A variety of speakers share information about the craft and business of writing.



We welcome and encourage all writers.

3rd Thursday --- February through October

6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Petaluma Community Center, 320 No. McDowell Blvd. Petaluma

$15 at the door.

Join us! Bring a friend!


I have always considered Writers Forum one of the best things about Petaluma.  Jane Merryman

Writers Forum has been pivotal in getting me motivated, focused, and published. Thank you for supporting writers and providing such a wonderful venue!  D. Zelenakova

I have found Writers Forum to be professional with lots of information.  Many of the speakers have been outstanding presenters.  Jane Person

2015 Presenters

February 19

Helen Sedwick


How to protect your work and your wallet

Writing and publishing a book is an investment of time, money and emotion. No one wants to give away their copyright by signing the wrong contract, or waste money by buying into a scam, or lose sleep by getting sued for defamation.
Writer and lawyer Helen Sedwick uses thirty years of experience to cut through the legalese and show writers how to:

  • Set up their business
  • Hire freelancers
  • Protect their copyrights
  • Understand publishing and POD contracts
  • Spot scams
  • Avoid infringement
  • Steer clear of defamation and privacy claims
  • Navigate social media regulations
  • Collaborate with partners
  • Save on taxes

 Her  goal--to keep writers out of court and at their desks writing new books.
Helen Sedwick is a California attorney representing small business and entrepreneurs. She recently released Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook to help writers navigate the legal minefields of blogging and self-publishing. Her historical novel Coyote Winds earned five-star reviews from ForeWord Reviews and Compulsion Reads and is an IndieBRAG Medallion Honoree.

March 19

Amanda McTigue


No doubt about it: we writers love to write, hate to sell. How could it be otherwise? We’re the oddballs who’d rather spend vast quantities of time alone in our imaginations. And yet these days, we’re told not only must we craft (and sometimes publish) our works, but also find readers to read them: a daunting challenge compounded by our own dread. What’s a writer to do?

On the heels of her brainstorming session at the Aqus Written Word Mixer in Petaluma last October, we’ve asked Amanda McTigue to share more of her out-of-the-box thinking on one of our least favorite challenges. Promising a swap-meet of ideas, Amanda’s interactive session will offer insights, resources and creative calisthenics to help us connect to readers.

Author, playwright, stage director and storyteller, Amanda McTigue has also worked for decades as a creative marketing consultant for such clients as Walt Disney Entertainment, Paramount Entertainment and design firms such as Thinkwell and The Hettema Group in Los Angeles. Her novel, “Going to Solace,” was cited by public radio KRCB’s “Word by Word” as a Best Read of 2012. She also makes regular appearances at Petaluma’s “West Side Stories” and “Get Lit.” She’s busy completing short stories and a second novel.

April 16

Brooke Warner

What Next? What Authors Need to Know about What Happens After They're Done Writing Their Book

Today's publishing world is a brave new frontier. The barriers to traditional publishing are so high that many aspiring authors have begun to lose hope about getting a traditional deal. Self-publishing has lots of success stories, but it's truly the Wild West. Then there are a whole slew of new in-between models: hybrid, partnership, author-assisted. What's a new author to do? How can you make sense of what's out there and do what's best for you (while avoiding pitfalls and getting taken advantage of)? These are important business questions for authors seeking publishing answers. Brooke Warner, publisher, coach, and industry expert, will give you the true lay of the new land, explaining each of the models that exist—from traditional to self and everything in between. This conversation (questions are welcome!) will help any author, whether they've published before or not, make sense of what's happening in the industry and leave understanding how to navigate these complicated waters. If you feel daunted by what happens after you finish your book, this evening will be just what you're looking for to help you feel equipped for the publishing journey ahead.  

Brooke Warner is publisher of She Writes Press, president of Warner Coaching Inc., and author of What's Your Book? and How to Sell Your Memoir. Brooke’s expertise is in traditional and new publishing, and she is an equal advocate for publishing with a traditional house and self-publishing. She sits on the board of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) and the National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW).  Her website was selected by The Write Life as one of the Top 100 Best Websites for Writers in 2014. She lives and works in Berkeley, California.

May 21

Looking for an editor?

A panel of editors discuss their editing styles. Meet the editors, then gather in small groups to find the right editor for you.

Mark Burstein is a freelance editor of both nonfiction and fiction. His clients include Chronicle Books, Insight Editions, Harry N. Abrams, and Welcome Books, as well as many authors.

B. Lynn Goodwin, owner of Writer Advice, author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers and Talent, a forthcoming YA, and is the editor at Writer Advice’s Manuscript Consultation Service. She specializes in everything from asking questions about plot, characters, and pacing to correcting mechanics.  

Karen Hart:  Award-winning writer, editor and novelist, Karen Hart, has served as the editor for two corporate magazines and a newsletter and continues to be slightly obsessive-compulsive about all writing endeavors.

Linda Jay is a book manuscript copyeditor with decades of experience who works with authors in the U.S. and other countries; genres she specializes in are: business, novels, memoirs, spirituality, women's issues, academic topics and fantasy (vampires, zombies).

Frances Lefkowitz is the Good Housekeeping book reviewer, a freelance writer and editor, who teaches at the Sun Magazine’s writing workshops and the Writer workshops in West Marin program. 

Jane Merryman specializes in copy editing: correcting grammar, spelling, punctuation, usage, and, as we say in the profession, infelicities.

Elaine Silver helps you realize the greatest potential of your writing by discovering your true intent and translating it to the pages of your book.   

June 18

To be announced.

July 16

To be announced.

August 20

To be announced.

September 17

To be announced.

October 15

To be announced.


Writers Forum does not meet in November.


Writers Forum does not meet in December.