Open House & Open Arms

by Jeanette Winsor

Writers often talk about their profession as being filled with solitude, angst, and an unfair remuneration for all our hard work. During the WCYR’s Open House this year, guest presenter Kim McDougall offered some valuable insight on overcoming those hurdles by presenting ideas on how to market our writing and establish connections to readers who will continue to look for our works and buy our books.

Using nine solid points, from the rapid release of books, getting reviews, and setting up social media connections, to inviting readers into our worlds, selecting the right cover, and controlling our real estate, Kim facilitated writers to understand how working hard on the ‘business’ of writing pays off.

This enthusiastic start to the new season, from a professional with a proven track record, gave members and guests at the presentation a road map to getting our work out, getting it noticed, and building a community of readers. With her usual generous nature and her penchant for helping writers succeed, Kim left us with many great ideas, some fabulous sites to visit, and an invite to get in touch with her if we still had questions.

The afternoon progressed with the announcement of this year’s WCYR’s Grant winners who are:

Maaja Wentz with the T. D. Aurora Branch Education Grant

Cathy Miles with the Author V. M. Gopaul Writer’s Grant

Jeanette Winsor with the Author Gary D. McGugan Publishing Grant

Each member received $300 toward their winning proposal, and each will write a blog post to share their writing/publishing journey with us. Watch for 2024’s submission window opening January 1st.

The WCYR would like to say a BIG thank you to all the members and friends who helped out with our fundraiser. Without their support and the generosity of those who attended the event, we would not have been able to achieve our goal and raise funds for much-needed equipment.

In Particular:

Vicki Pinkerton of LifeLines Coaching

Deepam Wadds of Write Your Way In

Deborah Armstrong of Terrahill Publishing

Elise Abram of EMSA Publishing

MJ Moores of Infinite Pathways Press

Patti M. Hall Master Story Alchemist and Book Coach

Diane Bator Author & Book Coach

Sheila Horne Author, Editor, and Writing Instructor

Roderick D. Turner Author & Former Seneca Professor

Hyacinthe Miller Award Winning Author & Past President of the WCYR

Gary Johnson with 102.7 CHOP FM‘s Writers For Readers

William (Bill) Snider aka Zombie Zak with the After Rot Podcast

And, author Kim McDougall, who, by sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with us, made this year’s Open House a grand success.


Whether you plan on writing 50K words in 30 days, for National Novel Writing Month, or are looking to do a personal writing retreat with a goal of “a lot” of words on the page, this is the prep session for you! Both pantsers and planners are more likely to succeed in a challenge like this with some mindful preparation. Now, this doesn’t mean plotting your book to death before November 1st and then no longer being inspired to write it. No. This is about the physical, mental, and writerly things you can do to help achieve your goals and remain motived. Sign up here.

The WCYR has gathered together 6 local writers and industry professionals who will speak about their experience in a round-robin format, to answer those burning questions. In 15 minute intervals, participants will rotate around the room visiting each professional for a mini-group session. No more than 5 participants will visit during each interval, so be sure to register early – space is limited. Sign up here.

You asked for it, you got it! WCYR is offering this special members-only workshop in real life at Taylor’s in Newmarket facilitated by WCYR’s own, Erika MacNeil. This interactive workshop is designed for writers who wish to develop their public speaking and oratory skills in order to bring dynamic and expressive value to their writing when reading it aloud. Sign up here.

Jeanette Winsor is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers, Toronto, and has been writing novels and short stories for the past twenty years. Many of her works are set in Newfoundland out ports as she tries to capture a culture quickly giving way to the modern world. She currently lives in Essa, Simcoe County with her husband and when she’s not writing, she loves to garden, read, and make funny animal props for her daughter to use in her Kindergarten classes. You can find her at: Website: Facebook:

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