If you’re a writer, no matter what level you have reached, conferences still have much to offer. This past weekend I attended the LV Writers Conference for the fourth time. Some of the workshops repeated things I already knew and practiced. That should be expected. But the unexpected is hearing the why. Suddenly, I understood why dialogue needs to be crisp and why it needs to remain a part of telling the story, even while it stays true to character.
Then, getting blown away by a presentation by Amy Collins about how to mine Amazon marketing for the best results. It’s a fairly long process, not easily explained – and certainly not by me. At first glance (listen), it seems a daunting task. As with anything else there is preparation involved. Lots of it. Gathering comps and key words. Amy recommends at least 3,000 of them. You read that correctly, 3,000 key words which will connect to your book. My advice? Head over to the blogs at New Shelves
The First Page Read panel is always an enlightening thing. I was lucky in having all three of my submitted pages read. Not a single one made it to the end – but I learned the why of it. That first page of a manuscript is make or break when sending in blind queries. Thanks to the panelists, I can make revisions to increase the odds of acceptance.
Making connections is also an important part of the experience. Talk to new people; authors, agents, editors. Everyone is there for the same reason. How do I know that? Because I saw faculty members attending one another’s presentations. That alone should tell you those agents aren’t the scary, intimidating people you imagine. Hanging out with Christine Fairchild, Danielle Burby, Alexis Sattler, and Cheree Alsop; dining with Dan Koboldt; joking around with G.S. Denning and Sam Morgan; and getting the inside scoop from my own publisher, Rhonda Penders, on getting my books into audio.
After those experiences, pitching my latest book became easier. And, I know I’ve made life-long friends with other authors I met and dined with. These are all people I can go to when I have questions, when I need help with a particular writing issue.
Learning and connecting. That is what the conference experience is all about.