Thursday, November 6, 2014

Beginning Writing for Publication with Mary Potter Kenyon

Mary Potter Kenyon graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with a B.A. in Psychology. She lives in Manchester, Iowa, and is the Director of the Winthrop Public library. Her writing has been widely published in magazines, newspapers and anthologies. She has had several books published, including Coupon Crazy: The Science, the Savings and the Stories Behind America’s Extreme Obsession, which she wrote during a past NaNoWriMo. More information can be found on her website:

She is presenting a two-part workshop at Carnegie-Stout Public Library for NaNoWriMo with helpful tips on how to prepare your writing for publication and navigate the world of publishing. The next session will be on Monday, November 17th at 6:30 p.m. If you missed the first session, we’ve put together a brief summary of her presentation for you!

Beginning Writing for Publication with Mary Potter Kenyon
Carnegie-Stout Public Library, November 3rd, 2014

Before You Write
  • Why do you want to write?
  • What interests you about writing?
  • What type or types of writing could you imagine yourself doing?
Ms. Kenyon also broke down the familiar advice to “write what you know” into a few categories for easier brainstorming:
  • Relatable life events: life experiences many people share
  • Less relatable/common life events: life experiences unique to you
  • Your passions
  • Your passionate dislikes
  • Learning opportunities: situations that gave you an opportunity for growth and understanding
Advice for Writers and Wrimos
  • The first paragraph of your writing  should catch your readers’ interest and grab their attention, which is described as the “hook” in writing terms.
  • Consider your audience how can you shape your story to their taste and interests? Reading the sorts of things you want to write will help you to learn about your reading audience.
  • If you plan to submit a piece of your writing for publication be sure to follow the submission guidelines exactly!
  • Write every day. It takes time to hone your craft. Bring a notepad with you everywhere you go to take advantage of every free moment. Keep a notebook by your bed. With practice, your skills will inevitably improve.
  • Learn to revise. Remember that you can’t edit nothing. Get something down on paper. That is one of the main objectives in participating in NaNoWriMo. You have to write a first draft before you can polish a final draft. Don’t get too attached to your first draft. After editing it will probably look very different.
  • If you have an emotional reaction as you write, that is a good sign that your readers will too.
  • Be stubborn. Be determined.
Build Your Platform
  • Make yourself and your writing visible. Writing shorter pieces for magazines, anthologies, newspapers, and newsletters is a great starting point with a lower time commitment than a full manuscript.
  • Build your reputation: demonstrate your skills, abilities, and that there is an audience for what you create.
  • Even if it’s a small piece, having your name in print can be a real confidence boost.
  • Have a social media presence.
  • Be persistent the only way to avoid rejection is to never send anything out. Rejection doesn’t mean your writing is horrible, it just means it isn’t what that publisher was looking for. Remember it is their opinion, but your story.
  • Writing is a craft, but publishing is a business. Know how to pitch your work: can you describe it in 2-4 sentences? Do you have your hook? Convey your enthusiasm about your topic or story!
Ms. Kenyon’s next session on Monday, November 17th will cover the nuts and bolts of approaching agents and publishers, including information on query letters, the basics of a book proposal, and information on marketing and promotion. She will provide concrete examples of a book proposal and a marketing sheet her publisher uses, and tips on how to utilize social media as an author.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Magazines of the Month

Our November magazines of the month are Aviation Week and Space Technology and Adoptive Families. November is both Aviation History Month and national Adoption Awareness Month. We've put together a display of materials related to aviation and adoption on the 2nd floor of the library for you to browse. You can check out print copies of both magazines from our collection, or a digital copy of Aviation Week from our Zinio collection.

You can also learn more about each magazine, and explore online exclusives through their websites.

Aviation Week and Space


Monday, October 13, 2014

What's your next read?

Like most people, staff at Carnegie-Stout enjoy taking the occasional online quiz that promises to tell us which Game of Thrones character we're most like or whether or not we'd survive in The Hunger Games. Then we thought, why not make our own book quiz? So we made two!

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Pete Seeger Primer

When I hear the name Pete Seeger, my first thought is of his song “Where have all the flowers gone?”  My high school German class sang the song “auf Deutsch”, and those lyrics still reverberate through my memory, although in Marlene Dietrich’s smoky version rather than the off-key sophomoric rendition from Herr Lange’s classroom.  I like Seeger’s music, but I didn’t know much about him as a person, other than he was controversial.  Then I listened to Jeff Haynes’ The Storm King.  I checked it out because it received an award for distinguished audio book achievement in 2014.  I was so intrigued with The Storm King that I watched Pete Seeger: The Power of Song and read Pete Seeger: In His Own Words and The Pete Seeger Reader.  If I only had a banjo, I’d check out How to Play the 5-String Banjo: a Manual for Beginners!

The Storm King was my favorite.  Music and story and memoir are twined together just as in Seeger’s actual life.  Listening to The Storm King is like sitting around a campfire on a crisp autumn evening with friends talking about life in word and song; tasty like ooey-gooey s’mores.

Pete Seeger died on January 27, 2014 at the age of 94.  You don’t have to agree with his politics to love his songs.  Honor his memory and enrich your life by listening to some of his music.  The Storm King is a great place to start.

~ Michelle, Adult Services

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October Magazines of the Month: Threads & TV Guide

Our October magazines of the month are Threads and TV Guide. Stop in to check out an issue!

Threads is a publication of Taunton Press, publisher of several craft, home, and garden publications. Threads is focused on sewing and fashion. You can find out more on their website:

TV Guide has been in publication since 1953, and offer coverage of television news and trends. You can find otu more on their website:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Staff Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

I thoroughly enjoyed The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. The story line is one of a young princess, Kelsea, who comes of age and then has to begin to rule her kingdom. The difficulty is that she has been in hiding since her infancy, and her dead mother left their kingdom weak and at the mercy of an evil “Red Queen.”

Kelsea must figure out how to gain the respect and loyalty of the people she rules over and face the Red Queen's anger when she decides to not honor the agreement made years earlier by her mother.

Besides the political challenges that Kelsea faces, there is also the challenge of realizing that she has some magic present in her life. She must figure out how to use this magic in positive ways without destroying herself or those around her.

Some of the story was a little awkward to follow, for example, the unexplained catastrophe that caused the previous world to end (comparable to present day Earth) leading the world in the book to be at a level similar to the Middle Ages and yet there are discussion of organ transplants and the development of drugs, such as heroin. Questions of what exactly happened are not answered and I just decided to “go with it.”

The characters are well developed and I was able to envision them all in my mind quite well. It was definitely a book that I rushed home to read each day!

~Jackie, Circulation