So, I’m back in my hotel room after a full afternoon at my very first writers’ conference. And since it was packed from 2:00 to 9:00, I wanted to get some thoughts down on day 1.
When I registered for the conference back in the spring, I decided to volunteer. And what better way to get to know a few faces than to help at the registration desk. So, that’s where the fun began for me today. From 2:00 to 5:00, I helped man the registration desk. What I didn’t realize when I signed up for this shift was that I would miss the first timer’s orientation and the first general session with keynote speaker Bill Myers (if his name is not familiar to you and you are over…let’s say 30….you may remember a little cartoon series called Adventures in Odyssey. That was Bill’s project. More on why I’m calling him Bill in a bit).
So registration was fun. A few people I’ve reviewed books for on this blog came through my line—Becky Wade and Courtney Walsh. And a few more people who I’ve seen their names but haven’t read yet—and those people look nothing like what I had pictured in my head. One of the other volunteers at the check in desk and I had fun joking around with each other during the quiet times. Oh, and about ¾ of the way through my shift, I realized I’d been directing people down the wrong hall for the bathrooms.
Dinner was at 5:30. This was a genre dinner and a few people dressed up in costume. I met several new people. Interesting note: This year, 465 people registered, 140 of us are first time attendees. More than ¼ of the authors here are first timers. And while I missed the keynote address, I did get to have dinner with Bill Myers since he sat at our table.
Best story ever: Bill told us about a friend of his who wrote 2500 words a day every day for years. This friend then got thirteen rejections but kept pushing for someone to publish his stuff. The friend? Frank Peretti.
After dinner there were a couple spotlights. Basically panels with different agents and publishers. I wanted this conference to be a learning experience for me so I didn’t sign up for any appointments with editors and agents but I’m interested in hearing what they have to say so I went to one of each. A session with agents and one with a publishing house (Love Inspired). Here’s my take away:
Agents: I believe I did the right thing holding off on the agent thing. First of all, I’m not sure I want to go the traditional publisher route. Self-publishing allows me a lot of freedom. I can write as often or as sporadic as my schedule allows and I can choose my release dates. The thing that struck me most with the agents was sometimes it takes a while to have the right book at the right time. I was actually a tad discouraged after this little q&a session.
I had one more to go to. Love Inspired is the faith-based Harlequin line. I’m familiar with this line as I’ve been involved on street/influencer teams for a couple authors in this line. And they were really encouraging. They take submissions through their website, don’t require you to have an agent, and publish A LOT of books (192 a year) and are always look for new authors with a hook.
Again, not sure I’m going to even pursue that but it’s out there.
Tomorrow is the start of the classes and what I’ve been looking forward to!! Hopefully I’ll gain more knowledge and make more friends. Until then….check out my freebies from today.