So, I was a bit leery about spending so much money to attend the 2014 Writer’s Digest Conference in NYC last weekend, but the stars aligned, my hubby’s leave was approved, and I was off. Honestly, with 5 kiddos at home, I figured it’d be a vacation if nothing else.
But I must say the conference was simply amazing! It left me on information overload in the best possible way. The keynote speakers were obviously chosen with care. At least twice during each of their speeches, I felt like they were talking about or to me. I could gush copiously and wax all poetic about each and every one of these fine literary paragons! But I won’t.
At least not online…
On this website…
At least, not tonight… But I am going to hit some of the highlights and my personal takeaways from my incredible weekend.
1. According to Dani Shapiro, even if I get traditionally published, make the New York Times bestseller list, or receive that coveted call from Oprah, I will still never feel secure enough to call myself a writer. And now that I know I’m not alone, that’s ok.
2. I will forever more remember Harlen Coben quoting Cher and Mary Higgins-Clark in the same sentence. (FYI: Mary Higgins-Clark is an amazing woman. Period.)
3.Even with all of the marketing, publicity, and publishing business that is essential and time-consuming for any successful author, writers write. It sounds like a no brainer, but after days of listening to the business end of things, it’s nice to be reminded.
4. Have a little faith, a lot of patience, and be willing to work your ass off.
5. Agents really are just people. Sure, they’re people who can help you reach your dreams or crush your every hope beneath their French tips, but they’re people. And the ones I nervously pitched my story to were unfailingly kind.
6. In this digital age, there are many ways to get your work into the hands of your readers. You can self-publish, go the traditional route, or go with a newer hybrid method. No matter which method you choose, do it right. Take the time to present your work to the best of your abilities. And if your abilities are lacking (I know mine are in several areas), hire people to bridge the gap.
7. Chuck Sambuchino is hilarious and really helpful when it comes to advice for pitching to agents.
8. Last but certainly not least, “Don’t be a douchebag.” A direct quote from Central Keynote Saturday: The Rules of Writing and When to Break Them with Harlen Coben.