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Saturday, April 16, 2005

WHAT CAN A WRITERS CONFERENCE DO FOR YOU?

I'll be attending a Christian Writer's conference in few days and I can't wait. Last year, so many doors were opened to me because of attending.
I spent years writing and learning only from 'how to' books. I thought five hundred or so for a conference was fluff money.

I'd go and be around other wannabe writers and talk some shop. Waste of money.

After getting tired of being rejected, I decided I needed to find out if maybe I could learn something in person from the pros that I wasn't able to pick up in my self-study.

I learned that, in a way, there is a gate keeper in the publishing business, and writer's conferences are it.

Now, that's certainly not to say it's impossible to be published if you've never attended one. But, making real life contact with people in the business makes all the difference.

Two writers of same talent send a proposal to an editor. One, he's never met, just like the hundred of others sitting on his desk.

The other says, we met last year at blankedy writer's conference and you invited me to send my proposal. Guess which one gets read more carefully and gets the personal reply?

What can a writer's conference do for you?

*Help you meet life-long writers friends. (Let's face it, only another writer will really want to hear about your hundredth rejection letter that had a personal comment from the editor).

* Introduce you to a critique group. (One of the single most important things you can do to improve your writing and get closer to publication) .

* Introduce you to published authors who are often willing to answer questions even long after the conference.

* Introduce you to authors who may be willing to give you an endorsement which in turn may make you more marketable.

* Teach you things about the craft that would take you years on your own to learn.

* It's so much fun! Picture it: You're dressed nice but casual, with hundreds of people just as obsessed as you with literature. Someone else cooks your meals, cleans your room, and you just have to learn more about what you love.

* You get to pitch your stories in person to editors and agents. Last year I witnessed some bonafide deals being made.

* Get your name out there. I haven't sold a novel yet, but the CB A movers and shakers are getting to know my name. And that means that if my future proposal is sitting on an editors desk along with ten others whose names he hasn't heard before, I'll bet, mine will be picked up first.

What To Bring To A Writer's Conference:

1. Bible (espescially if it's a Christian one)

2. Two copies of your proposals (best paper, error and wrinkle free)

3. A binder

4. A notebook

5. A tote bag (Lots of free books and pamphlets)

6. pens and highlighter

7. money to buy books of authors present for autographs (and good will)

8. business cards

9. Business casual clothes and all your other toiletries, etc. of course

10. Thank you cards. Someone will help you and you may not get their address (espescially if a famous author).

I leave on Sunday and come back Thursday. I'll blog when I come back and give you the high points. Who knows? I may come back signed with an agent or with a two book deal. I'm not counting on that but that's the cool thing about conferences, you never know what will happen.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

All in God Time

I know I've been away awhile. There are a few reasons for that.

1. My MS was ultimately rejected by publisher who had raved about it months ago.

I'll share that rejection later when the MS is sold. I've decided not to kiss and tell regarding actual comments until the book has a home. It's amazing how one person's opinion can quickly be adopted by another whose read it. But I promise I'll share when I can.

I was so depressed after this rejection letter. For one day, I moped, and contemplating giving up. Maybe God hadn't called me to write. Maybe working on a book for 2 years was a waste of time. I didn't know. So, I prayed and God answered. I had such a peace come over me. No voice came from Heaven "Thou shalt write!", but I decided whether or not this book was ever published, that was fine. Really. God's plans for me are always better than the ones I've made for myself.

I told God I trust Him. Maybe the book will get published, maybe I needed to write it simply for experience, or maybe it was only meant to be read by the dozen or so test readers who've already seen it.

The very next day, April Fool's Day, I received an e-mail from a very big agent fish. He was starting a file on me and was considering pitching my book and taking me on. Notice no exclamation point? Because I've come this close before. If he does sign me, fantastic! If he doesn't, the sun will still rise and I'll still be trusting God for His very awesome plan for my life.

Big agent fish will let me know mid-June if he'll be pitching my wares, he says. What's another few months?

2. The second reason I've not be diligent with my blogging is I'm preparing for a writer's conference next week.

I am so excited! I went last year and doors opened. I met my friend Ane who introduced me to her writer's critique group, which parlayed into another and now yet another. Theses groups have improved my writing immensely.

I made a couple of friends that I stay in close contact with. We encourage each other in writing and life and share insider information and contacts.

I met some published authors who've been helping me throughout the year, giving me advice and endorsements. TIP: ENDORSEMENTS WILL GET YOUR STUFF LOOKED AT!

I'll try to blog again in the next day or so on how to prepare for a writer's conference. I'll offer some advice I was glad to have gotten ahead of time, and some I wished I had.

Trust God, for your writing and for your life. Remember when you desperately wanted to marry Sean Cassidy, da do run run? Aren't you glad God didn't answer that prayer? Okay, so that was me.