Please Pardon Our Dust

This is an exciting time for our organization. We have overhauled our organization from top to bottom to continue to serve our community of writers.

Please pardon our dust for the next couple of weeks while we iron out the technical details for these changes. In addition to changing our name, which means updating our website, social media, etc., we’ve also overhauled the backend of our website to make it more secure and efficient.

If you notice any particularly troublesome bugs, please feel free to contact us to let us know. But in the meantime, please know that we are working diligently to track down issue and tie up any loose ends.

Thank you for your patience during this time.

Introducing the Ohio Writers’ Association!

About eight months ago, I was moving to a new office, and I found a notebook with my original handwritten notes from 2010 for an idea that would later be named Columbus Creative Cooperative. Younger Brad envisioned an organization that would bring writers together for productive collaboration and mutual self-improvement.

A crazy thing happened. What started as hairbrained chicken scratch on a legal pad actually worked. Over the next 6 years we produced 9 books, published hundreds of stories, hosted over 100 writers’ workshops, seminars, and write-ins.  Our organization now has thousands of members. We’ve seen friendships bloom, and watched some of our members go on to build their own collaborative projects and organizations.

Over the past year, we’ve been experiencing a kind of growing pain.  CCC has always largely functioned on my back, which is something I was happy to do, and on the backs of my staff for Columbus Publishing Lab, which I was happy to provide.  But as the organization grew, the maintenance of the thing became more than I could reasonably provide as a gift, let alone tackle new projects. It always comes as a surprise to anyone who’s never run an organization how much overhead there is – legal requirements, taxes, answering member emails, maintaining social media, and so much more. Before long, these 5-minute tasks are a full-time job.  Yet, despite our growth, the organization was not yet large enough to support a paid staff member.

We’ve been tremendously blessed by volunteers like Emily Hitchock, Brenda Layman, Heather Shaw, Nick Thomas, Aaron Behr, Iam Moeckel, Steve Knapp, Lin Rice, Birney Reed, Chris Minton, Matt Betts, and so many others. But even managing volunteers comes with its own overhead.

This year provided an opportunity to reevaluate who we are as an organization, and what we can do really well.

There are some things you can do with 5,000 members, that you couldn’t do with 12. And the inverse is also true.  Here’s what we can do really well right now:

Publishing – We produce really cool books that create real opportunities for writers and service under-represented markets.

Writers Workshops – Honest, unbridled feedback has always been at the core of CCC. We’re in a position to resume our writers’ workshops and expand this model to other groups and communities.

Classes – We have an amazing network of experts among our membership, and we have a history of producing excellence. We are ready to begin offering formalized classes for aspiring writers.

Events – Because our network has grown, it’s easier than ever to promote events.

Connections – We want to celebrate our members! Our social media audience wants to hear about the success of our members. And through our workshops, classes and events, we’re optimized to help our members form new friendships and collaborations.

And we’ve evaluated who we are. We’re not a frisky group of upstarts from Central Ohio any longer. I live in Zanesville myself. Our members hail from all over the state of Ohio, and many from around the country. Our group now includes industry experts, published authors and changemakers.

So we’ve taken stock of what our organization is uniquely gifted to be, and who we are as a group. And it’s not Columbus Creative Cooperative any longer. We’ve come far from my handwritten notes on a yellow legal pad.

Effective today, we are the Ohio Writers’ Association. We are a community-based organization with a mission to support professional writers and emerging Ohio authors.

Introducing Ohio Writers' Association

There will be a lot of changes. We’ll be permanently cutting some programs we’ve maintained in the past, as well as opening some new doors.  All existing members of Columbus Creative Cooperative will be automatically migrated to members of the Ohio Writers Association.  Paid members will not lose any time on their subscriptions.

We’ll be posting lots of information to our new website at www.OhioWriters.org over the next few days.  Please bear with us as we make these changes, and I think you’ll see the answers to your questions soon. But you are always free to shoot us an email at info@ohiowriters.org, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Over the coming months, we’ll be forming new partnerships with businesses and organizations in the community, and rolling out new initiatives.  Please follow us on Facebook or on Twitter to stay in the loop, and of course, today is a great day to become a member if you haven’t yet.

We are very excited to embark on these changes, and to continue carrying the torch that began with Columbus Creative Cooperative. Thank you for your continued support as we look to the future.

“The Joy of Argument” Flash Essay Contest Now Live!

Our latest and greatest flash writing contest is now open!  We’ll be giving away two $100 prizes!  Get all of the details and instructions for entering here (click).

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to craft the strongest argument for the most absurd thing.  Our judge, Albert Navarra (a debate expert and author of the book The Joy of Argument) will be looking for the most successful and persuasive essay for the most outrageous position.

A second winner will be chosen by public popular vote.

You may start submitting entries today!  And the sooner you submit, the more time you’ll have to publicize your story and gather votes.  Make an argument for why pants should be worn backwards, taxi drivers should be required to dress in bear costumes, or why carbonated antifreeze should be newest sports drink fad.  Argue for whatever you want, just keep it PG-13.

Remember, our prizes are really cool, but this contest is just for fun.  Enjoy it!

The Joy of ArgumentThis awesome flash essay contest is sponsored by The Joy of Argument by Albert Navarra.  Mr. Navarra, together with his publisher, Boyle & Dalton, have graciously supported the organization and provided funding for this contest’s prizes.

The Joy of Argument is a succinct guide to crafting better arguments.  Packed full of helpful tips and concrete strategies for engaging in productive, healthy discussion and disagreement, this book will help you to get more of what you want in life, and less of what you don’t.  Grab a copy from your favorite retailer and start expressing yourself more effectively.

Learn more and find links to retailers at www.JoyofArgument.comThe Joy of Argument is available from all major retailers in both print and digital formats.
Continue reading ““The Joy of Argument” Flash Essay Contest Now Live!”

Writers’ Seminar in Somerset, Ohio

twit_picI’ll be giving an extended seminar this Saturday from 10am to 2pm at the public library in Somerset, Ohio.  This event is sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council and is free to the public.  You must register before the event however, by emailing register@ahoot.org.

I’ve been giving a lot of seminars over the past few years, and this will combine the most popular three.  Through the course of the day we’ll cover “Understanding the Publishing Industry” with a big picture look at the publishing paths available to authors, “The Five Key Steps to Publishing a Professional Book” with important information for anyone interested in self-publishing, and “Free and Easy Marketing Steps for All Authors” with an emphasis on pre-marketing, prior to publication.

Get all of the details on this release from AHOOT here.

I’ll also be joined by CCC member and debut author Christopher Stollar, who recently released The Black Lens following a successful crowdfunding campaign.  Christopher will be on hand to answer questions about the crowdfunding process and how to make it work.

This Saturday will be packed with real information for authors who want to take it to the next level.  It’s not for dreamers, and there are no sales pitches, if you want to be a published author, grab one of these seats.

You can also learn more from WHIZ news in Zanesville, Ohio: https://www.whiznews.com/content/news/local/2016/04/12/writing-workshop-in-somerset-saturday

The event will be sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council, coordinated by The Winding Road A to Z (a Southeastern Ohio artist’s organization) and hosted by AHOOT (Appalachian Hills of Ohio Territory – a regional arts organization).  Contact register@ahoot.org with questions.

An Ode to the Incredible, Irreplaceable, Guitar Rocking, Hockey Stopping Steve Knapp

We’ve seen a lot of good things around Columbus Creative Cooperative in the past couple of years.  We’ve continued to hold monthly workshops, even expanding to a first-of-its-kind free full novel workshop, we’ve published books, we’ve held cool events.  And none of that would be possible without the help of a lot of amazing, selfless, talented people.

Here's a picture of Steve I took from his Facebook profile without permission.
Here’s a picture of Steve I took from Steve’s Facebook profile without permission.

One of those people is the grand-tutinest dude Steve Knapp.  Steve Knapp worked tirelessly as our workshop coordinator in 2014 and 2015, I’ll dare say he gave us the best years of his life.

Steve, like so many talented people before him, finally succumbed to the call of jobs that actually pay  money, and he flew away to Chicago with a pretty lady.  (In the interest of accuracy, he may have driven.)

While he served CCC, Steve patiently answered the same questions thousands of times (literally), accepted workshop stories, put up with the ire of writers who can’t follow directions, and made sure that the logistics were in place for every single workshop.

Steve contributed to this community tirelessly, without pay or self interest, and he paved the way for us to expand the resources we offer to the Ohio writing community.

Steve, you’re a good man. I’m proud to have known you and worked beside you.  Onward and upward my friend, you’re a hell of a human being.

CCC is what it is because a lot of people each give a little bit. But a few people give a lot.  Steve was one of those people.

Here’s to all of those who make the world a better place, giving more than they ever expect to get back. Thanks Steve!

Winter 2016 Writers Retreat at The Narows

Join us for the first ever CCC Writers’ Retreat.  The retreat will be held at The Narrows in Zanesville, Ohio.

The Narrows is an easy 55 minute drive from Columbus. Just far enough to leave your distractions behind, but close enough to make it an easy breezy day trip.

At CCC, we’re serious about helping writers produce great work.  And our retreat will follow suit.  We’ll provide optional opportunities for breaking up the day, doing some fun stuff and engaging with other writers, but our primary focus is on providing dedicated, distraction-free time for you to work on the projects that are important to you.

The Narrows is a really cool space, and it’s big enough for us to provide several different writing environments.  Whether you prefer quiet solitude, a little chaos, or ambient music, I think everyone will find a spot that will really encourage productivity and creativity.

This event will be held all day on February 13th.  It’s up to you how you engage, but we’ll get started right at 8am and proceed until 6pm.  After it’s over, you’re invited to join us at Weasel Boy Brewing, a micro-brewery that shares the building, for dinner.

The fee for the retreat is $25 for CCC Writer and Sponsor Members (membership is $15 and $100 per year, respectively) or $35 for non-members.  That fee includes your access to the space all day, as well as snacks and drinks from favorite Zanesville businesses all day.  Lunch is also included.

We’re really excited for this event.  I think it’s a cool new development in what CCC has to offer.

Use the PayPal buttons below to make a reservation. Space is limited to 20 writers, so don’t hesitate to reserve your spot if you’re interested in attending.  Sorry, but we are not offering refunds.  Update: Wow! Due to tremendous response, this event is now full.  Please email us at info@ohiowriters.org with “Retreat Waiting List” in the subject line, and we’ll let you know of any cancellations.

Find more information about the writers’ retreat and get real time updates on Facebook here.

Thank You to All Who Submitted a Story for Best of Ohio Short Stories: Volume II

Thank you to everyone who submitted a story for consideration for Best of Ohio Short Stories: Volume II.

We will now review the stories using a two-part system.  In the first phase, Writer Members of CCC will review stories.  The stories that receive the best reviews from our members will move on to the second stage, in which the editors of the book will select the final stories for publication.

If you are a Writer or Sponsor Member of CCC, you are invited to help us review stories.  To do so, simply login, and then select “Review Anthology Submissions” from the member’s home page.  If you’d like to participate, you have about two weeks to review stories and submit your scores.  So get started right away!

If you are not a paid member of CCC, but would like to participate in the reviewing process, registering or upgrading your account is easy.  We’d love to have you help with this part of the anthology process.

Both stages of our review and selection process will be complete by August 15, 2015.  If you’ve submitted a story and don’t hear from us by then, please feel free to follow up.

Thank you again to all who have submitted a story for consideration!  The strength of our cooperative and the strength of our publications is a reflection of our tremendous membership.

We’ve Moved – 620 Alum Creek Dr., Suite 304

We’ve moved!  Our new location is 620 Alum Creek Dr., Columbus, OH 43205.  We’re on the third floor of the building in suite 304.

We’ve loved our time at The Salt Mines over the past couple of years.  But we’re looking forward to this new chapter, in which we’ll have full autonomy over our space.

From July 1 onward, all meetings and events will be held at this new location, unless otherwise posted.  Click here to see the new location on Google Maps.

We share the building with Life Church, and several other businesses.  Life Church owns the building, so when in doubt, look for their giant sign in the front yard.   It may be at least a few weeks before our signage is also out in front of the building.

This location is easily accessed from I-70, and is literally seconds off of the highway.

When coming east on I-70, get off at the Main St. exit (not the Alum Creek Dr. exit).  The Main St. exit will spit you out onto Alum Creek Dr. and the building will be a half mile down on your right, before you get to Main St.

When headed west on I-70, take the Livingston Ave. exit.  Turn left off of the exit onto Livingston Ave., then take an immediate right onto Alum Creek Dr.  The building will be about a half mile down on your right, before you get to Main St.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.  We look forward to seeing you in our new home soon!

Grand Champion of The Great Novel Contest 2015 – Zach Boddicker

The Great Novel Contest 2015We are pleased to announce the winners of The Great Novel Contest 2015!  After sorting through a multitude of submissions, our two-tier judging committee has selected the Grand Champion and Runner-Up.  All submissions were judged blind (no names or identifying information).

The Essential Carl Mahogany by Zach Boddicker is the Grand Champion of The Great Novel Contest 2015!  Congratulations Zach!

Mr. Boddicker will take home the $1,000 grand prize.  His manuscript will also receive priority consideration from four esteemed publishers – Columbus Press, Elephant Rock Books, PageSpring Publishing and Raw Dog Screaming Press.

Zach Boddicker is a Colorado-based writer and musician. His most-recent publication is a short story in A Decade of Country Hits: Art on the Rural Frontier (Jap Sam Books, 2014). A general sense of his current path can be found at zachboddicker.wordpress.com.

Our Runner-Up is The Galvanized Man by David L. Day!  Congratuations David!

Mr. Day will be awarded the $500 prize, and his manuscript will receive the same priority consideration from these four great publishers.

David L. Day is a dark fantasy novelist living in the Columbus, OH, area. When not reading, writing, or spending time with his wife and sons, David can usually be found watching a horror movie, playing video games, or training for his black belt in Taekwondo. Sometimes he can even be found attempting to skateboard or snowboard, although not as often as he’d like (but probably more often than he should at his age). David holds a BA in English and an MBA from Ohio University, as well as an MA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. His first novel, TEARSTONE, was published by Belfire Press in March 2013. His snazzy but woefully neglected website can be found at
www.davidlday.com.

The judging committee would also like to make note of The Tell-Tale Art by Richard Novotney, which was the undisputed next choice. While Mr. Novotney will not receive a prize, we are pleased to recognize the excellence of his work.

Find a complete list of The Great Novel Contest 2015 Finalists here.

Thank you to everyone who submitted a novel manuscript to this year’s contest.  As always, we were completely blown away by the talented pool of submissions that we received, and we are forever grateful that you trust us with your work.  Running a contest with integrity that presents legitimate opportunities is something that we take very seriously, and it wouldn’t be possible without the participation of so many fantastic writers.

Thank you to all of our volunteers, from the crew who helped publicize and promote the contest, to those who helped us organize and facilitate the submissions, to those who served as part of our judging committee, you folks are fantastic, thank you!  Our group is a product of its outstanding members, and you guys are the cream of the crop!

A special huge thanks goes to our Contest Coordinator, Mr. Todd Metcalf, as well as Deputy Director Emily Hitchcock and Director Brad Pauquette, for their tireless efforts, without which this contest would never be sustainable.

Congratulations to Mr. Zach Boddicker and Mr. David L. Day for their tremendous accomplishments.  Keep an eye out for these novels from a publisher soon.

Don’t forget that we will be opening submissions for our next anthology, Best of Ohio Short Stories: Volume II on June 1!  Find the details here.

Best of Ohio Short Stories Volume II Official Submission Guidelines

Best of Ohio Short StoriesCalling all Ohio writers!

We are now collecting submissions for our next anthology project! Submissions for Best of Ohio Short Stories: Volume II began on June 1, 2015 and will close on June 30, 2015.

The complete anthology will be released in the fall of 2015, to all major markets in print and digital formats.

It is free to submit a story for consideration to this anthology.  While paid membership with Columbus Creative Cooperative is encouraged and appreciated, it is not required and will not impact your likelihood of selection for inclusion in the book.

We are looking for short stories, of length between 1,000 and 10,000 words.  We will accept fiction and narrative (creative) non-fiction.  We are looking for exceptional work from ALL genres.

This is not a contest, it is an open call for submissions.  All stories will be fairly considered, and those deemed most appropriate for publication will receive an offer.

Columbus Creative Cooperative has been professionally producing anthologies since 2011.  For more information about the type and quality of books we produce, please browse our published work.

We are seeking fictional short stories and narrative non-fiction stories that conform to the following guidelines:

Genre: Any genre is fine.  We are looking for narratives (stories) with developed plot and characters.  Fiction and non-fiction stories are both encouraged.

Minimum Word Count: 1,000 words
Maximum Word Count: 10,000 words

Submissions Open: June 1, 2015
Submissions Close: June 30, 2015

“Ohio Writer” Qualifications: If any one of the following items is true, then we consider you an “Ohio writer”:

You were born in Ohio
You graduated from a school in Ohio (high school, college, university, etc.)
You currently reside in Ohio
You are currently actively enrolled at a school in Ohio
Your current permanent address is in Ohio
You lived 5+ continuous years as a permanent resident in Ohio at any time

We’re sorry, but for this project we’re only accepting work from qualified “Ohio writers.”

Content Guidelines: Stories must not exceed reasonable content for a PG-13 rating.  Language, violence and sexual themes with a purpose are fine, however, gratuitous violence and graphic sexuality will not be accepted.  More info on PG-13 guidelines.

How to submit your work:
1) Create a free CCC account (register here).
2) Confirm your account via the email you registered.
3) Log into your account at ColumbusCoop.org.
4) Click on “Submit a short story for the Best of Ohio anthology.”
5) Fill out the simple form and upload your work.

*You must submit your work as a PDF.  Creating a PDF is free and easy.  Get PDF instructions.

Compensation: Writers who are selected for publication will share an equal portion of the book’s profits.  Submitting your work does NOT obligate you to publish with us. If your work is selected for publication, you’ll receive an offer, which you may choose to accept or decline at that time.

Submission Cost: You may submit one story to this project for free!  “Writer” level CCC members may submit up to three stories for consideration.

Publication: The book will be distributed to local retailers and sold online.  The book will also be released as an e-book to the major markets.  Tentative release date is November 1, 2015.

Questions: Please see our Publication FAQ for answers to common questions.  If you can’t find the answer you’re looking for, please contact us.