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.