The workshop for humor writing, human interest writing, networking and getting published

Erma Bombeck Wrighters' Workshop Banner

How writers can use QR codes

Erik Deckers, co-owner and VP of creative services for Professional Blog Service in Indianapolis, has plenty of experience attracting audiences. He has been blogging since 1997, has been a newspaper humor columnist for 17 years, and co-authored Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself and helped write Twitter Marketing For Dummies.
On his blog, he recently tackled QR codes, those unsightly blocks popping up everywhere from museum displays to magazine advertisements (that’s a QR code pointing to the workshop). But are they useful for writers? Read on:


What can writers do with QR codes? Do we even need them? When most writers still have that “I’m a writer, not a marketer” attitude, embracing something as 21st century as a smartphone, let alone a QR code, is going to be difficult.
But, if you’re trying to reach a particular kind of audience — let’s say a tech-savvy audience — or people who might not otherwise discover your work, a QR code could be a great way to market your work in some surprising and creative ways.
The whole point of a QR code is to reach a mobile audience. People who use their mobile phones to read articles and watch videos. People who use their tablets to read ebooks. Basically anyone not using a laptop or desktop computer, or reading paper-based articles and stories.
By tapping into the growing mobile market — and it’s growing fast — writers can get their words in front of a brand new audience, or at least an audience who can access your old work in new ways.
 You can read his full post here.

Is it hot in here?

Tampa-area writers: Creative Loafing has relaunched its fiction contest. This year’s theme: heat.


Details are available from Creative Loafing here, as are lots of clichés: Get it while it’s hot, turn up the heat, hot under the collar, etc., etc. Submission deadline is Dec. 22.

2012 Bombeck Workshop registration opens Dec. 6 at noon

The 2012 Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop at the University of Dayton will kick off with a keynote talk from Alan Zweibel, an original Saturday Night Live writer and author of the 2006 Thurber Prize-winning novel The Other Shulman.

Online registration for the workshop, slated April 19-21, opens at noon on Tuesday, Dec. 6. The registration fee is $375, with 35 free scholarships available for University of Dayton students, beginning in mid-January. More information about faculty and sessions is available through the “2012 Workshop” tab above and here. We will post a link when registration opens.

If past workshops are any indication, the popular event will fill up quickly. Every workshop has sold out — some in a matter of days, others in weeks.

The 2012 workshop is expected to bring more than 350 beginning and professional writers to Dayton. Why the enormous appeal? The workshop has attracted such household names over the years as Dave Barry, Phil Donahue, Art Buchwald, Nancy Cartwright, Don Novello, Gail Collins and Garrison Keillor, but the personal involvement of Erma Bombeck’s family makes the event at her alma mater memorable and sets it apart from the myriad other writers’ workshops offered across the country. Alumnus Bill Bombeck and his children, Betsy, Andy and Matt, regularly attend the workshops.

The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop is co-sponsored by the University of Dayton’s National Alumni Association, the University of Dayton’s College of Arts and Sciences, National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Greyden Press, Dayton Marriott Hotel and the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop Endowment. Workshop sessions will take place on campus, with dinners held at the Dayton Marriott Hotel, 1414 S. Patterson Blvd.

Are you fluent in Chick?

No? Maybe The CHICKtionary: From A-Line to Z-Snap, the Words Every Woman Should Know by Anna Lefler can help you out. Anna will be with us at the 2012 Bombeck Workshop talking about how a publisher came to her to write the book.


Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope

An email showed up in my inbox from one of our 2012 keynote speakers, Jeff Zaslow, about his newest project, being unrolled this week. He invited me to share it:
I’m happy to let you know that GABBY: A Story of Courage and Hope, the memoir of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and astronaut Mark Kelly, will be released this Tuesday. I was honored to collaborate with them on the book.
This Monday night at 10 p.m. ET, there will be an hour-long ABC special tied to the book. Here is a 30-second promo.
And here’s a link to a three-minute piece from ABC News which offers the first footage from the special. If you have a few minutes, it’s pretty compelling.
The book also is excerpted this coming week in PEOPLE magazine.
Many thanks for taking a look!
All good wishes,
Jeff Zaslow
Can’t wait to see him at the workshop in April, where we can ask him about finding the story no one else can tell, on this books, plus other great ones like The Girls from Ames and The Last Lecture.

Aww — thanks, Rose

Last spring, the wonderful Rose Valenta published a blog post that made me exceptionally proud and, truth be told, blush a little. Here’s a bit of what she wrote.
Last year at this time, I was out in Dayton, Ohio, attending EBWW 2010 with about 350 other writer humorists at the University of Dayton. We left there with a mascot (E.B. Heron, named after E.B. White); many new friends; and Facebook/Twitter accounts to look up, join, or send friend requests. We also left there with a feeling of kick-ass enthusiasm, we were among the “We can do this!” success group. My tape recorder, business card slots, and notebook were all full. I was armed and dangerous with perceived leverage and a little chutzpah. I miss my friends there now, and can’t wait for EBWW 2012.

We are competitive, keeping everyone in the loop for things like interviews, new book releases, awards, contests, and book launches. You could also say it is a training ground for learning great communication skills. We also post failed attempts, but we downplay those. I believe we’ve finally made it into the A Zone.
Many of us have come a long way in just the last 12 months.
I’m looking forward to seeing her and the entire E.B. Heron crew again at the 2012 Bombeck Workshop.

Horsing around

An 80-year-old is missing and possibly kidnapped. Or he’s just playing a big joke on everyone. That’s the premise of Horse Races and Paint Stores: The Anti-biography of Duffy O’Day by Patrick Kennedy, just out on Kindle this week.

Talk to your TV?

The wonderful USA Today columnist Craig Wilson, returning as a 2012 faculty member, has a few thoughts on conversations with the idiot box.

Reflections of Erma