Unexpected Sychronicity at a Writers Conference
Writing conferences are a valuable resource for writers if you attend with enthusiasm and an openness to learn. Many opportunities and surprises arise when meeting other writers and writing professionals. Every conference I learn something new, meet someone interesting and enhance my writing career. At a recent conference in NJ given by the Liberty States Fiction Writers, I was contacted after the conference about an editor's appointment I had that was rescheduled and that I had missed. I never requested an editor's appoint because I was submitting to agents with my current project. I was told because of the mix up that day, the editor would welcome a partial submission from me. I did have another polished manuscript available so I submitted that one. Never let an opportunity pass by.
This past weekend I attended the The Write Stuff Conference given by Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group. One speaker, http://bonniescalhoun.com/aboutme.html Bonnie Calhoun, said writers should never stop learning. She gave workshops on Snark and Suspense and Dialogue. Many times I hear writers say they don’t take craft workshops anymore because they know enough craft. That’s a writer who will never improve in my opinion. I continue to take craft and business workshops. Some parts may be a review of what I know, and sometimes the review is a good reminder to make sure I’m not getting lazy in my work. Offen times, I'm learning something new to enhance my writing. And many times a speaker gives great examples like Bonnie did with the Dialogue lecture, and I have fresh ideas on how to improve my writing.
The keynote speaker and lecturer, Jane Friedman, http://janefriedman.com/ completely amazed me with her knowledge of the publishing world. She’s the current editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, http://www.vqronline.org/ and former publisher of Writer’s Digest magazine. Besides her broad understanding of what is going on in publishing, she has an enormous reach and knowledge in social networking and the online cyberspace. She gives free advice for writers on her website and has an awesome blog which I started following. http://janefriedman.com/blog/
She recommended a couple author sites to check out to see how some authors are using creative ways to reach readers. John Green and his (vlog) blog videos have a huge following. He’s entertaining and doesn’t get into the “Buy my Book” push. http://johngreenbooks.com/ . Also CJ Lyons http://cjlyons.net/ has created a Thrillers With Heart group on Goodreads that promote other Thriller authors like Tess Gerritsen, Sandra Brown, and Lee Childs. She’s gained readers by helping other authors.
The graph Jane showed demonstrating the number of traditionally sold books over the last several years, compared to the self-published books was mind boggling. Traditionally sold has remained pretty constant, while the self-published has shot up over the last couple years. Online sales for ebook and print have increased while book sales in book stores and dropped. Not a surprise.
The detailed workshop on Friday for Editing and Revision with Ramona DeFelice-Long http://ramonadef.wordpress.com/ was excellent. Perfect timing since I'm in the middle of editing/revising my manuscript.
I also met a few other people who were interesting to talk to and were kind enough to take the time to answer some questions. Don Helin http://www.donhelin.com/ writes military thrillers. He’s served in the military and also worked at the Pentagon. He gave me great advice for a scene in my current book. Also author Jeanette Windle http://www.jeanettewindle.com/ has lived an interesting and exciting life as a daughter of missionary parents. She grew up in the jungles and mountains of Columbia, now guerrilla hot spots and lived in six different countries. And her research skills have stumped CIA and other government organizations. She also gave me some ideas for my currents book.
Besides all the speakers, it’s always great to hang out and talk to fellow writers in my group from the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group www.glvwr.org , visiting writers, editors and agents. Check out some of the sites in this post or all when you get a chance, you’d be surprised by how much valuable information is available to writers.