Tag: writer conferences

writer conferences

Writing: It’s A Team Sport

I mentioned people yesterday. Let’s talk more about that. We’ve all heard what a singular endeavor writing can be, shuttered away in a dark corner with just your imagination and your preferred implements for putting thoughts on paper. I bought into that image for a while. Then I asked a friend with an impressive list of non-fiction credits to her name for advice. What should I do once I had a completed manuscript that I thought was pretty good? “Test it out. Workshop it at writers’ conferences,” she said. That turned out to be darned good advice. Life-changing, in fact. Finding the right conferences introduced me to the difference between writing for myself and writing commercial fiction. Both are fine, of course. But the latter was my goal and there’s nothing lonely about it. Yes, it’s my butt in the chair creating characters and weaving their stories. However, I learned very quickly commercial writing is a team effort. Agents, editors, publishers, publicists, mentors, writing groups, and, the crown jewels: readers. At writers’ conferences, you get to meet and mingle with them all. Take a look at the photo in this post. I snapped it while attending a recent conference. It illustrates my point. Agents dance with writers they may or may not have previously known or represent. Aspiring authors chat with best sellers. My favorite part is the table in the foreground. An author pitches an editor over dessert. She’s a writer after my own heart. I know she got some great advice. This photo reveals the beauty of writers’ conferences. They’re what you make of them. Finding your tribe. Meeting your heroes. Being mentored by industry professionals. All opportunities of a lifetime. If you’re serious about writing for the commercial market, go. Period. This is the perfect time of year to start planning your conference schedule for 2017. Which ones are you most interested in attending?  

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Bouchercon Goals

Bouchercon, the largest gathering of mystery and thriller writers in the United States, can be an overwhelming experience. Every hour, there are panels filled with successful, interesting and respected writers. There’s the bar where most folks hang out until the wee hours of the morning. There are lunches with publishers, meetings with editors, and drinks with agents. What do you go to? How to spend the time? Obviously, any meeting with a writer’s agent or publisher is a must. After that, I prioritize lunches and dinners with fellow authors, ideally ones that either write similar stories (domestic suspense, for me), have experiences with similar people (same publisher or editor, for example) or have advanced from where I am and can offer sage advice.  As much as Bouchercon is a place to promote my work, it’s also a place to get out of the writing cocoon and meet people who can relate to the process of crafting a novel, working with a publisher, and promoting a book. These people have invaluable insights into the business. They can let me know whether my experience with a publisher is par for the course, exceptional, or worse than anticipated by relating their own experiences. They can provide insight into what I may have to contend with five, ten or fifteen years into my career. Most importantly, writers can help other writers feel less insecure.  Everybody needs coworkers–particularly people who work alone.      

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