Day 1 July 31 Writer’s Digest Annual Conference NYC

Well I am just a couple days behind on this! But i told friends i would blog about the conference. Day 1 is two days past now but WHAT A FIRST DAY IT WAS!!

It is at same time energizing and invigorating to be with all these incredibly talented people in one space. The vibe and hum of all that creativity.  You could almost see the word bubbles above the room with the conversations going on, the thoughts and excitement people were sharing! iIt was a little like the first day of school. I didn’t know anyone except had made a Twitter connection with an editor of Writer’s Digest and hoped to meet her in person. (Jessica Strawser, yay we did it the second day!) Other than that. Knew no one. But I was seriously psyched.

I am glad I came into the city earlier because it gave me a chance to not feel so rushed. Do a bit of writing before I got here, see the city because I knew looking at the amazing line up of session offerings that Writer’s Digest had put together, I wasn’t getting outside the Roosevelt Hotel much if any the next couple of days.

First up was Pitch Perfect a session designed for those folks signed up for Pitch Slam, the opportunity to pitch your project to agents. When I registered for it all I could think was speed dating with the agents. 90 seconds to pitch and 90 seconds for feedback. In the session by Chuck Sambuchino, Editor/Author, Writer’s Digest, I found out that’s exactly what it is! The description of the session said it was “crucial to your success”. and that was no understatement. Excellent tips for pitching to the agents and how to craft that pitch that will carry beyond Saturday’s Pitch Slam event. If someone didn’t make that and did pitch the next day, I am curious how they fared. I had put something together about a week before just brainstorming 90 seconds. I was happy to find I wasn’t off base but boy, the tips, do’s and don’t’s fine tuned my thoughts into a 90 seconds of selling. Selling the project that means so much to a writer pitching, it is like selling a piece of your heart and soul.

It would be too long to go into all the offerings of the day but i chose afternoon sessions that were titled Great Writing! Great Story! Author Platform? with Dawn Michelle Hardy and You Should Really Write A Book: How To Write Sell, And Market Your Memoir presented by Regina Brooks.  Hardy is an Associate Literary Agent with Serendipity Literary Agency and Brooks is the founder and President of Serendipity Literary Agency. Key sessions for me in particular. I was happy to learn from the first session that I am on my way with building audience and the platform, who am I as an author, my reach, my audience and connection to potential readers is underway through social media.  Who knew there was a good reason to be on Twitter when I signed up quite awhile back? Being on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and even with the blog already give me a presence “out there” and now is the time to make those avenues of connection work for me. Good information on putting newspaper, radio and video to work for me in putting myself out there and holding out as an author and writer.

Regina’s session on You Should Really Write A Book gave me key insights into the categories of memoir genre that I might have intuitively categorized a book on a shelf, for example Travel memoirs like Under the Tuscan Sun, but labeling such as coming of age, addiction and compulsion, transformation, food, religion & spirituality with outlier subgenera where I probably fit best with my memoir works. No shocker that I don’t fit it in just one box! Don’t put Baby in a corner, y’all!  Excellent on formatting the memoir and picking the right agency. These were two sessions that got me fired up for the conference in a big way and made me feel like I was on the right track with my own project which was a boost.

Great to meet both Dawn and Regina after the sessions.I learned quickly that the folks presenting are accessible and help to foster this atmosphere of helping writers and each other be better than we arrived in NYC.

My last session of the day was Fifty Shades of Publishing: All the Ways You Can Publish a Winning Book presented by April Eberhardt, Literary Agent of April Eberhardt Literary. Getting the take on all the options out there for putting your project into the world was helpful as April was honest about the areas that she didn’t think were worth the time and effort and those that were. I had signed up with She Writes online a few years ago and still have a profile but haven’t used that opportunity to the fullest clearly as they have SheWrites Press publishing opportunity. I didn’t know about partnering publishing until the session. Good insights on resources available.

My goal was to take something of value from each session and day here and that happened! Already more than worth the money, time and effort to be in NYC for the conference!

Next blog post will be about the Opening Keynote, An Hour with Jonathan Maberry. I have to get ready to wrap up the weekend!

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