Dear Gulf Coast Writer:

There’s a new energy in the air. To the dozens who attended our February meeting, thank you for your participation, your interest, your ideas, and for stepping up to participate in the activities of our organization.

So far this year, ten or more new members have become part of us. We welcome Janet DeLeo, Kathy Klag, Mary Beth Leopold, Eddie Lydick, Sheryl Stillman, Geraldine McArdle, Laura Schueneman, Andrea West and Richard Allen. Whom have I missed? Let me know!


To you who have recently renewed your membership or rejoined our association, a thousand thanks. Your annual dues keep our wheels in motion.
And for volunteering as judges of our writing contest, now under way, another thousand thanks. If you haven’t yet stepped up to do so but are willing, let us know. Also, now’s the time to polish your own literary or poetic works and enter them. The deadline for entries is the end of May.


This weekend, Saturday March 2, is the SWFL Reading Festival. Gulf Coast Writers will have a tent near the front of the festival, just off First Street near the Lee County Library entrance. In two shifts, twelve of our members will be in the GCWA tent, selling their books and encouraging visitors to join our organization. Come by and say hello to your colleagues on your way to or from the many author presentations. You’ll encounter some current literary lions inside the big tents: Jeffrey Deaver, Lisa Unger, Sarah Penner, Heather Graham and Charles Todd among others whose names you know and whose work you admire. See you there!


Our March 16 program is a departure from the literary world and an important one for authors who want to be noticed. The innovator and host of NBC2’s “Stories2Share” segments, Sean Martinelli, will be with us live and in person. Sean will help us understand how to get the attention of the media in a saturated “notice me” world. His stories appear on the 6:00 news three evenings a week on the local NBC-2 station. Come and meet Sean and learn. We meet at Word of Life Church, 6111 South Pointe Blvd., Fort Myers, at 10 AM. And like last month, we urge you to stay and chat or migrate to nearby Buckett’s Grill for a group lunch.


Here’s an assignment: to prepare for Sean Martinelli’s appearance, compose your “elevator pitch.” You know what that is, of course. It’s a tight, compelling 25-second selling script in which you persuade your listener – aka your “target” – to publish your book or poem or essay. You have not five minutes, not two minutes, not one minute: just 25 seconds. Try it. Your reward will come when your target says, “Tell me more.”


See you March 16, if not before. Please say hi to me – and give me your 25-second pitch. That is how we will connect. We also elect officers this month. Nominate yourself or someone else. All offices are open.


MaryAnn CipressyAuthor posts

Maryanne is the owner of What’s Up SWFL and is a leader in Internet Marketing with experience, a track record of success, and most importantly of all working with each client on a case-by-case basis because every situation requires custom solutions.