Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Crested Butte Writers Conference

The Crested Butte Writers’ Conference was wonderful! With only 20 in attendance, we got more networking opportunities with authors and industry professionals than at any other writing event I’ve ever attended. For those of you who missed out, let me hit a few of the highlights:

Firstly, this is the view outside the country club where it took place. Gorgeous. No need to say more.

Secondly, my great friend Ms. Kerri-Leigh Grady raised the bar yet again, in that not only did she win the romance category of The Sandy Writing Contest, but editor Selina McLemore of Grand Central requested the full manuscript! Woohoo! Way to go Kerri!!! Don’t know how my other romance writer friends can top that, but come on guys—not a one of you have backed down from a challenge before.

John Shors, had an inspiring journey to publication tale, not to mention his inventive and effective marketing tool where he calls in and chats with as many as eight book clubs a day. He’s talked with more than 1,200 book clubs and has been offered $5,000 for his book club list.

Karen Joy Fowler, while experiencing some travel difficulties, gladly shared tales of her writing life with us Saturday and Sunday. Karen answered any and all questions and despite her phenomenal career success, is a very down-to-earth, humble lady. She had the audience chuckling throughout both her talks. Did you know that Karen takes 3 years to write a book? And if she didn’t exaggerate her daily routine, which mostly consists of impressive elaborate means of procrastinating, she’s truly an inspiration and there’s hope for me!

Marcie Telander helped us to write group poems that our table was sure would be a disaster, yet they turned out rather good. I still maintain it was all in the delivery. Marcie could read the phonebook and make it sound enchanting. She’s a wonderful performer.

I got to chat and share meals with just about everybody, and though Jennifer Rees is a Scholastic children’s/YA editor, her talk was geared towards the life of an editor—which is pretty genre nonspecific. She maintains that the query letter is such an important tool for authors, that she offered to critique any query letter those in the room sent her—regardless of genre. I’m no dummy; it wasn’t 3 days before I took advantage of that opportunity. Picture: Jen is to the left and Barbara Crawford to right.

While I love learning lots about writing and promotion, the very best thing about this conference for me was the networking time. I got to know agent Rachel Downes. She’s a very enthusiastic young agent who has a wonderful sense of humor and took my continual teasing with grace and good humor.

Mario Acevedo gave us a fun workshop on plotting and was a great sport about accompanying me, Susan, Barbara, Rachel, Sandra, and Karen on a shopping spree on Elk Ave before dinner Saturday night.

And finally, Susan Wiggs was brilliant in her workshops, as usual, despite having a deadline looming only days away, and she wormed her way deeper into my heart in her appreciation of Crested Butte and our mountains.

She kept taking pictures on her cell phone and texting her husband, editor, and agent telling them what a wonderful time they were missing out on and insisting that they need to come year. And when Susan wasn’t doing that, she was brainstorming ways to help me get published. What’s not to love about that?

All in all it was a really fun event. Hope to share it with a few more of you next year—but not too many. I’ve never really been big on sharing. Despite what I always told my kids, I think it’s overrated. I like having the authors, editors and agents pretty much to myself.




Donnell said...

T, next year! :) What an awesome conference and report on the time you had. Well done!

Annette said...

Fantastic pictures! I am sooo envious. It sounds like a great time was had by all who attended.

KL Grady said...

My husband owes me big-time. Next year for sure (if it doesn't run up against residency, that is!). :)

Delta Dupree said...

Sounded like a wonderful conference! Maybe sometime in the future I can...

Theresa said...

Everybody who attended DID have a great time, and next year it's gonna be even better 'cause the editor, authors & agent were wowed and are spreading the word. It won't be too long before an invitation to this conference will be a coveted request.
And because it was so small and because we had such a great mix, I feel like I've made some real friends. As I told Susan, one reason I want to get published is so I'll have more excuses to hang with writers I truly enjoy!

Leslie Ann said...

Wow, you had an intimate conference with great people. Way jealous. How about a screenwriting section for next year's conference, hmmm?

Anybody interested?