Introducing the New DIY MFA Web Editor: Bess McAllister

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Community

Today I have an exciting announcement. For some time now I’ve wanted to expand the DIY MFA leadership. A project like this can only grow so much with one person at the helm and I’ve realized that sooner or later I’d have to start sharing the load. Also, let’s get real, much as I would love to be good at everything, I know my strengths lie in developing writing tools and curriculum and when it comes to things like social media I can be somewhat… forgetful. I needed someone to help me give the DIY MFA social media presence a boost, to curate guest articles, and also to add variety to the DIY MFA website and articles with a fresh voice that is different from mine. Enter Bess Cozby.

Bess McAllister is the new DIY MFA Web Editor.

As Web Editor at DIY MFA, Bess will be taking on most of the social media duties. This means she’ll be doing most of tue updates on the Facebook and Google+ Pages and tweeting with the handle @TeamDIYMFA. I’ll still be on Twitter as @DIYMFA so all tweets coming from that handle are direct from me. I’ll also continue writing all Writer Fuel newsletters, unless otherwise noted. We’ve been testing out this method for a few weeks and so far it’s working, but as always if we make any changes or adjustments we’ll keep you all in the loop. I believe that it’s very important for you to know who the tweets, shares and updates are coming from so we make it a priority to keep you informed of any changes. Aside from social media, Bess will write articles at DIY MFA more regularly and will help me plan the editorial calendar. Bess will be the go-to person to field requests from writers who want to do guest articles on the DIY MFA site (more details on that later this week). In addition, she’ll be helping me line up Q&A articles or video interviews with authors and industry professionals. If you want to get in touch with Bess directly, you can email her at: bess [at] DIYMFA [dot] com

A few things about Bess that you might not already know.

You probably remember Bess being among the team of interns that joined DIY MFA. You also may have noticed her byline on several DIY MFA articles in recent weeks.Or you might know Bess via her hilarious blog It’s the World, Dear where she writes about her adventures in New York City and in writing. And that’s just the beginning. Bess is just the person to help with the DIY MFA social media presence. She’s worked with a best-selling author as a social media and marketing assistant and this winter she is serving as an editorial assistant at Tor/Forge books. But what you probably wouldn’t guess is that Bess has been involved with DIY MFA from the very beginning, even before this project was it’s own entity and was just a link off of my personal blog. That’s right. Bess has been one of the very first followers of DIY MFA and she’s seen this project grow from the ground up. In September of 2010, I decided to do a one-month test-run of DIY MFA on my personal blog. At the time, I had no idea if DIY MFA would have an audience (much less business potential) so this was all a shot in the dark. As part of an incentive to get people interested in DIY MFA, I decided to offer a free critique to a randomly-selected participant who signed up for the mailing list, I drew the winner at the end of the one-month experiment and guess what, Bess won. As we emailed back and forth to set up a time for the critique, we eventually figured out that not only did we live in the same city, but I lived in the same neighborhood where she worked. At this point it was inevitable that we would do the critique session in person over coffee instead of over Skype. We met at the Lincoln Center Atrium, a glorious indoor public space and a great spot to write. Right away Bess and I bonded over our love of teen literature, New York City and, of course, all things related to writing. We stayed in touch long after that afternoon and a few months later when my writing group was on the lookout for new members, I suggested we invite Bess. After that, she and I have attended conferences together, read one another’s work an and become trusted writing colleagues. Since she’s one of the few people who’s seen the concept develop from day one, Bess has been one of my go-to people for feedback on DIY MFA materials. She’s not afraid to give honest critique but also knows how to do it in such a way that even the most fragile of egos will come out feeling all warm and fuzzy.

Please help me welcome Bess to her new role as Web Editor!

I am so excited to have Bess at DIY MFA in a more official capacity. I’ve followed her work over the years and it looks like her career is really taking off! Keep an eye on this one, people. She’s definitely going places.

Image of David Rubenstein Atrium courtesy of The American Institute of Architects.

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