ALAN RINZLER'S YEARLY WRITERS' WORKSHOP
Years ago, when I finished writing my first novel SoMa, I took the manuscript to Alan Rinzler’s annual critique. I persuaded two friends who had also just completed books to attend as well. Let's just say that Rinzler told us not to quit our day jobs. Actually, that's sugarcoating it. He eviscerated us. He dropped our manuscripts from the height of his lectern onto the dusty floor. Thump! He told us there was no way any of our books would ever be published. We left Cody’s that day disheartened, wounded and fuming.
All of our books, the same ones Rinzler attacked, have since been published. One came out in the U.S., and has been sold in 18 foreign countries. The other disparaged author from that day has since put out two novels, including one the San Francisco Chronicle selected as a notable book of 2007. My own novel became a bestseller.
So I guess you should expect me to tell aspiring writers to avoid Rinzler and his acerbic tongue.
Quite the contrary. As a veteran editor who’s worked with the likes of Toni Morrison and Hunter Thompson, Rinzler represents a common mindset in the publishing world. If you want to be a writer, you’ll run into dozens of Rinzlers. You’d better get used to it.
Yes, he was zero for three with us. But once we got over the trauma of that day, we were each a bit stronger for it. I think the experience emboldened me for the journey ahead. I found myself having a new sense of conviction about my work. No doubt it made me have a thicker skin, which is absolutely essential if you intend to subject your creativity to the publishing process and then to public opinion.
The Rinzler workshop is free. It kicks off this Superbowl Sunday.
Go to Cody’s website for the detailed guidelines on how to submit your work ahead of time.
Alan Rinzler's Yearly Writers' Workshop
Sunday, February 3, 3:00 p.m.
Cody’s, 1730 Fourth St., Berkeley. (510) 559-9500
(Note: Rinzler workshops will also be held on March 9 and April 6.)