Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Colorado Gold Writers Conference

First, this special note: Tomorrow, I'll be a workshop guest at Carolyn Poling Schriber's launch party for her Civil War novel, Beyond All Price. My post will be featured Wednesday afternoon and evening. Stop here tomorrow morning for more details about Carolyn's event and her novel.


Colorado Gold Writers Conference

This annual September event in Denver, sponsored by Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, is at the top of my list for fall conferences. I try to go every year. Some years I volunteer for timekeeper/moderator tasks, but this year I worked a two-hour shift at registration and spent the rest of my time acting like a regular attendee. Needless to say, I had a great time visiting with old friends, making a few new ones, and connecting faces to names for those fun folk I'd met online through Yahoo! Groups or blogging.

The Colorado Gold conference featured five different panels or workshops each hour. Some sessions lasted only hour, others were two. In the program, each session was identified by its intended audience (basic craft, advanced craft, marketing, career development, special interest) to help attendees decide which workshops would help them the most.

This year, I wanted to focus on forecasts for the fast-changing publishing world and gather all the info I could about e-publishing, e-readers, and self-publishing. The opinions of editors and agents were an important part of the puzzle. I also wanted to sit in on at least one session related to writing for YA readers.

I thought these were the best of the best:

Self-Publishing in the 21st Century--Is it for you? Presenter: Michelle Black. Michelle blogs at Victorian West: A Writer's Notebook. All of the information in her presentation (including interactive links) is posted at her blog (click on the title at the beginning of this paragraph).

Agent-Author-Editor Relationships. Presenters: Mystery writer Beth Groundwater, her agent Sandra Bond, and acquisitions editor Terri Bischoff of Midnight Ink (Beth's publisher). This panel gave the audience a better idea of how agents, editors, and authors work together to get contracts signed and books on their way to happy readers.

The Future of Technology and Publishing. Presenters: Agent Kristin Nelson, fantasy author and techie geek guy Eric Sidle, and author Janet Fogg. Kristin Nelson blogs at Pub Rants.

Searching for Harry Potter: Key Elements of Successful YA and Crossover Fiction. Presenter: Laura Rennert, senior agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency.

In addition, Colorado Gold provides a bound set of handouts and supplementary materials from the workshops and panels. Attendees found everything there from how to format a manuscript for submission to lists of social media sites for marketing.

What did I learn? Well...

1) The publishing world is changing really fast (I already knew that part),
2) It's in our best interest to be informed and learn as much as we can about new opportunities,
3) We shouldn't jump into the middle of the swirling mess until we've studied, evaluated, and made what we hope are wise decisions (in other words, don't blindly follow the herd),
4) We must not be afraid of technology, and
5) Time management is critical. We must still make time to write.


Margot Kinberg said...

Patricia - Thanks for sharing what you learned at the conference. It sounds like you had a terrific experience. I'm glad you remind us all to keep making time to write. That is so critical, isn't it? And since a lot of writers also have full-time "day jobs," it's even more important.

Michelle Black said...

Dear Patricia--I am delighted that you enjoyed my workshop--Self-Publishing in the 21st Century.
The publishing world is exploding with new possibilities for everyone. It is an exciting time to be a part of it all.--Michelle Black, author of AN UNCOMMON ENEMY

Clarissa Draper said...

Wow, what a great conference. Wish I was there.


Jenny said...

Pat - Thanks so much for the helpful recap. I've only been to Colorado Gold once, but it is a fine conference. I hope to attend next year.

Glad you had a great time!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

Thank you Patricia for sharing your expereience, It seemed like a very interesting week-end.

Take care.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good morning everyone (or afternoon to those of you on the East Coast). I'm a slowpoke this morning -- it's allergy time and I've been attacked. Sniff, sneeze, cough.

As for the conference, Colorado Gold is definitely one of the good ones. I had a great time.

Lisa_Gibson said...

I hope to attend sometime. Wonderful points you've made and it sounds as though you learned a great deal. Thanks for sharing. :)
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Peter Springberg said...

Thanks Pat for the helpful comments,, especially for the two that urge us to study well before making choices and to willing to learn new technology. I'd add look for writers who've already covered the area you want to explore and "write it different."

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like a great conference!

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

It sounds like an interesting conference. It's #5, time management, that gives me such a tough time.

Jan Morrison said...

Sounds like you took in a lot! I will follow your lead and plum the sites you've pointed me to and remember to keep my eyes and ears open at our Word on the Street Festival which is coming up in under two weeks.
Thanks, deario!
Jan Morrison

InternationalNerd said...

It was great to see you again at the conference!

Thanks for listing our presentation as one of the more interesting. :) For anyone who hasn't been, RMFW is as fun, entertaining and educational as Ms. Stoltey makes it sound... especially because of people like her there to brighten it up.


Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Eric. That panel with Kristin and Janet really was excellent. Well done.