Showing posts with label writing conference. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing conference. Show all posts

Sunday, November 15, 2020

I attended a terrific writing conference this past week.

I spent the last few days at a writers' conference. 
The NC Writers' Network held their fall conference online, on Zoom, and I could attend from my home. I used my computer and listened in with my phone. Ed Southern, Charles Fiore, and Deonna Kelli Sayed work for the Network and they put together this fine group of instructors and participants from everywhere.

One of the best parts of online meetings is seeing all those participating. Although we have over 100 members in our NC Writers' Network West, I have not met many of them. But with Zoom, I have met several writers from the northern most county of our group, Henderson County.

I was very disappointed that we didn't have many of our local members attend the conference. It was most informative and one of the sessions that impressed me was Touring and Promoting Your Book on a Budget. The instructor was Lyndsay Hall who was in Los Angeles, her home. Lyndsay is the founder of Savilla Writers House. She is young but so savvy on her subject. 


Lyndsay plans book tours for authors. In her presentation, she gave us many tips on how to promote and reach people even during this pandemic. As I have been saying for years, an author today must get online, use the Internet to find readers. She spoke about community building and much of this is done through online media. Lyndsay spoke about authors she has worked with and has the experience she recommended to us. I will refer to my notes and the recording I will receive from NCWN for classes I teach and to help myself and my students when they need to get the word out about their books.

Another session our local writers would have benefited from was by Betsy Thorpe, an editor, with an impressive background. She explained the duties of an editor who works for a traditional press.

She told us about POD publishing and about small presses. She pointed out that with POD, (Print-on-demand) books never go out of print. The writer doesn't have to order tons of books to warehouse in his home.

Author beware when looking to self-publish a book. It is easy to get conned into an agreement where the author is paying far more than he receives for the service offered. Sometimes a publisher will offer packages for different prices and a list of services for the author. 

I have seen authors ripped off by publishers who help you self-publish. They might promise great marketing and distribution, but when that service is needed, the author finds he is expected to pay for airline tickets across the country to attend some festival he never heard of. Often these companies continue to ask for money from the author. So, we must be careful.

Betsey Thorpe praised Blair Publishing because they do many of the things a big publisher does for an author such as copy editor, line editor, book jacket design and press releases. This company only publishes ten books a year.

Over one million books are self-published each year. I was surprised when she said the 18-29 year olds were reading more than other age groups. I thought over 65 would read more, but not so.
I also learned that the category of books that are selling best are audio books. I know that is what I buy now. Paperbacks are next best selling category.

Another note from this conference. Publishers prefer books under 100,000 words whether it be memoir or a novel. The reason is the cost of paper and all the costs to create a book. The cost of the book must be kept down so the book can be sold at a reasonable price most people feel they can afford.

I appreciate the NC Writer's Network holding this online conference. If life were normal NCWN would have held their annual Fall Writing Conference in a major city in the state. I feel one of the blessings of this horrible virus is that I have found online writing classes and they have made a huge difference in my life. I expect to teach another one in January, 2021.

Have you taken any online courses during this pandemic?
Do you have any positives in your life because of the pandemic?






Saturday, January 28, 2017

The making of a Writers Conference

We have had some unseasonal weather, warm and almost spring-like, but maybe more snow on Sunday.

It is good weather for working indoors. Between de-cluttering or downsizing I have been busy for months working on the NCWN-West writers conference, A Day for Writers.

This one day conference will be chock-full of interesting information for writers. We have two headliners: Terry Kay, award-winning author of 17 novels who will  talk in two sessions on writing fiction. Visit his website to see what this man has done in his life. He has had a phenomenal career. Three of his books were made into movies by the Hallmark channel. 

Kathryn Stripling Byer is our other headliner. She is not only an outstanding poet, she is the first woman to be selected as Poet Laureate of North Carolina. Read about her achievements and on her website

Putting together a conference like this takes hours of time and it doesn't happen quickly. I enlisted some of our members of NCWN-West for ideas. They were helpful. My job then was to contact people, see if they were interested in coming and make them an offer I hoped they would accept. 

Some writers and poets volunteered to speak and some I contacted said they could not come for one reason or another. One of the novelists never responded to my e-mail. 

I am lucky that over the past twenty years working with our writing group in volunteer positions and as Program Coordinator, I met many, many writers. Some of them write children's books, some speak and teach freelance writing, and some are playwrights. I contacted the writers I thought would do a good job for us at our conference. I am very happy that we will have Deanna Klingel, Tara Lynne Groth, and storyteller, folklorist, and playwright, Gary Cardin on our program. 

Catherine Carter, outstanding poet and professor at Western Carolina University, is one of  our presenters, and she has been extremely helpful to me in planning this conference. Catherine's poetry is well-published and highly praised. Her books will be for sale at the conference, as will those of all our presenters. 

Few people realize the time it takes to organize and gather good presenters for a conference. Once I had the  names of those on the program, I had to figure out a schedule for the day. I also figure the budget and hope we have enough registrants to take care of our costs. 

With the  help of Joan Gage we have begun publicity on www.netwestwriters.blogspot.com 
Our news about A Day for Writers will be published on our blog. 

Although the conference is five months away, all the details must be ready to publish soon so people can put this date on their calendars. My job includes finding volunteers who will help with registration, collect brochures, fill packets, alphabetize them with name tags to hand out the morning of the conference. We will need a volunteer to take charge of lunch, coffee all day  and pastries in the morning. So much goes on behind the scenes while we hope those attending have all they need to make their day as perfect as possible. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Invest in Yourself

Alice Osborn sends out a newsletter chock full of good advice for writers. This is a little snippet from one of them.

  1. Invest in yourself with a good computer, and with go to conferences, classes/workshops to keep developing professionally as a writer. Read "how to write" books and books within your genre. Hire a writing coach and do your homework. You need to put some skin in the game and when you spend money on yourself, you’ll know you’re a “real” writer.
I believe that we must invest in ourselves as writers and in our writing
If I want to be a doctor, I will study medicine. If I want to be a painter, and I did at one time, I will study painting with the best teacher I can find.
When writers tell me they can't afford to go to workshops or study with writing teachers, my reply is we spend money where we want to spend money. We set our priorities. We pay dues to organizations for writers because the organization can benefit us and other writers. How do they do that? Sometimes it is simply by connecting us to those who can help us. It is by bringing together the best authors for us to hear and learn from their experience. 

I am pleased to look back on the past year of classes at Writers Circle. We hosted excellent instructors, some who teach at colleges in North Carolina and Georgia: Scott Owens, William Wright, Robert S. King, Carol Crawford, Karen Holmes, Robert Lee Brewer, Michael Diebert and Dr. Gene Hirsch. That is an outstanding line up of talented writers and poets. Thanks to Karen Holmes who introduced several of the poetry teachers to Writers Circle. She is already on the schedule to teach next year.

Beginning in March, 2014, we will start a new series of workshops and we are in process of lining up more excellent teachers for the writers in our area. I hope everyone will take advantage of the opportunity to study with them.

I am blessed to have had classes with outstanding writers over the past seventeen years including Kathryn Stripling Byer, Nancy Simpson, Steve Harvey, Maureen Ryan Griffin, Fred Chappell, R.T. Smith and so many other writers at conferences and through the John Campbell Folk School writing program. Conferences and week-long writing retreats are well worth the investment if you want to be a writer. But those who can't afford to spend a few hundred dollars in one lump sum, can certainly set aside $35 - $40 dollars a month for a three hour writing class. Meantime, they can attend critique groups and get feedback on their work. That is always helpful if you join a group with writers who are experienced and who have had their work published in reputable publications. 

Check our Schedule page on this site often to see who will be teaching at Writers Circle around the Table in 2014.