Writer’s Conference Day Two

Saturday was an interesting day. Two break-out sessions in the morning: the first on ePublishing, which was very helpful; the second, 25 Ways to Earn Your Audience, also very helpful.

Then a keynote talk on The History of a Love Story. I like love stories, although I don’t admit it publicly too often, but listening to writers talk about how they developed a story bores me to tears. It does help to give me ideas though, a setting here, a plot twist there, everything is ammunition for a novel.

After lunch, where I got to talk to several other aspiring authors from around the country, there was a panel on what a new writer has to do to market themselves.

In today’s publishing world, an author who doesn’t market him or herself, who doesn’t expand his “client base,” is not likely to get published. In the words of one panelist, a good story MIGHT good published. A good story from an author who has a “platform” (an established based of readers of his blog, his stories, visitors to his website, his magazine articles) WILL get published.

Then it was time for the Pitch Slam. 90 minutes of waiting in line along with hundreds of other aspiring writers, pitching that first break-out novel. 20 agents, interested in different genres, waiting patiently to hear the good, the bad and the ugly being presented to them. I selected 5 agents who had specified they were interested in “thrillers,” the category my book falls in, and 5 possibles. Of those 10, I saw 4, plus one who had no specs of what she was looking for. Of those 5, two told me they weren’t interested in the concept, one wanted me to cut my 95,000 words to between 60-80,000 words, and two want me to send them a chapter.

Not a resounding success, but a start. One never knows where these contacts will lead.

The workshops or sessions have been very helpful. Sunday has a couple more workshops and a closing address.

This is a tough business to break into. I imagine someone trying to become a pro ballplayer faces similar obstacles. Lots of hard work, good showings in trials and tests, a break here or there to make it to The Show.

There’s an old saying, “If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.” In contrast, how much persistence on a given course is required to break through the barriers that are present?

Fortunately, I like writing. Learning the business of becoming an author is something I never imagined, and if nothing else, it’s an experience that can feed a fertile imagination into another great story.

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