My Black History Story

 

Mary E. Knippel (past pres WNBA-SF) & Effie Lee Morris (Founding President WNBA-SF)

Mary E. Knippel (past pres WNBA-SF) & Effie Lee Morris (Founding President WNBA-SF)

The little lady who had the wisdom of the owls she loved to collect, as well as a heart full of the love of books, and readers of all ages…

In honor of Black History Month, I’d like to share the story of my history with a woman who cast a giant shadow but barely stood less than five feet tall. I proudly called her my teacher as well as my friend. She was also the reason this Minnesota-born Scandinavian had the privilege to give testimony at a Baptist gathering. And the first woman of color who had such a significant influence on me.

Effie Lee Morris was a visionary, advocate, author, San Francisco leader, and honored as a Living Legend by the California Library Association. “I am proudest to have been a librarian,” she said, “a librarian who has made a difference.” The first book she owned, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, launched her love of reading and planted the seeds of her career as a children’s librarian and children’s advocate.

Ms. Morris’s awards are numerous, but two that she was particularly proud of are the Silver Spur Award for Dedication to Enhancing the Quality of Life and Economic Vitality of San Francisco, and the Women’s National Book Association’s Award for Extraordinary Contribution to the World of Books.

The annual Effie Lee Morris Lecture Series lecture was created to salute Ms. Morris for her outstanding contributions to the San Francisco Public Library and the children of San Francisco by the WNBA-SF in 1996. The Children’s Historical and Research Collection was established in 1964 by Morris and officially renamed the Effie Lee Morris Historical and Research Collection of Children’s Literature in 1981. The collection was created as a research collection of outdated or out-of-print books deemed important to children’s literature and books containing ethnic stereotypes.

Little did I know as I sat taking notes at that WNBA-SF planning meeting which organized the first lecture in the series, that one day I’d be receiving phone calls from Effie Lee congratulating me on doing such a great job as WNBA-SF’s president, or passing along a suggestion about our next chapter meeting.

She passed away in 2009. She was our cheerleader, shining star and an amazing example to live life to the fullest every day. Her spirit continues to shine brightly with all of us who were touched by her deep abiding love of the written word and enthusiasm for everyone who participates in the passionate pursuit of just the right combination to create an engaging story.

Do you long to get started writing or sharing their love of books? Consider getting involved at your local library, or joining such organizations at Women’s National Book Assn-San Francisco Chapter (WNBA-SF) or the California Writers Club (CWC) who offer speakers and programs to help you unleash the writer in you. 

So, you wanna write…

San Francisco Writers Conference

Do you have dreams to write, and wonder what to do with them?

Here’s one that happened when I said “Yes” to my writing dreams.

I’m bracing for a fast and furious week (Feb. 16-19) at the 14th  San Francisco Writers Conference (SFWC).

I am thrilled to once again be supporting writers along their publishing path as the Independent Editor Coordinator. We assist participants signing up for a Free 8-minute consultations with Independent Editors during the conference (I am also one of the editors).

I’m going to take a minute here to share with you on my path…my evolution of participating at this prestigious event catering to everyone and everything in the publishing industry.

Once upon a time, my family moved to the beautiful San Mateo Coastside. I told someone I was a writer. I was introduced to the Andrea Brown, President of Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco chapter (WNBA-SF) and Linda Mead, Membership chair, who also lived on the Coastside.  They immediately took me under their wing and ferried me to monthly meetings in the City because I couldn’t imagine driving the streets of San Francisco yet. That’s where I met the founders of the SFWC, Elizabeth Pomada (past president of WNBA-SF) and Michael Larsen (programs chair).   

Over time, my confidence in my writing and my leadership skills grew with a lot of hard work and encouragement from my colleagues and friends in WNBA-SF. Teresa LeYung-Ryan, my colleague, friend and mentor, and I had the pleasure of co-presenting at SFWC for several years. I served as president of WNBA-SF and vice-president of the California Writers Club-Peninsula Branch. I sought out and won assignments as a writer for the monthly CoastViews Magazine. 

At the first SFWC, the job I felt qualified for at the event was…babysitting the purses in the volunteer lounge.

Yes, that’s all I felt I could handle because I didn’t feel ready to go for what I really wanted…to do what I’m doing now…helping other women tell their story, and shining the light so that they can see their gifts.

As you can tell from the list above, my expertise at the conference has evolved along with my confidence and skill-set. When my own editor suggested I help her at the conference as a “Book Doctor,” I jumped in because she’d be there too. When she was unable to continue with the conference, she recommended me for the job with a glowing endorsement.

I’m sharing where I started at the conference to help you see that if you keep showing up and moving forward that wonderful things may happen. 

If you stay in one place, nothing will happen.

Stop by the Garden Room during the SFWC and say Hi…or better yet…sign up for a free 8-minute consultation with an Independent Editor!

Show up and Shine!

Women’s Voices…

WNBA-SF.WomenIgntied!

WNBA-SF Experts Women ignited!, Authors and Poets: (l-r) Mary E. Knippel, Linda Lee, Catharine Bramkamp, Linda Joy Myers, Julia Park Tracey

Yesterday, I spent time with Women’s National Book Association colleagues and new friends at a fabulous special event featuring WNBA Experts, Authors and Poetry.

I was really excited at the prospect of presenting a five-minute talk (patterned after Ted Talks) entitled  “Women’s Voices.” I based my comments on the quote many of us have heard:

“The world will be saved by the Western woman.”

Dalai Lama

You and I are the Western Women he’s talking about who are called to save the world and I’m asking…where are you using your voice?

Born at this time and in this environment, you are positioned to affect change by being your authentic self and sharing your gifts with the world.

You don’t have to haul water from the river and walk for miles to your hut.

You don’t live in fear and have to cover your faces in public.

You have choices on how you live your life and the freedom to change your mind.

I’m not suggesting that you be the next Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Madame Curie, or don a cape and become a superwoman…

I am inviting you to be your authentic self, use your voice to save yourself first …then approach saving the world…going from making dinner to making a difference.

Start by listening to your own voice and your inner wisdom.

Acknowledge the women’s voices who have spoken truth into your life. Think about the women who influenced you, praised you, challenged you to push yourself to be the person you are born to be…they know your greatness even if you don’t.

Who are these women?

Perhaps …a family member, teacher, mentor, or someone in the public eye who you  have never met, but influenced you greatly.

Those women’s voices delivered powerful messages and motivated you in your thoughts and deeds.

Growing up on a Midwestern farm, I never envisioned that one of my mentors would be a feisty giant who probably stood less than 5 ft and didn’t weigh over 95 pounds soaking wet. Our beloved Effie Lee Morris is no longer with us, but I can clearly hear her voice imparting wisdom and cheering me on…”Mary, you are doing such a wonderful job as president of the WNBA-San Francisco chapter.”

Just one example of how one woman’s voice and influence. I’m sure you all have your own story.

Today, the internet is an easily accessible global platform to share your voice and your message around the world. You matter and your message matters. Your personal message has universal impact. No one can tell your story from your perspective. And someone is waiting to hear your story…it will change her life.

Speak up! Let your voice be heard because YOU are the Western Woman who is called to save the world.

 

 

[Speaker] Women Ignited – sponsored by The Women’s National Book Assn-San Francisco Chapter

sanfrancisco_150px

WOMEN IGNITED!
In the WORLD of the BOOK
A special event with WNBA-SF
Experts, Authors, and Poets
Sunday, April 3, 2016
1:303:30 pm
 
Register for this exciting event!
Register today and bring a friend for Free!
 
  You are invited to The Women’s National Book Assn-San Francisco Chapter (WNBA-SF)* own version of Ted Talks with WNBA-SF publishing experts. We are calling it Ignite!. Although shorter in length, our 5-minute version of the TED talks promises to deliver information and inspiration for all writers wherever you are on your writing journey.  
 
Additional Bonus:  learn more from the expert of your choice at one-on-one sessions after the talks.
 

Hear WNBA-SF Member Experts

 
      Catharine Bramkamp, author. Photo by Deanne Fitzmaurice

Catherine Brankamp

Social Media for Authors

 
      MaryEKnippel.headshot

Mary E. Knippel

Women’s Voices

 
      lindalee-small Linda Lee

Websites for Writers

 
      Linda-Joy-Myers-159x240

Linda Joy Myers

The Power of Your True Story

 
 
How could it get any better?
 
WNBA-SF Members AUTHOR SHOWCASE!
WNBA-SF Members will display and sell their books at genre tables that border the large and spacious room. Meet and greet authors of memoir, fiction, historical, mystery, teen and children’s books, as well as non-fiction. Author prizes!
 
 
But there’s more…
 
 
POETRY READINGS from member poets to begin and end the program to celebrate the poetry month of April, featuring Julia Park Tracey, Alameda Poet Laureate. 
 
 
Join us at the Rathskeller–enjoy the value of WNBA!

  Register today!

Alameda Elks Lodge, Rathskeller
A charming historic building,
“The Liveliest Lodge in Elkdom”
2255 Santa Clara Ave,
Alameda, CA 94501
$35 – WNBA Members
$45 – Non-members
Includes snacks, desserts, and refreshing drinks. Free parking.
 
*The Women’s National Book Association was established in 1917..long before the basketball association. In a time before women were allowed to vote, a group of women, who were refused admittance to the publishing establishments on the East Coast of the United States, formed their own collaborative association devoted to everything associated with books. The San Francisco Chapter was established in 1968. Members include authors, indexers, librarians, editors, graphic designers, researchers, publishers, and more. With chapters across the nation, this non-profit organization is an advocate for literacy around the world and a non-voting member of the United Nations.

My Black History story

Mary E. Knippel (past pres WNBA-SF) & Effie Lee Morris (Founding President WNBA-SF)

Mary E. Knippel (past pres WNBA-SF) & Effie Lee Morris (Founding President WNBA-SF)

The little lady who had the wisdom of the owls she loved to collect, as well as a heart full of love of books, and readers of all ages…

In honor of Black History Month, I’d like to share the story of my history with a woman who cast a giant shadow, but barely stood less than five feet tall. I proudly called her my teacher as well as my friend. She was also the reason this Minnesota born Scandinavian had the privilege to give testimony at a Baptist gathering. And the first woman of color who had such a significant influence on me.

Effie Lee Morris was a visionary, advocate, author, San Francisco leader, and honored as a Living Legend by the California Library Association. “I am proudest to have been a librarian,” she said, “a librarian who has made a difference.” Her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, launched not only her love of reading but also her career as a children’s librarian and children’s advocate.

Work as a part-time library assistant in the Cleveland Public Library led to her first degree from Mather College in 1945 and her master’s degree in library science in 1956. She was the first children’s specialist at the Library for the Blind in the New York Public Library. She was the first children’s librarian and first African American president of the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association. She was the first coordinator of children’s services in the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL).

Ms. Morris’s awards were numerous, but she was particularly proud of  the Silver Spur Award for Dedication to Enhancing the Quality of Life and Economic Vitality of San Francisco, and the Women’s National Book Association’s Award for Extraordinary Contribution to the World of Books.

The annual Effie Lee Morris Lecture Series lecture was created to salute Ms. Morris for her outstanding contributions to the San Francisco Public Library and the children of San Francisco by the WNBA-SF in 1996. The Children’s Historical and Research Collection was established in 1964 by Morris and officially renamed the Effie Lee Morris Historical and Research Collection of Children’s Literature in 1981. The collection was created as a research collection of out dated or out-of-print books deemed important to children’s literature and books containing ethnic stereotypes.

Mark your calendar! The 20th Anniversary of the Effie Lee Morris Children’s Lecture Series is happening May 31, 6-8 p.m. at the Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Main Library. The featured speaker is Christian Robinson, winner of the 2016 Newbery Award and Caldecott Honor awardee. This event is FREE and open to the public!

Little did I know as I sat taking notes at that WNBA-SF planning meeting which organized the first lecture in the series, that one day I’d be receiving phone calls from Effie Lee congratulating me on doing such a great job as president, or passing along suggestions about our next chapter events.

She passed away in 2009. She was our cheerleader, shining star and an amazing example to live life to the fullest every day. Her spirit continues to shine brightly with all of us who were touched by her deep abiding love of the written word and enthusiasm for everyone who participate in the passionate pursuit of just the right combination to create an engaging story.

Do you long to get started writing or sharing your love of books? Consider getting involved at your local library, or joining such organizations at Women’s National Book Assn-San Francisco Chapter (WNBA-SF) or the California Writers Club (CWC) who offer speakers and programs to help you unleash the writer in you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happening this week…

San Francisco Writers ConferenceDo you ever look at your life and wonder…how did I get here?

This week I’m bracing for a fast and furious week (Feb. 11-15) at the 13th  San Francisco Writers Conference (SFWC).

I am thrilled to once again be supporting writers along their publishing path…

  • Independent Editor Coordinator:   Assist participants signing up for a Free 8-minute consultations with Independent Editors during the conference (I am also one of the editors)
  • Panel Facilitator & Participant:  Making Your Work Rejection Proof – Advice from Freelance Editors on Thurs., 2/11 at 3 p.m.
  • Panel Facilitator:  Finding and Working with the Freelance Editor for You on Sat., 2/13 at 3 p.m.

I’m going to take a minute here to share with you my path…my evolution of participating at this prestigious event catering to everyone and everything in the publishing industry.

Once upon a time, my family moved to the beautiful San Mateo Coastside. I told someone I was a writer. I was introduced to the Andrea Brown, President ofWomen’s National Book Association-San Francisco chapter (WNBA-SF) and Linda Mead, Membership chair , who also lived on the Coastside.  They immediately took me under their wing and ferried me to monthly meetings in the City because I couldn’t imagine driving the streets of San Francisco yet. That’s where I met the founders of the SFWC, Elizabeth Pomada (past president of WNBA-SF) and Michael Larsen (programs chair).   

Over time, my confidence in my writing and my leadership skills grew with a lot of hard work and encouragement from my colleagues and friends in WNBA-SF. Teresa LeYung-Ryan, my colleague, friend and mentor, and I had the pleasure of co-presenting at SFWC for several years. I served as president of WNBA-SF and vice-president of the California Writers Club-Peninsula Branch. I sought out and won assignments as a writer for the monthly CoastViews Magazine. 

At the first SFWC, the job I felt qualified for at the event was…babysitting the purses in the volunteer lounge.

Yes, that’s all I felt I could handle because I didn’t feel ready to go for what I really wanted…to do what I’m doing now…helping other women tell their story, and shining the light so that they can see their gifts.

As you can tell from the list above, my expertise at the conference has evolved along with my confidence and skill-set. When my own editor suggested I help her at the conference as a “Book Doctor,” I jumped in because she’d be there too. When she was unable to continue with the conference, she recommended me for the job with a glowing endorsement.

I’m sharing where I started at the conference to help you see that if you keep showing up and moving forward that wonderful things may happen. 

If you stay in one place, nothing will happen.

Stop by the Garden Room during the SFWC and say Hi…or better yet…sign up for a free 8-minute consultation with an Independent Editor!

Show up and Shine!

Pitch your writing project to an agent/acquisition editor…

Mary E Knippel coaching attendees at WNBA-SF Meet the Agents March 26 event - photo by Mary Jo McConahay

Mary E. Knippel coaching WNBA-SF Pitch-O-Rama attendees

Attention Bay Area Writers:  Do you have a manuscript you’d like to get in front of an Agent or Acquisitions Editor? Usually, talking with a literary professional means spending hundreds of dollars by attending a writing conference which often involves traveling great distances…but you are in luck! The Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter has designed a special event to bring you and your project together with the professionals you need to know on your journey to publication. 

WNBA-SF is hosting the 12th Annual Pitch-O-Rama (aka Meet-the-Agents & Acquisitions Editors Event) in San Francisco (Women’s Bldg, 3543 18th St.) on Saturday, March 28, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Feeling a little nervous about talking about your project? We realize this can be a little overwhelming. Writing is a solitary venture…talking about the work is something entirely different! We’ve got you covered…

WNBA-SF members will be on hand to prep attendees on how to best use this rare opportunity of a face-to-face meeting with an agent/acquisitions editor.

Study the list of literary professionals you have the opportunity to speak to during the event. Prioritize your top picks so that you make the best use of your time.

Just a few words to remember:

  1. Tell a good story. Talk about your project with enthusiasm, focus, and heart. Keep it short – you only have three minutes…concentrate on the best bits.
  2. Be a good listener. The agents/acquisition editors are there to find great stuff. Your work may only need a few adjustments to be just what they are looking for.
  3. Be yourself! Relax and have fun! This is an amazing opportunity to network with other writers and learn about their writing process.

Celebrating Black History Month…loving the legend Effie Lee Morris

Mary E. Knippel (past pres WNBA-SF) & Effie Lee Morris (Founding President WNBA-SF)

Mary E. Knippel (past pres WNBA-SF) & Effie Lee Morris (Founding President WNBA-SF)

The little lady who had the wisdom of the owls she loved to collect, as well as a heart full of love of books, and readers of all ages…

In honor of Black History Month, I’d like to share the story of my history with a woman who cast a giant shadow, but barely stood less than five feet tall. I proudly called her my teacher as well as my friend. She was also the reason this Minnesota born Scandinavian had the privilege to give testimony at a Baptist gathering. And the first woman of color who had such a significant influence on me.

Effie Lee Morris was a visionary, advocate, author, San Francisco leader, and honored as a Living Legend by the California Library Association. “I am proudest to have been a librarian,” she said, “a librarian who has made a difference.” Her first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, launched not only her love of reading but also her career as a children’s librarian and children’s advocate.

Work as a part-time library assistant in the Cleveland Public Library led to her first degree from Mather College in 1945 and her masters in library science in 1956. She was the first children’s specialist at the Library for the Blind in the New York Public Library. She was the first children’s librarian and first African American president of the Public Library Association, a division of the American Library Association. She was the first coordinator of children’s services in the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL).

Ms. Morris’s awards are numerous, but two that she was particularly proud of are the Silver Spur Award for Dedication to Enhancing the Quality of Life and Economic Vitality of San Francisco, and the Women’s National Book Association’s Award for Extraordinary Contribution to the World of Books.

The annual Effie Lee Morris Lecture Series lecture was created to salute Ms. Morris for her outstanding contributions to the San Francisco Public Library and the children of San Francisco by the WNBA-SF in 1996. The Children’s Historical and Research Collection was established in 1964 by Morris and officially renamed the Effie Lee Morris Historical and Research Collection of Children’s Literature in 1981. The collection was created as a research collection of out dated or out-of-print books deemed important to children’s literature and books containing ethnic stereotypes.

Little did I know as I sat taking notes at that WNBA-SF planning meeting which organized the first lecture in the series, that one day I’d be receiving phone calls from Effie Lee congratulating me on doing such a great job as president, or passing along a suggestion about our next chapter meeting.

She passed away in 2009. She was our cheerleader, shining star and an amazing example to live life to the fullest every day. Her spirit continues to shine brightly with all of us who were touched by her deep abiding love of the written word and enthusiasm for everyone who participate in the passionate pursuit of just the right combination to create an engaging story.

Do you long to get started writing or sharing their love of books? Consider getting involved at your local library, or joining such organizations at Women’s National Book Assn-San Francisco Chapter (WNBA-SF) or the California Writers Club (CWC)who offer speakers and programs to help you unleash the writer in you.

By the way, I’ll be speaking on “The 15-Minute Fix” at the CWC Peninsula Branch  on March 21 at 10 a.m. at the Belmont Library. If you’ve ever struggled with a blank page or felt mocked by a blinking cursor, you don’t want to miss this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Writer’s path…

Elizabeth Pomada (l) co-founder of San Francisco Writers Conference and Mary E. Knippel

Elizabeth Pomada (l) co-founder of San Francisco Writers Conference and Mary E. Knippel

Have you ever looked around at your life and wondered…how did I get here?

This week I’m bracing for a fast and furious week (Feb. 12-16) at the San Francisco Writers Conference (SFWC). I will be helping out in various capacities:

  • Independent Editor Coordinator:   Assist participants signing up for a Free 8-minute consultations with Independent Editors during the conference (I am also one of the editors)
  • Panel Facilitator & Participant:  Making Your Work Rejection Proof – Advice from Freelance Editors on Thurs., 2/12 at 4:45 p.m.
  • Panel Facilitator:  Finding and Working with the Freelance Editor for You on Sun. at 11 a.m.

I’m going to take a minute to share with you my path…my evolution of participating at this prestigious event catering to everyone and everything in the publishing industry.

Once upon a time, my family moved to the beautiful San Mateo Coastside. I told someone I was a writer. I was introduced to the Andrea Brown, President ofWomen’s National Book Association-San Francisco chapter (WNBA-SF) and Linda Mead, Membership chair , who also lived on the Coastside.  They immediately took me under their wing and ferried me to monthly meetings in the City because I couldn’t imagine driving the streets of San Francisco yet. That’s where I met the founders of the SFWC, Elizabeth Pomada (past president of WNBA-SF) and Michael Larsen (programs chair).   

Over time, my confidence in my writing and my leadership skills grew with a lot of hard work and encouragement from my colleagues and friends in WNBA-SF. I served as president of WNBA-SF and vice-president of the California Writers Club-Peninsula Branch. I sought out and won assignments as a free-lance editor for the monthly CoastViews Magazine. 

At the first SFWC, the job I felt qualified for at the event was…babysitting the purses in the volunteer lounge.

Yes, that’s all I felt I could handle because I didn’t feel ready to go for what I really wanted…to do what I’m doing now…helping other women tell their story, and shining the light so that they can see their gifts.

As you can tell from the list above, my expertise at the conference has evolved along with my confidence and skill-set. When my own editor suggested I help her at the conference as a “Book Doctor,” I jumped in because she’d be there too. When she was unable to continue with the conference, she recommended me for the job with a glowing endorsement.

I’m sharing where I started at the conference to help you see that if you keep showing up and moving forward wonderful things will happen. 

If you stay in one place, nothing will happen.

Stop by the Garden Room during the SFWC and say Hi…or better yet…sign up for a free 8-minute consultation with an Independent Editor!

Show up and Shine!

I just wanted to say something…

WNBA-SF "Womens Fiction" panel

WNBA-SF Womens Fiction panel, 3-29-14: (l-r) Marsha Toy Engstrom, Rayme Waters and Anita Amirrezvani

I just wanted to say…Congratulations to everyone connected to another successful Meet the Agents, Editors, and Publishing Consultants WNBA-SF* Event!

WNBA-SF’s  Annual Pitch-O-Rama gave Women’s History Month a grand send off and even took place in the historic Women’s Building in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District.

This event is a rare opportunity to pitch to some of the best publishing professionals in an intimate, informal setting. The rom was buzzing with lots of energy as aspiring authors sought the advice and encouragement from industry professionals. WNBA-SF has witnessed the launching of many writing careers from conversations started at this event.

Immediately following our two-hour pitch session was a panel discussion with audience participation on the topic of Categorizing “Women’s” Fiction:  Helpful or Hurtful?  Women’s fiction…not simply books written by women…books that get into a female character’s head and heart! Directly focusing on what gets into a woman’s head about what’s going on in her life, and delving deeply into her relationships and her emotions. The panel was  moderated by WNBA-SF member/author Rayme Waters, with Book Club expert and blogger, Marsha Toy Engstrom, and acclaimed historical fiction author, Anita Amirrezvani.

I have to say in full disclosure that I have been a member of this national organization for almost as long as I’ve been a resident of California. It has been a source of encouragement, inspiration, friendship and support on my journey as a writer. I would encourage anyone who is interested in writing and reading to consider joining today. And if there isn’t a a chapter near you…become a Network member with the many on-line benefits.  


The Women’s National Book Association, established in 1917, before women in America even had the right to vote. WNBA is a vibrant national organization. There are chapters with individual Active Members in ten cities, individual Network Members across the country, numerous corporate Sustaining Members, and chapter Honorary Members in the world of books and beyond. WNBA is a broad-based non-profit organization with some 800 members across the country, three distinguished national awards, and a history of lively events in chapter cities and elsewhere.

 

 

Wanna Pitch your writing project to an agent/acquisitions editor?

Mary E Knippel coaching attendees at WNBA-SF Meet the Agents March 26 event - photo by Mary Jo McConahay

Mary E. Knippel coaching WNBA-SF Pitch-O-Rama attendees

Attention Bay Area Writers:  Do you have a manuscript you’d like to get in front of an Agent or Acquisitions Editor? Usually, talking with a literary professional means spending hundreds of dollars by attending a writing conference which often involves traveling great distances…but you are in luck! The Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter has designed a special event to bring you and your project together with the professionals you need to know on your journey to publication. 

WNBA-SF is hosting the 11 Annual Pitch-O-Rama (aka Meet-the-Agents & Acquisitions Editors Event) in San Francisco on Saturday, March 29, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Feeling a little nervous about talking about your project? We realize this can be a little overwhelming. Writing is a solitary venture…talking about the work is something entirely different! We’ve got you covered…

Fellow authors Catharine Bramkamp, Patricia V. Davis, and I will be on hand to prep attendees on how to best use this rare opportunity of a face-to-face meeting with an agent/acquisitions editor.

Your “session” will be a total of six minutes with an agent/acquisitions editor. We suggest you use the first three minutes to deliver your pitch and then listen to the response from the literary professional during the next three minutes. 

Study the list of literary professionals you have the opportunity to speak to during the event. Prioritize your top picks so that you make the best use of your time.

Just a few words to remember:

  1. Tell a good story. Talk about your project with enthusiasm, focus, and heart. Keep it short – you only have three minutes…concentrate on the best bits.
  2. Be a good listener. The agents/acquisition editors are there to find great stuff. Your work may only need a few adjustments to be just what they are looking for.
  3. Be yourself! Relax and have fun! This is an amazing opportunity to network with other writers and learn about their writing process.

Honoring Effie Lee Morris and celebrating Black History Month

Mary E. Knippel and Miss Effie Lee Morris WNBA-SF presidents

Mary E. Knippel and Miss Effie Lee Morris WNBA-SF presidents

This week I’ve been enjoying catching up with so many friends and colleagues from the Women’s National Book Association-San Francisco Chapter and missing some familiar faces at the San Francisco Writers Conference. 

A woman who was dedicated to the critical importance of the world of books was San Francisco’s celebrated children’s librarian, Miss Effie Lee Morris. She was my mentor, adopted favorite aunt and trusted advisor on the care and nurturing of the San Francisco WNBA chapter. As the founder of our chapter, Effie Lee continued to attend board meetings and share advise on what would help our members flourish as well as what we could do to educate the public about the great words waiting to be read.

I owe a great deal to this wonderful lady… 

She’s the reason I had confidence in my ability to lead WNBA-SF. I received many phone calls with the encouraging words, “Mary, you’re doing such a wonderful job as president.” I couldn’t help but pass that love and care on to our members. Because of Effie Lee, this little white girl from Southern Minnesota (who never saw anyone of color until she was practically an adult) had the opportunity to speak at a Baptist Church. When Effie Lee passed away, several people were invited to say a few words about her during the service…I was the first one at the microphone.

I celebrate Miss Effie Lee Morris and all those who influence us in big and little ways to live a life of truth, integrity, love and compassion. 

Who do you honor this Black History Month?