For many writers, getting the words on the page is the “easy” part. It’s the next step that gets tricky.
That’s according to Eau Claire author Dan Cavanaugh, who had been sitting on his nearly finished book for five years. Then, in May, he connected with Chippewa Valley Local Authors founding member Jim Alf and its president, Bill Callaghan.
“Last spring when I finally finished the book, I mean I had no idea what to do with that,” Cavanaugh said. “They helped me get the thing edited and published.”
In just six months after that, Cavanaugh’s “Soldier/Surgeon: A Memoir” came to be. It is now available at The Local Store, 205 N. Dewey St. As a newly published author, he wants to share his story with other emerging writers who, like him, might not know where to begin.
He’ll offer those tips, plus some background on his memoir about his time as a surgeon in the Army, alongside 10 other members of Chippewa Valley Local Authors during Local Authors Live, which begins at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, at Pablo Center at the Confluence’s Jamf Theatre, 128 Graham Ave.
“I think there are probably some budding authors in the Eau Claire community that are like I was — maybe have some ideas but don’t know how to go about getting something published,” Cavanaugh said.
That sentiment aligns with Callaghan’s thinking. As president of Chippewa Valley Local Authors since it was founded in July 2015, he knows how many people struggle with that very process. He himself did when he began working on his book in 2000. He completed “Raised With Praise: How my Parents Made me a Happy Soul” in 2009.
He’s hoping Local Authors Live can help bridge the gap between “it’s done” and “it’s published.”
“We’re creating exposure, helping local authors market their books and helping authors finish what they started,” Callaghan said. “Those are the very things our organization was created to do.”
During Local Authors Live, attendees can hear from authors in the Chippewa Valley. Following a reception in the lobby at 1:30 p.m., 11 authors will take turns sharing about the process of publishing their book with “book trailers” playing behind them. Following that, there will be a Q&A session open to all audience members to ask whatever they’d like to any author.
To conclude the day, events will move back into the lobby, where attendees will be able to buy books, have them signed and chat with the authors.
“There’s nothing like networking with experienced writers,” Callaghan said. “It goes a long way.”
Chippewa Valley Local Author founding member and event organizer Lynn Dehnke said she’s excited to introduce the public to their organization and what they aim to do.
She added she wants to show off the wide variety of genres these 11 authors represent: everything from memoirs, westerns and mysteries to Christian living, an adult coloring book (the popular “Color Eau Claire” was partially done by CVLA member Patricia Hawkenson) and more.
“It’s important for our organization to showcase all our hard work in a manner that allows people to ask questions and see what’s available,” Dehnke said of the event. “It also gives those people who have always thought about writing a book some success to look at and a group they could potentially join.”
Those who decide to join Chippewa Valley Local Authors during the event can fill out an application. For that day, the application fee will be reduced from $50 to $30, which Dehnke said covers a year of membership.
However, she encourages anyone who has an appreciation for writing — or reading — to attend Local Authors Live, because everyone can get something out of it.
Held in the midst of a weekend themed around big-business holiday sales, Callaghan said it’s also a great way to support locals.
“We’re squished between Black Friday and Cyber Monday,” Callaghan said. “Let’s make it ‘Local Author Sunday.’”