(NEW ORLEANS, La.) — NEWS: Three times self-published author and entrepreneur Michelle Jackson had no idea starting a private Facebook group would change her life. In March 2020, inspired by COVID’s unexpected stay-at-home orders and civil unrest caused by the murder of George Floyd, Jackson took to social media to connect with writers of color and to find resources on how to market a book without leaving the confines of her home. To her surprise, thousands of black authors were facing the same hurdle and looking to collaborate with other like-minded artists. And so, the Black Writers Workspace (BWW) online community was born.
BWW has grown to over 15,000 followers in three years, hosting over 100 author interviews and virtual roundtable discussions, four book fairs, four writing competitions, and a writer’s workshop. Also, the community has inspired the launch of a new business venture, Direct2Author.com, an online independent book marketing and writing service platform developed by Jackson to help authors build their fan base with effective and low-cost book marketing tools.
“Over a million books are published each year, making the book marketing journey more competitive and crucial to the success of a publication,” said Jackson. “BWW was created to provide a positive space where writers can share resources and get the help they need to publish great works of art.”
In a move to expand the BWW brand and help writers of color succeed, the community will host the BLK INK Virtual Writer’s Workshop on May 18-20, 2023, via Zoom. This year’s theme is ‘Straight FIRE! Writing to Inspire a New Generation of Readers.’ The event is designed to educate aspiring, new, and experienced writers about practical tools and techniques for navigating the world of book writing and publishing.
The speaker roster includes Alex Jennings, a New Orleans-based award-winning fantasy writer and instructor of popular fiction at the University of Southern Maine; Jane Friedman, author, co-founder of The Hot Sheet and a columnist with Publishers Weekly; Diane Marie Brown, professor at Orange Coast College and author of the debut novel, Black Candle Women, a Read with Jenna Bush Book Club selection that is currently being adapted for television and Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy, professor at Dillard University and Louisiana’s newest Poet Laureate.
Hour-long sessions will tackle topics like ‘Land a Deal in 2023,’ ‘Put it in an (Audio) Book,’ and ‘Writing Fantasy & Sci-Fi.’ During the event week, writers can also participate in a one-on-one manuscript review session with professional editors with Speak Write Play LLC, a New Jersey-based English Language and Editing Service.
“BWW benefits when experienced writers share their pathway to success with us. Collaboration is key to nurturing a vibrant and diverse literary community,’ said Jackson. “We invite everyone to join us for the BLK INK workshop. Our goal is to nurture the next great writer.”
The event is open to all writers, regardless of race, religion, sex, and sexuality. It will take place via Zoom over three days, starting Thursday, May 18th, and ending Saturday, May 20th. Attendees can pay one fee for all three days or pay per day. College students can attend for free when they register with a .edu email address.
To register on Eventbrite, go to https://bit.ly/BLKINKWORKSHOP.
For sponsorship opportunities, email Michelle D. Jackson at email@example.com.
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvLTqx4GsQWed70-zOPDZTQ
Related link: https://www.facebook.com/groups/blackwritersworkspace
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