Conference/Life lessons.

1 May

I attended my first writing conference this weekend!


What can I say, I am easily motivated. 🙂

This weekend really brought about the positive writing vibes, and I think it was largely because of the nice reminder that other writers are out there. Writers who have good days and bad days. Writers who get writers block. Writers who are going through the same thing I am. I have a pretty strong need to connect with others, so it was exciting to talk the talk with people who speak my language.

And believe me, there are plenty of writers out there. I heard a statistic from who knows where that hundreds of thousands of people query literary agents each year. What does that mean? Well, that means that aside from all the established authors already out there, 100,000+ new ones reach out and say, please help me publish my book. And of course, this doesn’t include the thousands and thousands who are self-published. Does this sound scary? I guess if I really sit and think about it, it does. But what will that do? Provide ammo for the “it’s too hard to even try” outlook? To be honest, the competition doesn’t deter me. It kind of makes me hungrier for it. Maybe I’m delusional, but MAYBE I’ve finally found my calling. Let’s just go with the second one.

Overall, I learned a lot at this conference, but I also felt like I was on the right track, which, I have to admit, was validating.

My Conference Lessons that can double as Life Lessons:

The first two sentences in my book better kick ass = First impressions are important. 

We had three agents reading the first 4-5 pages of manuscripts at random. As soon as they would have stopped reading “in real life” and moved to the next, they raised their hand. Let’s just say the hands went up quickly. But, let’s be real. They don’t know you. They have no vested interest in you. This is their only impression of you, so make it good! The same really can be said for many of your daily interactions.

Be authentic = (yeah, this one pretty much directly translates) Be authentic.

We had a great speaker who was, you guessed it, authentic to herself. You should be authentic in your writing and authentic in your life. Guess what, you aren’t someone else, so stop trying to be. I’m glad this has become much clearer to me in more recent years.

An agent should do more than just sell your book = Use the principles of marriage for business partnerships (see below for clarification).

After this weekend, I have a much better understanding as to the partnership a writer should have with an agent. I want someone who can manage my career and be in it for the long haul. I just keep thinking about finding someone I will connect with, who “gets” me, and who will be with me for the whole journey, and that makes me think of my husband. I obviously don’t completely equate the two, I just see some crossover, come on…

If it sound like writing, re-write = If your gut tells you something is off, listen.

There are sentences in my book that just don’t feel right. If they take me out of the story, that’s not good. If I’m too focused on the words themselves, that’s not good. I think this is pretty applicable to real life. It’s like, “This milk smells funny. I probably shouldn’t drink it. But maybe I should still try it, just in case.” NO! DON’T DO IT!

I will need to use some psychology to survive the publishing journey = You can also use psychology to survive life! 

I attended a session all about the ups and down of the publishing journey, including, but not limited to rejections and bad reviews. It was taught by a clinical psychologist who talked about methods to deal with rejection from literary agents and publishers and scathing reviews on the interwebs. I am a big proponent of therapy, so I think this is also a useful tool in life. Asking yourself questions like, “Am I thinking about this in an all or nothing way?” “Am I only paying attention to the negative?” “And am I about to verbally attack a reviewer online?” Yes, this happens. You should Google ‘Authors Behaving Badly.’

When querying, it can help to describe your work as “blank” meets “blank” = Do you want your life to be like “blank” meets “blank?”

I’ve heard this advice before, but when querying your novel, it can help to tell the agent, my novel is Romeo and Juliet meets Paranormal Activity. Not my novel and not a great example, but it gave me a funny visual. I pretty much want my life to be Clueless meets Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I mean, how fun does that sound??


2 Responses to “Conference/Life lessons.”

  1. Lianne May 9, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

    I especially love your last point. I want my life to be the original Beverly Hills 90210 meets A Few Good Men.

    • katieannmeyer May 9, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

      Also sounds amazing. I think you got a lot closer to yours than I did to mine.

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