Some of you know that I lost my beloved literary agent in September 2013.
No, she didn’t die. She left the business, though it felt like a death to me.
For months, I cried and ate Oreos. The tears helped. The cookies just gave me a sugar hangover and didn’t change reality. For the full story of my writing woes over the years, read Who the hell are you?
I fell into a deep, purple Funk, but forced myself to start querying agents again.
The process sucks as much as it did for my first novel (and second, and third…). The agent I adored represented my fourth novel.
To date, my rejection total for book #4 is:
That really isn’t very many in the publishing world, but tell that to my heart.
Mudpie Writing has helped me deal with the pain. It’s given me a fresh creative outlet for my writing. I’m making tons of friends and people seem to appreciate having a place to fight our creative monsters together.
One way to de-funk yourself
As luck would have it, a Facebook friend posted that the Pikes Peak Writers’ Conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado was happening this past April. That’d give me 2.5 days to soak up all things literary. The early bird special ended the next day.
I had the cash, so I signed up to go.
I’ve attended many, wonderful conferences over the years: Austin, Dallas, Albuquerque, etc. Pikes Peak was right up there as one of the best: friendly, educational and organized.
Friday morning, I walked into a room of 400 strangers, but by Sunday afternoon, I left new buddies whom I planned to stay in touch with while on the road to publication.
Let’s confer on conferences
Although conferences do happen year-round, summer seems to be their #1 season. To me, they provide three essentials for every writer: Inspiration – Information – Connections.
1. Inspiration – This alone is reason enough to go. Hearing how others overcame such impossible odds (from both the presenters and attendees) gives you hope to keep pursuing your dreams. I have a renewed passion for my writing and determination for my career. Plus, more agents requested my full manuscript.
2. Information – Conferences also offer an incredible amount of content on both the CRAFT of writing (dynamite dialogue, creating tension, communicating character) and the BUSINESS of writing (blogging for writers, how to make a book trailer, being an authorpreneur. I LOVE that word!). Plus, they sold a CD of all 98 workshops for $50.
That’s .51⊄ per workshop, people! A steal.
3. Connections – I’ve just widened my circle of support. We’re all at different points in our careers, but that’s what makes it fun. No matter how new or seasoned we are, we each share a deep love for words and books.
Show me the money
Are conferences cheap?
$395 – conference (all meals included during the 2.5 days. Wonderful. Many conferences don’t do that).
$420 – hotel ($105 per night, which was terrific, but still far from free).
$150 – gas + meals on the road.
A thousand dollars for a weekend getaway isn’t inexpensive, but what was it worth to super-size my spirit?
The are ways to cut costs. Sign up for conferences as soon as registration opens for the best rate. Room with a friend, or stay with someone in the city of the conference if possible. Plus, driving is usually cheaper than flying (depending on the location).
Next week, we’ll talk about how to de-funk yourself as a writer when conferences aren’t an option.
Have you ever attended a writer’s conference? If so, what was your experience like?
Share your comments with me. If you enjoyed this blog post, please pass along to your friends.
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