Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Writers Coffeehouse in Willow Grove

Guest blog by Dawn Byrne

Can you believe there's a group of professional writers who are available to the public the last Sunday of each month? They talk about their claims to fame, share marketing information, and answer questions from the audience about anything related to writing life and its craft. Can you also believe it's free of charge?

The Philadelphia Liars Club hosts this monthly gathering called The Writers Coffeehouse at the Willow Grove Barnes & Noble in Pennsylvania on Park Avenue from 12 noon to 3 pm. The Liars are fiction writers who volunteer their time to inform and encourage networking with other writers.

November's meeting was led by Kathryn Craft, author of The Art of Falling. She blogs at where you can find out about her and her novel, which is launching January 18th in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Kathryn talked of patience with publishing and shared the reality of waiting almost two years for her book to debut. She told us that the time of publishers sending limos for authors to speak at events the publisher arranged is over. Marketing and promotion is mostly the author's job. Authors who do, and have an online following, are more desirous to publishers.

Liars suggested bringing translated versions of your work to the book sale if that applies to your work or audience. And if you're an introvert, invite to the book sale a PR pitch friend who has a personality to talk and will schmooze with customers.

Everyone introduced themselves and any writing related information. If you have a business card, bring extras to pass out during the Writers Coffeehouse. You'll surely have an opportunity to receive others. Shameless self-promotion abounds here. This helped us identify others in the group whom we could talk or network with after the meeting. I enjoyed chatting with three other inspirational writers.

The Writers Coffeehouse, photo from Liar Jon McGoran's blog
Kathryn also led an activity she used in workshops she's given in libraries. During a break in the meeting, she suggested everyone choose a book from the Barnes & Noble's shelves that struck their interest. This demonstrated how important certain elements are to sell a book: book cover; where the book is located in the store; if it's faced out or spine out; the blurb on the book; first paragraph in the work. I surprised myself with my choice. My preferred reading is inspirational. I selected a book that appeared inspirational but wasn't yet piqued my interest. Some people bought the book they used as their example.

November was National Novel Writing Month. Audience members and Liars talked about this and about editing their NaNaWriMo novels. Bernie Mojzes, Liar and co-editor of The Journal of Unlikely Entomology, mentioned a call for submissions for April. Check this out at and Jim Kristofic praised Liar Marie Lamba who is his editor for his memoir, Navahos Wear Nikes: A Reservation Life.

The Coffeehouse doesn't meet in December, but join them on January 26th 2014 and you'll be introduced to writers from a plethora of genres who are eager to inform and encourage newbies, as well as seasoned writers. You can check them out at To get updates on the Coffeehouse, go here and subscribe.

The South Jersey Writers Group plan a roadtrip to the next Writers Coffeehouse event, if you want to go, click here. Speaking of the SJWG, the above-mentioned Kathryn Craft will be our guest in February, details can be found here.

About today's guest blogger:

Dawn Byrne, a grandmother, writes inspirational and fictional stories about families from her New Jersey home. She's a member of the South Jersey Writers' Group, facilitates the Juliette Writers' Group, and teaches Sunday School. Dawn strives to leave a small carbon footprint, reads classical literature, and has stories featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Wives: 101 Daily Devotions to Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire You and Chicken Soup for the Soul: It's Christmas!: 101 Joyful Stories about the Love, Fun, and Wonder of the Holidays. Her website is, and her blog is here.


  1. Thanks for the great write-up, Dawn!

  2. Great article Dawn! Also want to mention that The Liars Club also hosts a coffeehouse on the Main Line the third Sunday of every month, at The New Leaf Club, Rosemont, PA. Info on the same sites, just wanted to mention in case it's closer for any of your readers! Rock on!

  3. Thanks, everyone for the above. Love this event. I've met so many great writers and have learned so much. Always look forward to the monthly inspiration.


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