Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Utah Writer's Conference

Sorry I took so long to talk about the Writer's Conference. I also would have pics but those will have to come later. (Sorry sorry sorry...but they will be well worth the wait, I hope =).
The conference was held in Sandy, Ut at the Waterford School. I only went to half days (unfortunate this, because I heard SOOO many great things about the morning classes). Here is a rundown of what we did:

Monday we had intros to the 'staff' (authors, editor, and agent). I couldn't stay for anything else that day because of babysitting issues...

Tuesday: Christopher Robbins (he was sure to make sure we knew he wasn't the cartoon character =) did an impromptu talk on the world of publishing, how the problems with the economy affected book sales, and what the future holds. Actually, he said that the children’s book market wasn’t really affected. People still want what’s best for their kids, and obviously that means books. As for YA, it was a little affected, but the future is bright. Adult books were the most affected, but I’m sure they will also get better.

He really emphasized what Publisher’s costs were because many writers are always under the impression that they are scanty with their pay-outs and picky about whom they take on. Really it came down to the investment they put in to each writer and he listed all the costs related to each book (and each department that works on said book). This I realized, as I am sure most of you do. There are a lot of people that work to put out a book. It costs a lot. Paper costs a lot. This:   Publisher

is the publisher that Mr. Robbins heads up. He made it a point to let us know that they are doing their part in using as much recyclable material as possible with each book they print off.

Another interesting thing (that again, should be obvious, but I didn’t really think much about) is that besides we, as writers, being the best sellers of our books (word of mouth, etc), we should also be thinking of the future in terms of how to best sell or market our MS. There are new technologies coming out all the time and if we can think of ways to configure our work into the world of tech., then we have a better chance of selling it.

Just a thought.

(Sorry this is going to be a long post…hopefully it is helpful to you).

LATER: Ally Condie (novelist, who wrote ‘Matched’) spoke to us about her experiences getting to the point she is at now. I won’t go into much detail, but one point that really resonated with me as a mom was that we all have lives. Each and every one of us is busy. We have family, kids, relatives, friends, work, whatever. But we still write. If it is important to us, we do it.

Anyway, maybe I shouldn’t go into too much detail about the conference or this post will end up being longer than all the posts I have on here altogether. Needlesstosay, I met and talked with several authors, including Alane Ferguson, Ann Dee Ellis, Mary E. Pearson, Sara Zarr, Ally Condie (as noted above), etc. As well as agent Mary Kole, and editor (of Sara Zarr) Jennifer Hunt. Alane Ferguson was great! She talked about first chapter blues. Ways that we can do a good job (cutting out first scenes that start in dream sequence, characters alone, thinking, writing for YA but focusing too much on adult characters…because we ARE adults and it is easy to escape into the mind of an adult character, and there were more…just basically making us CARE about the MC and jumping right into an emotion-packed sequence…but not TOO emotional, otherwise we don’t care) Blah blah blah…I can hear all your thoughts. You are all so brilliant and don’t need my blathering =). HA!

Anyway, she, Elane, did what she calls ‘Flash Critiquing’ of a couple of first pages from people in the class. She would have done more, but time was afleeting.

The Closing Ceremonies were an excellent array of silliness and prizes. Sadly, I didn’t win anything, BUT I DID get a copy of one of Sara Zarr’s books for asking a question of her editor, Jennifer Hunt, while the latter spoke to us about the publishing world. (Sara Zarr handed it to me personally! Swoons. JK =) (I’m trying to be modest and humble about this…can you tell? NO really. I am.)

On another note: I just finished ‘The Adoration of Jenna Fox’ by Mary E. Pearson. WHAT A BRILLIANT BOOK!!! No wonder they are making it into a movie! (check into that, I will). (link to her news) She really is a superb writer and really inspires me. There are certain things I really wanted to do, sort of like on the old movie ‘Willow’ where the magician of the village asks Willow ‘which finger holds the power’ (or something like that) and he wants to pick his own finger but thinks that is stupid. That is how I feel. There are things I really wanted to do in my book, but discarded those ideas because I thought I was ‘up in the night’. Now that I have been on my own personal journey of writing I am going to go back to those ideals and weave them into my story.

There is no holding back.

The only person that can make me fail,



Always remember that! (well, in your case it would be YOU that makes you fail, not me…please don’t come after me… =)

Just let loose those creative genes and be daring! Let go of all inhibition (unless that other inner voice is telling you, you really are being crazy =).

Sorry, again, this is a long post. I really learned a lot. But those of you who can’t make it to a conference, don’t despair! There are other ways to learn. The internet is a wonderful tool. Use it correctly and it will help you overcome your obstacles. I love it! It is my learning tool, my helper, my non-living teacher. There are many resources out there. Use them!

1 comment:

Natalie said...

Ooo, that sounds like a fun conference. I've only been to one conference since I started writing, but I learned so much there. It is true though that there are millions of other resources out there. The internet has made the writing and publishing process easy to understand.