC. She gave our organization many years of outstanding service in a variety of jobs, and we know you will join us in thanking her for all that hard work.

After a discussion, the Board of Directors appointed Cynthia Tomusiak as interim editor of Stet and Roger Rueff as interim membership manager. Both appointments will last for five months. This period will allow time to establish procedures so Stet can be assembled on time and without strain.

What you see before you is the new Stet, a publication that provides more flexibility and ease of use, requires less time and effort for production, and perhaps will give a little boost to your business profile.

The new format is flexible, easier to produce, mobile-ready, and Web-searchable.

This email newsletter format can be read as it is on your computer screen, no waiting for a web page to load, no need to download a separate file. Or you can print out Stet, or you can read it on a smartphone or tablet as many people already read other publications.

Each issue of Stet will also be available on our website and searchable from the search box on the left side of the IWOC web pages, so if you can’t remember when something was in Stet, just type a keyword or two into the search box. And because Stet will be archived in a blog format, it will also be open to search engines such as Google, so anything in Stet that mentions you—a presentation you give, a column you write, a meeting recap you write, or your bit of member news—will be found by people outside IWOC. The blog format also allows IWOC members to post comments on any issue.

IWOC members can now post comments on any issue of Stet.

On the production end we now have a publication that can be created without the need for expertise in pagination software such as InDesign or in Web-design software. Because these skills are not common, relying on them to produce Stet means the newsletter can be sidelined by someone’s illness or personal disaster. The email format, combined with the procedures that will be established, will allow anyone in exigency to keep the newsletter in production.

In a few months we will open the Stet editor and membership manager positions for people who want to fill them long-term. The editor will be responsible for gathering content and assembling each issue. The membership manager takes care of our member database: watches renewals and payments, edits records as needed, approves new members, maintains the list of contacts, answers questions, and so on. Because these duties require consistent blocks of time there is compensation: $250 per month for the Stet editor and $150 per month for the membership manager. Keep this in mind, and if you’re interested in doing either of these jobs, watch for the announcement of openings in early spring.

IWOC and Stet will be stronger with contributions from everyone.

Please bear with us during the transition. Everyone hopes for an uneventful shift to a new production process, but experience shows there may be rough spots. As we go through this, please do not hesitate to offer your suggestions and contributions. If there is something you would like to see in Stet, tell us. And if you have always cherished a secret desire to write a column, let that desire flower in Stet. Both IWOC and Stet will be stronger with contributions from everyone.

That point about contributions and group effort brings me to my last point. You may know that we have a separate Program Committee responsible for arranging the informative meetings available to you every month. For this year, instead of filling the calendar a few months at a time, the committee brainstormed all the topics. I won’t say the focus for each month is firm—especially since I don’t have anything to do with it—but here is a taste of what to expect: February, freelance writing for the media; March, taxes, accounting, and making a profit; May, marketing and business strategies; June, how freelancing can help you in other careers; September, niche-based strategies. Compliments go to Sally Chapralis, Vladimire Herard, Tom Lanning, and Stu Truelson for taking this task and, as they say, crushing it.

- David Steinkraus

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IWOC Holiday Party 2015

Fun, Food, and Fellowship at Star of Siam

Betsy and Roger yodeling or surprised?

The IWOC Holiday Party was held at Star of Siam on December 8th, 2015. Everyone in attendance had a great time! The food was very good and so was the service! Many thanks to Laura Stigler for taking the time to set up the party and ensuring that a good meal and a good time was had by all.

The evening began with some beverages and conversation. Catching up with old friends, making new ones and mugging for random photos. Dinner was served family style with plenty of good food. Santa’s elves brought presents for everyone, and the annual book exchange provided new reads to everyone, as well.

If you were unable to attend this year, make plans now to join us next year!

- Cynthia Tomusiak

Karleen, Brent, Roger, and George hold a serious holiday confab
Karen and Vladimire evoke an Ingmar Bergman film
Sally and Karen mug shamelessly for the camera
Joyous holiday trouble a-brewin'
Betsy, Laura, and Jeff beam with the glow of holiday IWOC-ness

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Game Night and Pizza Party!

What's the Word, Hummingbird?

More than good friends and good food came out of this year’s IWOC holiday party! While people were toasting and chatting an idea was formed: Why not get together after the holidays? And why not have a little competition, with words?

And voila! Here it comes—a post-holiday season word-game and social for IWOC members courtesy of Betsy Storm.

The games will take place on Friday, January 15th, starting at 6:00 p.m. at Betsy's condo in Chicago. Betsy will have  salad and pizza ready, but you're on your own for drinks of any kind (B.Y.O.B.).

Join us for some after-holiday fun!

The cost is a mere $10, to cover the food, and we'll need an accurate head count, so if you're planning on coming, make sure to register online (no walk-ins, please).

And be prepared for revelry and rivalry on a battlefield strewn with words!

- Cynthia Tomusiak

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