Saturday, May 17, 2014

Saturday Special: Pennwriters Conference

My head is full of ideas. Yesterday, I listened to presentations by a social media expert, a best-selling author and the publisher of Writer's Digest. I also attended two panel discussions. The first was a panel of ten literary agents and the second, a panel of six recently published young adult novelists, none of whom looked much older than my daughter, but all of whom had insights on the traditional publishing process. Oh, and did I mention the ten minute session I had with one of the agents from the first panel?

Just a typical day at the Pennwriters Conference. I'm less than an hour from home, yet I'm accessing some of the best people in publishing…and having a great time doing it! 

Today, I learned:
  • that 25% of online data goes through Facebook…and that 80% of Americans are on this social network (Don Lafferty).
  • that pitching to an agent at a conference is less about the pitch and more about the conversation.
  • why the biggest, sexiest agents aren't always the best choice for a debut author.
  • how I can figure out where my query stands (maybe) by following an agent on Twitter.
  • that it's not only possible to sell an unfinished work of nonfiction via a proposal, but "unfinished" can be the preferred way to submit (Phil Sexton).
In addition, I was reminded on several occasions (most notably in a keynote by Kami Garcia), that it's not always about following the rules. According to publishers, agents and authors who should know, the book you should write is the one only you can write. 

And the best part? Today I get to do it all over again and participate in a book signing. I've filled almost half a notebook, collected business cards and book marks and more new ideas than I can count, and the conference isn't even half finished yet.

Pretty cool way to spend a weekend.


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