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October President’s Message

October 4, 2005 by in category Blogs tagged as with 0 and 0
Home > Writing > Blogs > October President’s Message

October is OCC’s birthday month. This year we are having actress and author, Harley Jane Kozak, as our speaker. In keeping with OCC’s tradition, we are hoping that as many as possible of our past presidents will be joining us. It will be a fun day as we celebrate 24 years of OCC!

OCC’s birthday got me thinking. I joined OCC right after I got an offer from a “publisher” that would be thrilled to publish my manuscript for $6,000.00 dollars. As in I pay THEM money. I knew that I needed an education and quick.

I joined RWA and OCC. That was one of the best career decisions I ever made. By the time I was offered a contract where the publisher paid ME for my book, I was in a position to say, “Thank you very much. I’m delighted that you are interested in my book and will call you back as soon as I’ve had a chance to think about it.” Those are the most important two sentences I ever learned as an unpublished writer.

When I did call back, I had a list of questions and possible contract changes. From those, I believe I got two thirds of my requested changes to the contract offer. I managed to negotiate two contracts for four books and did a fair job before getting an agent. I owe a huge thank you to OCC and all the experienced authors who shared their insights with us.

All of us at OCC have been educated enough to know that finishing a manuscript is a huge achievement. However…it’s only the start.

Getting published? Well it’s another step, but just a step in a very long and sometimes rocky path. But OCC lights the way with as much knowledge and support possible. In the last year, I hit a couple rough spots and found information and support at OCC. Things turned around for me and I made the two book sale. Those sales don’t happen without serious hard work and determination by the author, I don’t want to minimize that. But, and this is so important, there are times when we need friends and colleagues to light the path. OCC members did that for me, keeping me laughing and my priorities in order along the way. Thank you OCC!

And last, volunteering. It’s the members, each and every one of us, who make up the beating heart and creative soul of OCC. I am a fairly shy person (I hear the OCC Board of Directors laughing—stop that!), all right, I USED to be a fairly shy person. When I first joined OCC, I stayed in the background and tried not make a fool of myself. But when my kids got older, I stopped make excuses and volunteered. I got so busy and had so much fun, that I no longer felt self conscious or out of place. I have grown and gained confidence, enough confidence to let Marianne Donley trick me into becoming the Co-President (don’t think I’ve forgotten that, Marianne!). These days, even making stupid blunders no long makes me sick and mortified. Now I just laugh and move on. OCC values each of us for our unique gifts and abilities. Become a part of OCC’s heart and soul by volunteering.

Come out in October to celebrate OCC’s Birthday. Listen to our fabulous speaker, Harley Jane Kozak, buy raffle tickets for the now-famous microwave that was signed by many, many authors in Reno, try your luck at the other big ticket items or the baskets, reconnect with OCC’s Past Presidents, laugh with your friends, brainstorm with your colleagues, and have cake (don’t even get me started on carrot cake. Carrots are a vegetable, not cake. Proper cake should be chocolate!)

Let’s all lift a glass of cider and wish OCC a Happy Birthday.

~Jennifer

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