At HAND/EYE Magazine, we feature many not-for-profit artisan organizations that help empower women in developing countries to use craft as a source of income.

All the items created are tangible. Many have practical purposes and others are purely decorative. When you purchase that colorful suzani throw pillow you know you’ve contributed—in a small way—in breaking the cycle of poverty by supporting the womem artisans and their families.

That leads me to another group that’s helping raise funds for a group of women who are writers but also mothers.

In early November, Writer Unboxed will be officially hosting its very first conference–The UnConference. It will be held in Salem, MA a week prior to the literary festival. A handful of writers I know will be traveling as far as from Down Under and Spain to attend. However this is no small feat for these women because they are travelling a great distance, but also have to worry about childcare while they’re away.

Thanks to the team effort of writers from the Writer Unboxed and Pitches & Plots Facebook communities, The fundraiser WriterMamas was put into motion to help our friends from abroad or across the country to attend the conference.

How is the organization raising money? It’s fairly simple and uses a clever lure: purchasing books.

Yes, we’re addicted to books. And pens. And notebooks. And office supplies. And coffee. In some cases we may have gone cold turkey by buying a few apps like Scrivener that does it all, or switched to drinking green tea, but books we simply can’t stop ourselves from that addiction.

But these aren’t your run-of-the-mill New York Times bestsellers. These are reference books. To be more specific, books about the craft of writing otherwise known as The Successful Author’s Toolkit. This formidible collection includes:

  • Lori Wilde’s GOT HIGH CONCEPT? New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde offers a step-by-step guidebook for creating a “high concept, ” premise for your novel, as well as creativity and brainstorming exercises, and ways to make your current concept even stronger.
  • Mary Buckham’s WRITING ACTIVE SETTING Boxed Set. USA Today bestselling author Mary Buckham has created a perfect craft resource for beginners and established writers alike. It will help you move your novel from ordinary to active setting, create engaging descriptions, and deepen your sensory world building.
  • Cathy Yardley’s ROCK YOUR WRITING Complete Set. Cathy’s a publishing veteran with fifteen years of experience and seventeen novels published. She is offering the complete Rock Your Writing library — Rock Your Plot, Rock Your Revisions, Rock Your Query, and Write Every Day — as well as her new, not-yet-released marketing course Painless Promotion, which covers the intricate details of branding, tactics, and creating your own customized strategy and marketing calendar, with corresponding hours of audio, full PDF transcripts, workbooks, and infographics.  (Note:  this course itself will retail for $70!) BONUS:  You can also get 50% off editing services with proof of purchase of the bundle.  Cathy has worked with New York Times bestsellers and helped authors with both traditional and indie published authors. You can purchase the bundle now and use the discount on one project through July 2015!
  • Sean Platt and Johnny Truant’s WRITE. PUBLISH. REPEAT.  Publishing rebels and iconoclasts Sean Platt and Johnny Truant are renowned for their informative (and hilarious) Self Publishing Podcast. Drawing on their experiences as successful full-time indie novelists with a strong information marketing background, this is a guidebook for understanding your market, and building a marketing plan, as well as technical details of covers, title, formatting, pricing, and publishing to multiple platforms.
  • Dan Blank’s A WRITER’S GUIDE TO BLOGGING. Well known publishing professional Dan Blank has worked with companies like Random House, Perseus Books, Publisher’s Weekly, Writer’s Digest, and Writers House, assisting them in setting strategy to grow and engage their audience. In this ebook, he focuses on helping you craft a blog that attracts readers (not just other writers!), identify your ideal audience, craft content that engages, and create a blog that showcases your voice and expertise.
  • Tim Grahl’s YOUR FIRST 1000 COPIES. Book marketing expert Tim Grahl — who has worked with bestsellers such as Hugh Howey and the Heath brothers — walks you through how successful authors are using online marketing tools to build their platform, connect with readers, and sell more books. Special bonus! He’s including the podcast episode “just for fiction writers” for more specific ways to apply the principles — something not currently offered for sale!
  • CJ Lyons and Joanna Penn, PROWRITER: SECRETS OF AN AUTHOR ENTREPRENEUR course. New York Times bestseller CJ Lyons and esteemed blogger and sci-fi novelist Joanna Penn (of are offering one of their ProWriter author courses.This comprehensive course includes videos, mp3 audio files, and PDFs for sessions which cover the creative mindset (including dealing with writer’s block), being a professional writer, productivity and time management, the financials of traditional and independent publishing, and creative entrepreneurship. Great checklists and bonuses, as well!  (This course normally retails for $69!)
  • Donald Maass, THE CAREER NOVELIST. Donald Maass, noted literary agent and author of Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction, offers his classic book on strategies for navigating traditional publishing, including the marketing game, the best way to choose an agent, the give and take of collaboration, and more.

The entire cost is only $100. That’s a 50 percent discount. To raise $15,000, WriterMamas needs to sell 150 copies of the bundle. The group has so far sold 39 book packages, and they’ve asked me how I can help my sister writers. The best way I know is to share this with you.

Why am I doing this? Because writing conferences can be a valuable experience for authors — the information, the focus, the connections,and the camaraderie. But writers who are mothers with small kids often find it difficult to manage, both financially and from a time standpoint to take the time to attend a conference. That usually spells out that the dream of writing takes a back seat to the demands of family life.

In The Princess BrideWilliam Goldman wrote “Life isn’t fair, it’s just fairer than death, that’s all.” And that’s very true, but we have it in our power to make it a little fairer for those who have less.

So if you’ve been eyeing these books, treat yourself and help a fellow writer achieve a small part of that dream because when you do good, you feel good.

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