Category : Conferences

  • April 28, 2013

    Why are you speaking at a writers' conference?

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    I mentioned the other day that I’m going to be speaking at the Dallas Writers’ University on Saturday, May 4 — and someone wrote to ask, “Why are you doing a writers’ conference?”

    The fact is, I rarely do many conferences these days. I’m busy with the authors I currently represent, and aside from RWA and ACFW, I don’t do many — certainly not many smaller conferences (I may go to Bouchercon later this year, but after that my dance card is filled up). But when the folks at the Writers’ University asked me about this, I liked the idea right away. It’s a one-day writing conference, focused on some one-to-one face time with authors, so it feels more personal. I’ll be talking about “Creating Your Publishing Strategy” and “Developing Book Proposals that Sell.” Other speakers include Jeane Wynn of Wynn-Wynn Media (a fabulous freelance marketing specialist who I’ve worked on numerous books with) and Michelle Borquez (who runs Bella Publishing and will be talking about “Building Your Author Platform”). There’s also going to be an attorney there, Gary Ashmore, talking about publishing contracts. It’s a great group, and I love the fact that they invited me to participate.

    So last week I mentioned the big news: anyone who registers for the conference and mentions my blog gets a big discount. The normal price is $199 for the full day (that includes all the sessions, your lunch, a face-to-face meeting with me, and access to the other speakers). But if you want to come and you mention you saw this on Chip’s blog, you  can attend for $159. If you’re in the area, I hope you’ll consider coming. They tell me space is limited (I believe they have about ten spots left), and I’m doing this one because there are always a bunch of good writers in the Dallas area.

    AND if you decide to register and let me know

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  • April 22, 2013

    Sandra on The Power of Personal Meetings

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    THE POWER OF A PERSONAL MEETING

    I haven’t traveled much in the last six months, but I’ve just returned from a three-day conference. Though I fully registered for it, I only attended two conference events, but my time there was incredibly valuable and enriching regardless.

    Aside from the three-hour-thaw-by-the-pool-mini-sabbatical I scheduled for myself on Friday afternoon before boarding the plane home, I spent every waking hour while there in pre-arranged meetings with editors and authors. In the end, when responding to questions about how my trip went, I heard myself say “I really enjoyed connecting with everyone!” And I today, I added several items to my task list newly motivated by an urge to help each of these people succeed in their roles.

    Sure, when I requested time together, I had a project in mind. But as usual, I found that holding “my” agenda a bit loosely, and taking the position of investigator vs. sales person always returned a rewarding and gratifying encounter that will begin, or enrich, a long-term relationship.

    There’s so much more to personal meetings than just “putting a face to a name.” When I meet an editor or other prospective associate in person, the encounter requires real listening. I’ve learned that more often than not, my “canned” speech goes out the window in favor of personal dialogue once an editor or prospective author and I start talking about whether what’s working well for them and how/if what they’re hoping to publish next aligns with the project(s) I’m interested in.

    A side perk of meeting in person is that, unlike with email, I must also practice the art of keeping the conversation going in both directions. I’ll admit, I’m still working on controlling my tendency to be so terribly interruptive – an inexcusable habit that I still give into when I’m especially enthused about something.

    As anonymous, and bottom-line, and impersonal as this business can sometimes feel,

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  • April 17, 2013

    Chip is speaking at an upcoming conference…

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    I mentioned the other day that I’m going to be speaking at the Dallas Writers’ University on Saturday, May 4 — a one-day writing conference where I’ll talk about “Creating Your Publishing Strategy” and “Developing Book Proposals that Sell.” Other speakers include Jeane Wynn of Wynn-Wynn Media (a fabulous freelance marketing specialist who I’ve worked on numerous books with) and Michelle Borquez (who runs Bella Publishing and will be talking about “Building Your Author Platform”). There’s also going to be an attorney there, Gary Ashmore, talking about publishing contracts. It’s a great group, and I love the fact that they invited me to participate.

    Now the big news: they told me last week that anyone who registers for the conference and mentions my blog gets a big discount. The normal price is $199 for the full day (that includes all the sessions, your lunch, a face-to-face meeting with me, and access to the other speakers). But if you want to come and you mention you saw this on Chip’s blog, you  can attend for $149. So I hope you’ll consider coming. Space is limited to 30 people, and I’m not sure how many are signed up, but I love doing these intensive one-day gatherings, and not just the mega-conference with three thousand people.

    AND if you decide to register and let me know in advance,I’ll offer a full review of your book proposal. Fiction or nonfiction, I’ll give it a review and we’ll talk through it face to face. So if you live in the Dallas area, or can get there easily enough the first weekend in May, please come join us. The event is held at the Ashmore Law Firm in downtown Dallas. You can find out all the details by going to www.dallaswritersuniversity.eventbrite.com

    Again, I’m not doing many conferences these days (I’ll be at RWA and ACFW, but that’s about it), so for those who have wanted

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  • March 29, 2013

    A deal on an upcoming writer's conference…

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    I mentioned the other day that I’m going to be speaking at the Dallas Writers’ University on Saturday, May 4 — a one-day writing conference where I’ll talk about “Creating Your Publishing Strategy” and “Developing Book Proposals that Sell.” Other speakers include Jeane Wynn of Wynn-Wynn Media (a fabulous freelance marketing specialist who I’ve worked on numerous books with) and Michelle Borquez (who runs Bella Publishing and will be talking about “Building Your Author Platform”). There’s also going to be an attorney there, Gary Ashmore, talking about publishing contracts. It’s a great group, and I love the fact that they invited me to participate.

    Now the big news: they told me this morning that anyone who registers for the conference and mentions my blog gets a big discount. The normal price is $199 for the full day (that includes all the sessions, your lunch, a face-to-face meeting with me, and access to the other speakers). But if you want to come and you mention you saw this on Chip’s blog, you  can attend for $149. So I hope you’ll consider coming. Space is limited to 30 people, and I’m not sure how many are signed up, but I love doing these intensive one-day gatherings, and not just the mega-conference with three thousand people.

    AND if you decide to register and let me know in advance, I’ll offer a full review of your book proposal. Fiction or nonfiction, I’ll give it a review and we’ll talk through it face to face. So if you live in the Dallas area, or can get there easily enough the first weekend in May, please come join us. The event is held at the Ashmore Law Firm in downtown Dallas. You can find out all the details by going to www.dallaswritersuniversity.eventbrite.com

    Again, I’m not doing many conferences these days (I’ll be at RWA and ACFW, but that’s about it), so for those who have wanted

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  • March 27, 2013

    What makes a good writing workshop? (A guest blog)

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    Thinking about that first all-day writing workshop I was paid to speak at still makes me cringe. I don’t know how the organizer found out about me, but she invited me to speak, and made me sound really good in the glossy colored brochures she printed.  This workshop was going to draw a crowd.  We might have to add more chairs to the hotel’s conference room.

    What a disappointment when the day before the event, she was begging people to come, even letting them in for free.  These people had no idea who I was and the big bucks the organizer was charging was too much for those she had targeted. I know that in the end, the only big thing about the workshop was that she lost big money.

    But that experience taught me. Ten years later as I set out to conduct my own all-day writing workshops, I had that first workshop experience in mind.  I focused on what the organizer had done right and especially on what she had done wrong. They say bad experience is a good teacher— or something like that. Some thoughts on creating a good workshop…

    Plan in advance Don’t think of an idea and then have a workshop the next Saturday.  Plan at least three to four months ahead. A Saturday far from any holiday is good. Avoid the Christmas or New Year season. Ask potential attendees to choose between two or three dates that suit them best. Spend hours working on all aspects of the workshop. Will you serve lunch? Snacks? Coffee?

    Book a choice location – This should be easily accessible. Where I live, I like the Hampton Inn and Suites in Raleigh, North Carolina, for a variety of reasons from the inviting lounge to the cushioned chairs in the conference room to the mints they place in bowls at each table to the outdoor garden where attendees can

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  • March 25, 2013

    I'm speaking at a writers' conference in Dallas!

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    A brand new writing conference is coming, and you’re invited. On Saturday, May 4, I’m going to speak at the Dallas Writers’ University. It’s a one-day event, with a rather intensive agenda:

    -I’ll speak on “creating your long-term publishing strategy,” and I’ll also be teaching a session on “developing a book proposal that sells.”
    -Michelle Borquez, author and entrepreneur, will explore “building a platform around your concept.”
    -Jeane Wynn, the well-respected marketing mind behind Wynn-Wynn Media, will offer her wisdom on “the essentials of publicity.”
    -Gary Ashmore, principal at the Ashmore Law Firm, will talk about publishing contracts and the red flags authors face in making legal agreements.
    -Finally, Michelle, Jeane, and I will be talking about the secret to success in contemporary publishing.
    `
    This is a great group of speakers — everybody is a recognized authority in publishing, and all have had big success in the industry, so I’m really looking forward to the day. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve taken time away from conferences the past couple years, but I love talking to authors about proposals and strategy, so I’m very much looking forward to this event. And you’re invited. Every participant gets face time with the instructors, where we’ll be reviewing proposals and talking about next steps in a one-on-one setting. That means space is limited to just 30 people.
    `
    The event is going to be at the Ashmore Law Firm, just north of downtown Dallas. The cost is $199 and includes lunch. You can find out all you need to know at http://dallaswritersuniversity.eventbrite.com
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    If you live anywhere in the area, I would love to have you come and introduce yourself to me.
    `
    Feel free to ask me questions — happy to be doing this again!
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  • March 18, 2013

    How can I get exposure for my book?

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    A writer got in touch and asked, “Since it seems like anyone can get a book published today through self-publishers, how do I make sure my book gets the needed exposure?”

    As I’ve noted several times on this blog, the key principle for anybody doing marketing of their own book is simple: Figure out where your potential readers are going, then go stand in front of them. If you’re doing a book on lowering cholesterol, research to find out what websites people with high cholesterol are visiting, what blogs they’re reading, what magazines and e-zines they’re checking out, what the most popular sites for information sharing are. That’s the first step. The second is to get yourself involved with those venues. That will get you started on marketing. (And be sure to read Amanda’s Thursday blog posts, which are filled with good, practical ideas to help you move forward in your marketing abilities.) 

    Now you have the tools you need to create a plan. You’ve got a list of the places people who are interested in your topic are going online, and you’ve got a list of ways you can try and get involved in those sites (by writing articles, doing reviews, creating an interview, offering a chapter of your book, etc). The next step is to start the hard work of getting your words out there.

    On a related note, someone wrote these words: “You have frequently told authors to find out where the potential readers are, then go get in front of them. How can an author find the target audience for his book?”

    Research, my friend. It will take time, but start checking out key words and topics. Find other books and sites that cover similar material and check them out. Start doing reviews on Amazon and GoodReads. Get involved with Pinterest and Flickr. Create online bookmarks. Join Facebook and Twitter. Begin researching your topic and you’ll

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  • March 1, 2013

    How do you know which agents will work hard for you?

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    I’ve been going through a long list of questions people have sent in, trying to offer short answers (as compared to my usual loquacious responses). One person wrote this: “I’m interested in getting an agent. How do you know which agent will work hard for you? For that matter, how can an author know which agents the publishers view as legit?”

    If you want to know about an agent, you can always start by asking around. Ask publishers and editors in confidence what they think. Go onto the agency website and check the agent out. Check with “Predators & Editors” and “Writer Beware” to see which agents are not considered legit. Look into “Agent Query” and the other agency-ranking organizations. Pick up a copy of Chuck Sambuccino’s Guide to Literary Agents so you can do some research into the agent. In my opinion, you should look for an agent that’s a member of the Association of Author Representatives (AAR), the professional organization for literary agents. To see if the agent will work hard for you, all you have to do is to see which authors are happy and which agents are doing deals — you can find information on the number of deals done by an agent in the “Dealmakers” section of Publishers Marketplace. A lot of people will just tell you to “talk with other authors,” but I find that less than helpful. First, most people don’t want to say bad things about an agent, or worry that saying something honest will lead to a lawsuit. Second, many authors don’t often know a good agent from a bad one — if their agent got them a deal, they’re happy. I know some authors who have a lousy literary agent, but they’re completely satisfied because they don’t have anything to judge it against.

     Another writer sent me this: “I’m a beginning author, have written a novel, and want to
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  • February 13, 2013

    Discount on the Nashville Writers University…

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    I just discovered there are ten spots left in the writing seminar we’re doing in Nashville on Saturday, Feb 23. You can find out all the details about it here: http://nashvilleuniversity.eventbrite.com

    The cost is normally $199, but if you write to me today or tomorrow, the people in charge told me they’ll discount the price to $149. If you’ve been on the fence, I hope that encourages you to join us. Would love to fill the seats. Thanks!

    -Chip

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  • February 10, 2013

    I'm teaching at a writing conference in Nashville next week

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    As noted last week, I’m going to speak at the Nashville Writers University on Saturday, Feb 23. It’s a one-day event, with an intensive agenda:

    -I’ll speak on “creating your long-term publishing strategy.”
    -Dan Merril, from The Propellor Group, will talk about script-writing and screenplays.
    -Larry Carpenter, the longtime boss at Spring Arbor and Ingram and now consultant to authors and publisher, will talk about self-publishing.
    -Michelle Borquez, author and entrepreneur, will teach “building a platform around your concept.”
    -And I’ll be talking about book proposals and the secret to success.
    Again, this is a strong group — everybody has ties to both publishing and marketing, and all have had a lot of success in the industry. (I think at one point or another, each person has served as a publisher, and they all bring years of experience to the group.)
    I’m looking forward to it, since I’ve largely stayed away from conferences the past couple years, and I love talking to authors about proposals and strategy. So you’re invited. Every participant gets face time with me (as well as the other instructors), so we’ll be reviewing proposals and talking about next steps in a one-on-one setting. That means space is limited to just 30 people.
    The event is at the Aloft Hotel in Cool Springs, just south of downtown Nashville. The cost is $199 and includes lunch. (If you’re coming from out of town, they’re offering a $99 room rate for the participants.) You can find out all you need to know at http://nashvilleuniversity.eventbrite.com/
    Would love to have you come and introduce yourself to me.
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