Writer’s Conferences Do You Really Need To Attend?

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Writer’s Conferences Do You Really Need To Attend?

By Shelle Castles

You may moan and groan at the prospect of going to a writer’s conference. It’s too much money, you may complain. It’s too far away, you mumble to yourself. I don’t need to go to a writer’s conference, you may try to convince yourself.

If you have not attended a writer’s conference before, you are missing out on a wealth of information and contact with people that you wouldn’t have otherwise. If you are serious about your writing career and want to propel yourself forward in knowledge, information, and contacts, a writer’s conference is a perfect place to start.

By attending a writer’s conference, you meet other writers, just like you, who are just beginning their careers or are already published. You can share ideas, garner information from one another, establish friendships, and form camaraderie with other writers. We all know that the writer’s life seems to be an isolated one. A writer’s conference can be your opportunity to communicate with like-minded people, other writers, to encourage and help each other. If you are an established writer, you can help beginning writers with your insights and meet writers who are established in other markets.

The potential to make new business contacts, whether through other writers, editors, publishers, or agents, are big incentives to attending writer’s conferences. You may meet the agent of your dreams; you may strike up a conversation with a publisher who is interested in your genre. You may build a relationship with a published author who can put you in touch with editors who can help you.

By taking advantage of the information provided at a writer’s conference through free newsletters, writer’s guidelines, free magazines, and classes, you can come home full of fresh ideas and a mountain of information that will have you writing for weeks on end. You can garner new information about your writing career that you never thought to ask about. You can ask questions and get answers to get you well on your way to stop getting those dreaded rejection slips and turn downs.

When you attend a writer’s conference, be prepared. Be professional. Have clips ready, if you have any, to show people when they ask what you write. Have your book proposal neat and clean on hand for any publishers or agents that you may meet. Bring business cards with your website address so that the contacts you make can read your writing later. Do not complain about your writing or the amount of rejection slips that you have been getting to other writers, you could be discouraging to a beginner.

Be courteous to the speakers at the conference. You don’t want to monopolize their time. It’s okay to be brief about your writing and what you’re working towards. You may get lucky and that speaker could have a contact person that they could put you in touch with. But no speaker wants to spend thirty minutes listening to your monologue about the pile of rejection letters you have received from the “stupid” publishers about your Great American Novel.

The power of attending a writer’s conference is in your hands. Do you really want to refuse an opportunity to jump-start your career? Do you really want to miss out on meeting people who can help you get where you want to be? Do you really think that getting the motivation and inspiration you may need is too costly? Are you really too busy?

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How to Quit Writing and End up on the Bestseller Lists

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

How to Quit Writing and End up on the Bestseller Lists

By Shirley Jump

Several years ago, I spoke at a writer’s group in Pennsylvania. I was a little daunted. It was the biggest group I’d ever spoken to, and many of the writers there had credentials I could only dream of having. But as I told my story my journey as a write rthe room got silent. Why? Because everyone in that room, published or not, could relate to the tale I told.

I spoke about quitting, about giving up your dream and throwing it all away in a fit of frustration. I had done that myself, in June of 2001.

And in November of 2006 my name was on the New York Times list, the USA Today list with my fourteenth book (SUGAR AND SPICE) and I had contracts for several more. I’d become a nationally bestselling author in five years.

Five years. Not a lot of time, but, oh my how things have changed.

Everywhere I go, someone I meet can relate to giving up on a dream. We’ve all had those moments where our dream — whatever it may be — seems unattainable. You work and work, hoping to catch a break and achieve your goals and all you get is slammed doors and a broken heart.

… read more.

 

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The Art of Being Rejected–475 Words

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

The Art of Being Rejected–475 Words

by Sharon Horton

Dear Writer,  

While we are sincerely flattered that you chose our editors to entertain with your charming adventures in fiction-land, we regret that it is not suitable at this time. Please accept our sincere best wishes in placing your work anywhere else in the future.  

Sincerely,  
Someone paid to write vague letters.  

Okay, everyone who has received one of the above intriguing and informative form letters raise your hand. Wow, what a breeze that caused.

Seriously though, as you do get these types of rejections the first thing you need to remember is you’re in good company. You’re also not alone in thinking anyone with a modicum of consideration, or at the very least good manners, would take the time to tell you more about why they didn’t accept your stellar work of fiction.

Obviously, the large houses just can’t take the time needed to address all of us. However, they all can do us the one courtesy of at least reading our initial synopsis before requesting a partial, or worse yet full manuscript. It still might result in a rejection, but at least you would’ve been signaled of defeat before you mount your steed and ride to Little Big Horn without a gun, a prayer, or a Custer’s chance in you know where.

Another frustrating aspect of rejection is the fact that no two readers are going to view your story equally. I once entered the same story in three different contests so that I could get a better idea of what might be right or wrong. Well, my scores varied so much that I soon realized that no matter how I describe a scene or character there will always be a difference of opinion. It didn’t mean I was right, or wrong in some cases. It just meant that what one person read one way, another read it a different way.

So how do you figure out who to listen to? Hey, if I knew that answer I’d write a book on the subject. Sorry, cynical humor surfacing.

I guess what I’m trying to say though, is we need to do all in our power to bring our book and characters to life, and keep in mind that the only opinion that matters is the person who is able to publish us. Until then, we’ll have to remember that there are just too many ways to view things in this world, and no one can say only one way is the right way.

A rejection is not worth a thousand words. I know the agony of wondering, “What could I have done better?” Keep writing and keep loving it, for if we’re doing that much then no one can say, even with rejection after rejection, that our work is not suitable at this time.

[Editors note:  If the rejection is more specific, stating where things did not fit or things that could be improved, start re-writing and fix those problem then submit again.  When a editor takes the time to tell you specifics, they are interested, but not until it’s fixed.]

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A Dream Realized

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

A Dream Realized

by Cheryl Wright

We are dreamers dreaming dreams. Pursue your dreams passionately and you will eventually achieve them. – Cheryl Wright

As a child I was fascinated with books and their writers. I spent many nights sniffing between the pages of my new school texts. The scent was so intoxicating.  I dreamed of being a writer and envisioned my face on the cover of a novel and my autobiography. I used to get thoroughly excited just thinking about it.

I never shared my dream with my parents. I harbored it secretly in my heart but continued to read and write when I could. My diary and my pen were my best friends. Between us there was no pretence or lies, just the unadulterated thoughts of a child.

In my teens, the dream to was gradually overshadowed by the urgings of my parents to finish school and get a “good job.” For twenty years I lived the life that was expected of me and by the ago of thirty-eight I was married with two children.

Then slowly but surely a strange and insane restlessness began creeping in. In time it invaded every facet of my life, both at home and at work. I found myself yearning for something beyond the everyday routine. Creativity was pulling at my heartstrings. My despondent disposition was unmistakably obvious to everyone around me.

By chance I rediscovered an old interest, interior design. I pursued a course of study and switched careers as soon as I qualified and began to experience an indescribable sense of satisfaction. I had a fulltime job as an interior designer and freelanced as a design consultant.

Three years after I entered that field, I met an advertising sales representative from a local women’s magazine. On a whim, at the spur of the moment, I uttered words that changed my life.

“Do you think your editor would be interested in carrying a monthly column about interior design issues?”

Well, one phone call, one sample article, and one month later, I was looking at my first published work, complete with byline. Because I wanted to build my interior design business, I chose free advertising over payment. That was a wise choice.

Because of that exposure a local newspaper offered me a four-month assignment. That deal brought me checks and clients. I won both ways.

I enrolled for a freelance writing course and even before I was finished and while still writing for the magazine I began submitting articles to online sites.

The Internet allowed me to send and receive emails. From the comfort of the corner office in my bedroom I click and off go e-queries and submissions. I open my Inbox to find newsletters, market listings, and responses from people who read my work. Rejections and acceptances from editors find me easily and quickly. The Internet makes life amazingly convenient.

Interior design issues remain my writing specialty. I am however expanding my horizons to include other topics. Motivation, and self-care especially for women is particularly close to my heart because of my life experiences. Writing about the ups and downs of the writing life is a way of encouraging aspiring writers, just as other writers encouraged me. I am also in the early stages of writing my first book to be entitled Lifestyle Decorating.

So my picture on a book cover may not be far away.

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Five Ways to Promote Yourself

RESOURCES-TIPS: For writers of all genre who want to write, and the readers who love them.

If you can tell stories, create characters, devise incidents, and have sincerity and passion, it doesn't matter a damn how you write.
- Somerset Maugham

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary -- it's just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences.
- Somerset Maugham

Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Alice Munro

If you write one story, it may be bad; if you write a hundred, you have the odds in your favor.
- Edgar Rice Burroughs

Rejection slips, or form letters, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil -- but there is no way around them.
Isaac Asimov

To write fiction, one need a whole series of inspirations about people in an actual environment, and then a whole lot of work on the basis of those inspirations.
- Aldus Huxley

Get it down.  Take changes.  It may be bad, but it's the only way you can do anything really good.
- William Faulkner

Books aren't written, they're rewritten.  Including our own.  It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it.
- Michael Crichton

Any man who keeps working is not a failure.  He may not be a great writer, but if he applies the old-fashioned virtues of hard, constant labor, he'll eventually make some kind of career for himself as a writer.
- Ray Bradbury

Five Ways to Promote Yourself

by L. J. Bothell

You’ve been honing your craft and doing all the right things: generating solid work, placing your bio strategically in your cover letter, keeping the submissions going out, sending queries, etc. Maybe you’ve even been published numerous times, yet you haven’t achieved the next level. There’s so much competition, and while you know that being the best at what you do is supposed to be the key, it doesn’t always seem to work. Plus, it seems that adding another thing like marketing to your schedule will require an impossible amount of energy. How do you get ahead?

In addition to excelling at and sharing your writing, you must further your name recognition in constructive ways. The only way to do that is to combine your successes with networking and building contacts. Whatever method you choose, it will take time, possibly some resources, and consistency, all in addition to continually building your craft. Here are a few ways to go.

First, write columns and reviews for publications (which use them) in your favored genre, or in any of them. Yes, columns are hard to get, but you can work towards getting one and once you do, refer to it in your bio. You may also send a segment or copy of your column with query and proposal letters. Consider writing reviews for films, books, and periodicals and submitting them (non-simultaneously) far and wide, where appropriate. Keep them short and witty, because editors can often use pieces of under 500 words to fill gaps in an issue. Try to find publications which pay for these, but consider writing off a few pro-bonos as self-generated publicity, as long as you don’t take much time and energy away from your primary writing goals.

Second, go to conventions, book fairs, and other networking events. You can do more by meeting peers and pros in person than you can by only being a name on your submissions. This is a delicate area. Your work must stand by itself, but when a busy editor recognizes you from a positive personal meeting, she’ll be apt to read your manuscript before digging through those by unknown submitters. Events will also widen your perspective regarding your audience, help you become familiar with and to your peers, and provide you with ideas for other self-promotion activities. Finally, you’ll have loads of fun and begin to feel more like a vital part of the writing community.

Third, collaborate your efforts with someone else. Find someone in your genre or area of experience with similar values and style, and who has additional contacts. Together, you can make inroads with each others’ contacts that would otherwise be difficult. Start by communicating checking out writing newsgroups and local workshops, as well as networking at events. Consider setting up your own small writing cooperative or newsgroup where you can each post new resources weekly.

Fourth, check out/join an organization related with your area. Examples include The Mystery Writers of America, The Horror Writer’s Association, SFFWA (for sci-fi/fantasy writers), etc. If you’ve made a few pro sales, and need more networking opportunities, you should consider joining. Otherwise, check out services these and other organizations may have for new and developing writers. For instance, many cities will have a local chapter of the National Writer’s Association. Consider visiting with a peer workshop, and sharing resources.

Fifth, publish/edit/work on a publication of any kind. Yes, this used to be an option for the truly deranged, but now more semi-normal people are giving it a try. Becoming a publisher/editor/team member will give you new insights into the non-writing aspect of publication, will increase your own writing (or artistic) aptitude through viewing submissions. and will allow you to give something back to the industry.  You can create a publication on paper, on the web, or combine the two and reach up to thousands. You can choose to be a first reader of submissions, copy-edit, or proofread the publication. You can participate on a team in an academic or trade related publication, or see if writing organizations have need of an editor. For this to work, however, you must be consistent, constructive, and work on a quality product. Also, be sure your writing time and energy doesn’t suffer, or your ability to benefit your writing career will be moot. Finally, promote your efforts on the publication in tandem with your writing talents so your expertise reaches further. However, by successfully involving yourself in the publishing business you can boost your name recognition immensely.

Name recognition from solid self-promotion will never replace fine-honed work and appropriate submission practices, but it will help you get that first reading at tough to reach publications and possibly help you be selected in favor of another writer of equal quality. It can help your work get nominated (or voted) for awards, solicited by publications, and pushed further by those who market products with you in them. Ask yourself how you can supplement your writing accomplishments with additional networking and go for it. Good luck!

FINIS

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