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"Before the Book: Getting Published, Getting Better, Building a Writing Community" with David Meischen

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St. Edward's University, Trustee Hall 303
3001 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704

8/30/2014 From 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM

We're sorry - online registration for this event is now closed. If you are interested in purchasing a ticket, please call our offices at 512-499-8914 before 12 noon on Friday, August 29. Thank you!

$49 for members (Please log in for member pricing)

$109 for nonmembers

Let’s admit it. As writers we dream big. Book, agent, contract, sales, fame—we want it all! The problem is that there are so many of us with big dreams, so many manuscripts vying for the attention of agents, editors, journals, websites, publishers. How to get their attention? How to increase your manuscript’s chances in today’s market?

The answer lies in baby steps toward your big dream. Discover how to get individual poems, stories, chapters into respectable publications, print and/or online. Develop and maintain a submissions system. Listen to what you hear from the editors who read your work. Adapt. Do the hard work of revision. Do your homework: research the market for your genre; read widely from journals and websites that publish poems, stories, chapters, excerpts. Discover and develop your own community of writers. Be systematic about honing your craft. There is no magic pill, but building a writing-publishing system can put you in touch with the audience every aspiring writer needs.

Note: This class keeps the work itself front and center. The focus is getting the work out there now, one step at a time—instead of waiting to some distant date when THE BOOK is done and a genie at hand to get it published.

The class will address two integrated approaches, as follows:

Developing a submissions system, a network of publications appropriate for your work

  • Information sources: Duotrope, CRWROPPS, Poets and Writers, and others
  • Tracking your submissions
  • Cover letter and bio.
  • Entry fees, contests, assessing publications in your genre
  • Keeping your work in the pipeline
  • Facing reality: Publishing is a crapshoot.

Strengthening your craft AND developing a community of writers

  • Reading in your genre
  • Readings, bookstores, events
  • Reading experts on craft / Doing exercises to improve craft
  • Writing workshops / seminars / camps / retreats / fellowships
  • Reading / revising yourself
  • Writing group(s) / writing partner(s): Skeptical attention / attentive skepticism
  • Developing / sustaining a routine that works for you
  • A few words about social media
  • A few words about self-publishing

About the instructor...  

David Meischen has been writing poetry and teaching the writing of poetry for thirty years. He has had poems in The Southern Review, Southern Poetry Review, Borderlands, Cider Press Review, and other journals, as well as Two Southwests (Virtual Artists Collective, 2008), which features poets from the Southwest of China and the United States. Meischen has participated in four collaborative poetry and art shows, most recently Ekphrasis: Sacred Stories of the Southwest (Phoenix, AZ, Obliq Art, 2014). Also a fiction writer, Meischen has recent stories in The Gettysburg Review, Bellingham Review, The Evansville Review, and elsewhere. Winner of the Writers’ League of Texas Manuscript Contest in Mainstream Fiction, 2011, and the Talking Writing Fiction Contest, 2012, he has finished a novel in stories and is currently seeking an agent. Meischen is a co-founder and Managing Editor of Dos Gatos Press; he lives in Austin, TX, with his husband—also his co-publisher and co-editor—Scott Wiggerman.

REGISTRATION BY MAIL: If your browser has difficulty with our website store, or if you prefer to mail in a check, click HERE for a class registration form. The document provides instructions on where to mail it.

NOTE: Tickets are not refundable, but they are transferable. If you purchase a ticket and then find you cannot attend, someone else can attend in your stead. Simply contact us at or 512-499-8914 and let us know so that we can update the class roster. For more information, visit our Classes page.


This project is funded and supported in part by the City of Austin through the Economic Growth & Redevelopment Services Office/Cultural Arts Division believing an investment in the Arts is an investment in Austin’s future. Visit Austin at


Writers' League of Texas classes and workshops are also funded in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts - Investing in a Creative Texas. For more information, go to


The Writers' League of Texas would like to thank St. Edward's University for its generous support and commitment to community, ongoing education, and the arts. Visit