Last Wednesday, Fact in Fiction, the Wittenberg creative writing club, brought published author Mindy McGinnis to campus for an English colloquium. This Ohioan came to campus to speak about writing, publishing and making it as an author.
During her talk, McGinnis shared with attendees her path into the publishing world and some hard truths about it. McGinnis emphasized the need for young writers to have patience, noting that while she graduated college in 2001, she didn’t publish a novel until 2013. In her presentation, she went over writing query letters and finding agents, and she walked through the process of getting published, a method that she pointed out usually lasted a few years. At the same time, she gave encouraging advice as well. She insisted that writers do not need to have connections in order to be published, using her own experience as an example.
“I am just a farmer’s daughter from a hole-in-the-wall place with zero connections,” McGinnis said. “I took zero creative writing classes in college . . . and now this is how I make a living.”
McGinnis publisher her first novel, “Not a Drop to Drink,” in 2013, and last year, the sequel, “In A Handful of Dust,” was released. She has many other projects in the works as well, but when she isn’t writing books, she surrounds herself with them. By day, she works as an assistant librarian in a public high school. In addition to this, McGinnis writes for several blogs.
“It was a really good opportunity to get to talk to an actual writer, one that didn’t hit success right away and knew how hard it could be,” said junior Brooke Brauer, president of Fact in Fiction. “Hearing it first-hand kind of solidified things for me and made me excited for what the future may bring in terms of writing.”
Throughout her speech, McGinnis presented a casual, laid-back style and engaged in conversation with the audience. Her tips included the importance of critique partners and the need for dedication, also providing aspiring writers in the audience with online resources they could utilize such as agentquery.com and querytracker.com. She emphasized that with talent, luck and persistence, anyone could be published, regardless of their background.
“It was refreshing to hear from an author who’s so normal but still successful,” said Lindsey Heil, a junior English major who attended the event. “It gives writers like myself who want to get published hope.”
McGinnis is the first speaker that Fact in Fiction has brought to Wittenberg. Started last year, the club hopes to continue hosting events such as this in the future. This fall, McGinnis will release her latest novel, “A Madness So Discreet,” on Oct. 6. McGinnis can be reached through her website at mindymcginnis.com or through her blog, writerwriterpantsonfire.blogspot.com.