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Anatomy of a Submission with Laura Stanfill

April 6, 2016 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm


On Wednesday, April 6, at the Salem Public Library, Willamette Writers hosts Laura Stanfill, publisher of Portland’s Forest Avenue Press, who will discuss some not-so-obvious red flags that can sabotage writers’ submission. Join us! 

Anatomy of a Submission

It’s competitive out there for writers seeking a home for their fiction projects. A poorly written query letter, or a manuscript that doesn’t start in the right place, can cause editors and agents to pass. Laura Stanfill, publisher of Portland’s Forest Avenue Press, will discuss some not-so-obvious red flags that can sabotage your submission, how important taste is when it comes to acquisitions, how to research your intended recipient’s wish list to maximize your potential success, and some common first-page blunders.

Laura has been reviewing unagented submissions since 2013 and will pull anonymous examples from the slush pile to illustrate her points. This is also your opportunity to get feedback from Laura on your query. So put April 6th on your calendar and join us!

* Note: this meeting is not on our usual meeting day *

About Our Speaker – Laura Stanfill

Laura Stanfill of Forest Avenue PressLaura Stanfill is the founder and publisher of Forest Avenue Press. Superstar author Beth Kephart called her “an editor who deeply loves her authors and is committed to finding a broad audience,” and Forest Ave author Stevan Allred said, “I didn’t get just an up-and-coming publisher when Laura Stanfill took on A Simplified Map of the Real World. I got a gifted editor, a savvy marketer, an enthusiastic publicist, an energetic events coordinator, and a tireless advocate for my book. We are still marketing the heck out of it.”

Laura is a sought-after public speaker on the topic of small press publishing, with recent appearances at Pacific University, the University of Oregon, Wordstock, the Compose conference, Oregon Writers Colony, Corban University, the Manzanita Writers’ Series, and Willamette University’s Institute for Continued Learning.

As a community newspaper editor, Laura earned numerous statewide awards for her writing and editorial skills, including general excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists, first place for headline writing from the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association, and the Consumer Issues Reporting Award from the Oregon Trial Lawyers Association for a series on contractor fraud.

Forest Avenue Press' author, Ellen Urbani, reading at Powell's

Forest Avenue Press’ author, Ellen Urbani, reading at Powell’s

Laura’s professional background includes stints in public relations and freelancing for regional magazines and newspapers in Virginia, New York, and Oregon. Her most unusual achievement is writing a 296-page school district budget, which received the Association of School Business Offices’ Meritorious Budget Award for excellence in preparation.


Laura received her bachelor’s degree in English from Vassar College and earned the school’s Jane Dealy Wirsig Prize for achievements in journalism.

To learn more about Laura and her work visit Forest Avenue Press’ website  and follow her on Twitter: @ForestAvePress. You may also want to read an interview with Laura on Poets & Writers: “Small Press Points: Forest Avenue Press.”

About the Salem Chapter

The Salem Chapter is part of Willamette Writers, Oregon’s largest writers group. We meet on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Salem Public Library (Central Library, Anderson Room B).

Meeting Format

6:30-7 pm:         social time, including news and member announcements*
7-8:30 pm:         speaker’s presentation followed by Q&A and book sales/signing

* We have snacks, but if you want coffee or water, please bring it with you.


Free for members of Willamette Writers (all chapters). Free for full-time students under 22 years old. Guests of Willamette Writers members pay $5. Non-members pay $10 to attend meetings.

Connect with the Salem Chapter

We think writers are awesome!

  • Join our meetings and workshops if you’re a writing enthusiasts from the Salem area, if you happen to be in the area, or if you are interested in a specific topic/speaker.
  • Like our Facebook Page to keep in touch.
  • Explore our blog and subscribe to it to receive notifications of new posts about local events and opportunities by email.
  • Join our mailing list to learn what’s coming up next for the chapter.
  • Find a local critique group or announce your group.
  • Contact us privately if you have a specific inquiry or an announcement to share with the chapter.

All writers welcome. Join us!


April 6, 2016
6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
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Salem Public Library
585 Liberty St SE
Salem, OR 97301 United States
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