Archive for May, 2007

The WD/BEA Conference

Well, that was a terrific conference. I started off the day chatting with Jodi Picoult in the green room and she is a delightful person. Very spunky and down-to-earth. We are about the same age, attended rival Ivies at about the same time, and both are dealing with the trials and tribulations of raising puppies. In fact, she and her family live in Hanover, New Hampshire, where I went to college and where my parents lived for years.

Her keynote was interesting, informative, and illustrated her passion for writing and storytelling. And I loved how she just let her tales rip once she was up at the podium.

You might be thinking, yes, but you are not as famous as her. But she never made me feel that way. She was complimentary of my book and very friendly without putting on any of the “I’m a famous author” airs.

And let’s face it, she could, because she is. And I’ve met other authors who either do or are just plain not friendly. But she was and that goes a long way in my book.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet as many of the Writer’s Digest authors as I would have liked to meet. I sat between Keith Flynn, author of The Rhythm Method“> and Jodi at the signing table. He struck me as a very soulful person, which makes sense since he’s a poet and musician. And I also got to meet Peter Selgin and tell him how much I liked his website design.

It was so great to finally meet Michelle Ehrhard, one of the editors of Writer Mama, in person. I can’t wait to have coffee with her in the morning because I miss corresponding with her as much as we used to when we were working on WM.

I also got to meet Greg Hatfield, the publicity and trade show manager for F&W, the parent company of Writer’s Digest Books and lots of other folks from F&W, I might not have ever gotten to meet. It was especially nice to meet and chat with the guys in sales, who made me feel pretty darn good about how Writer Mama is doing so far. I was so glad to have a chance to meet the sales people for F&W in person and brainstorm with them a bit. In fact, one of them, Philip Sexton is the author of A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words.

My presentation went well. A few more people showed up than I expected and they were very complimentary afterwards and throughout the rest of the conference. I wrangled with the microphone a bit and my laptop kept “going to sleep.” But, of course, in the pressure of the moment, I couldn’t remember how to turn the darn sleep feature off. Oh well, nothing’s perfect and I think folks left feeling inspired to get out there and work on their platforms and that was really the point.

I connected with several writer mamas, a couple in particular (shout-outs to Angela and Lisa!). And I wish them well with their future books. I attended some educational sessions, including one by Rita Rosenkranz, who is such a thoughtful and knowledgeable gem of an agent. And a true friend to writers.

And, one last thing. Some folks from Writer’s Digest did a little skit where they acted out what it’s like when an editor brings an idea to sales meeting and the editor has to then sell a table full of sales and marketing people on a book’s worth in the marketplace. This was such a great idea, I thought, since we writers will never get to experience this kind of meeting (editors go in our behalf) and since sales and marketing are so key to a book’s success, though writers can feel so far removed in degrees of separation.

Watching the skit brought this otherwise esoteric aspect of the book-publication process to life. So I thought it was a stroke of genius to put it on. I’d love to see more writing conferences do something similar for a variety of houses.

Wish I had done it before Writer Mama came out. Might have even been worth a trip to Cincinnatti. Food for thought for your soon-to-be authors.

I’ll share more about my trip tomorrow…


I (Heart) New York

Well, I’m here! Although I felt a bit like Alice-down-the-rabbit-hole at first, I am starting to feel right here at my hotel only a couple of blocks from Madison Square Garden and Macy’s.

Stumbled off my leavin’-on-a-JetBlue-plane red-eye at about 8:00 a.m. And it only took me three hours to arrive at my hotel in Manhattan. (Okay, so I got on the Airlink tram for no reason, my shuttle was right in the same terminal. In my own defense, I was a wee bit tired.)

Checked in, opened my bag to unpack, and discovered that yes-indeed my shampoo and condtioner bottles had exploded. Fortunately, it was a small mess and only my workout clothes were effected. Whew!

I thought my response to all of this was very urbane. I decided it was time for a nap.

Nap taken, I had a lovely meeting with my agent for Writer Mama, Rita Rosenkranz at her home on the Upper West Side. (More about how great she is later.) Then grabbed a bite and walked back to my hotel through Times Square, which would not have been complete without the three-some of “I (Heart) New York” t-shirts for my family to wear all matchy-matchy.

It’s about eight o’clock, and since I am in The City That Never Sleeps, I think I’d better get some shut-eye.

Big conference tomorrow! Can’t wait to see everyone.

Oh, the New York Editors I will meet (at the WDB/BEA Conference)

Will Schwalbe, senior vice president and editor in chief of Hyperion

Judy Hottensen, vice president and publisher of Miramax Books

Shaye Areheart, vice president and editorial director of Shaye Areheart Books/Random House

Obviously, the WDB/BEA Writer’s Conference is a stellar experience for writers, who write in any genre. And, of course, I understand that for any number of reasons, you may not be able to attend (but maybe next year!).

Maybe now is a good time to take a look around for a writers conference and writers association a little closer to home. I am a big advocate of baby steps, so why not start by attending a writers conference in your area and then plan on moving on to bigger and better conferences next time?

For a complete list of writers conferences that you can search by state, please visit:

Shaw Guides 

Oh, the people I’ll meet (at the WDB/BEA Conference)

I’m feeling calmer about my trip to NYC the more I prepare to leave. I typed up a list of who’s on first while I’m gone and that made me feel a lot better.

“Grandma Cindy” is flying in on Wednesday and on Tuesday and Wednesday, for sanity’s sake, Samantha will miss two days of preschool.

I imagine I am not the only mom who has trouble replacing herself when she is out of town. For all the moms who have to travel frequently, my heart goes out to you!

I tried on all my clothes and discovered there is only a couple things I need to run out for today. I’m so glad I shopped for this trip gradually over the past couple months. Three cheers for advance notice!

When I was invited on Good Morning America, I had absolutely nothing to wear. None of my old clothes fit any longer.
Why? Because I’d had a baby, that’s why. My weight fluctuates so much more now than it used to. But I don’t get hung up on it. I just make sure I have clothes that fit!

I’m rambling instead of packing (and meeting that deadline that pops up while I’m gone). Here are a few more interesting folks I’ll meet at the Writer’s Digest/BEA conference:

Peter Selgin, By Cunning & Craft: Ten Lessons for Fiction Writers (this is an nice site to check out…love the color!)

Linda Swanson-Davies, co-editor of Glimmer Train Stories

Writer’s Digest Editors: Robert Brewer, editor of Writer’s Market, Chuck Sambuchino, editor of Guide to Literary Agents, Lauren Mosko, editor of Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market and Alice Pope, editor of Children’s & Illustrator’s Writer’s Market

John Truby
, Screenwriter/Director

G. Miki Hayden, Mystery author (bio)

The butterflies in my belly could fly me to New York!

Working on my presentation, “Get Known Before the Book Deal,” for the Writer’s Digest Books/BEA Writing Conference.

No problem with the presentation but the excitement is causing butterflies in my belly that could probably fly me to New York without any help from JetBlue!

I have heard that excitement can be as hard on the ol’ body as stress. After all the excitement I have had this year, I can testify…it’s true. You have to take it easy and slow on this stuff.

I’ve been so busy, I hadn’t been able to bring myself to look at who-all is going to be at the BookExpo itself. It’s pulse-quickening, I’ll tell you. And it’s hard to work afterwards.

Breathe. Breathe. Okay.

Here are links to the online homes of some of the folks who I’ll see there and can’t wait to meet:

Keynote Speaker: Novelist, Jodi Picoult

Other presenters:

Donald Maas, Donald Maas Literary Agency

John Warner, editor of McSweeney’s Internet Tendency


Keith Flynn, founder/editor of the Asheville Poetry Review, author of The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz and Memory

Les Edgerton, author of Hooked, Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Them Go

Maria Schneider, editor, Writer’s Digest

Okay, that gets us through the keynote and the first round of breakout sessions.

More later. Must go plant feet back in ground. I am feeling like just about the most blessed writer on the planet!

Before you hit the road: Sign up for fall writing-for-publication classes!

I bet you’ve already got one foot out the door for the long weekend. Yahoo!

However, before you turn your thoughts turn completely to sunshine, barbeques and the beach, you might want to get a jump on registration for Writers on the Rise fall classes.

Why? Well, for one thing, our e-mail classes are the best value for the best price on the Web. Seriously, if you can find another class that offers as much for as little I will eat my eMac.

This fall is your last chance to take advantage of these classes at these prices. Effective January 2008, the price for all WOTR classes will go up to $199.00 (except for first-time classes).

Check out this awesome line up and then don’t drive off into the sunset without saving your place. I feel quite certain that every class will fill (as has been the case regularly).

2007 WOTR Classes:

Poetry For The People

An E-mail Class with WOTR Managing Editor Sage Cohen

October 3 – November 14, 2007

Jump to Course Description

Writing & Publishing the Short Stuff

August 15 – September 26, 2007

October 3 – November 14, 2007

Jump to Course Description

Platform Building Basics for Writers

October 3 – November 14, 2007

Jump to Course Description

Pitching Practice: Send Six Queries in Six Weeks

(Prior query experience suggested)

August 15 – September 26, 2007

Jump to Course Description

How Pitching Practice Works (Word Doc Download)

For more information and to sign up, visit: 

Clean up in the Writers on the Rise Summer Short Articles Contest

I had so much fun judging the WD contest for writer mamas and papas that we decided to launch a fun, easy, small-fee contest as a fundraiser for Writers on the Rise.

The reason? I’m allergic to ads. Don’t want ’em in my zine or on my blog. At least not for the time being. So, Sage Cohen, WOTR managing editor and I put our heads together and this is what we came up with—an awesome, exciting, motivating contest that we hope will galvanize our readers to produce, produce, produce this summer.

I know I plan on writing my buns off this summer. How about you? And in that same vein, I’ll have more tips on writing and submitting the type of articles that are suggested in section two of Writer Mama and in my class, Writing and Publishing the Short Stuff.

So if you need some motivation to be more prolific this summer, enter our contest. You may do so as many times as you like. And then submit those puppies!

In the meantime, I’d like to hear from you. What questions do you have about writing and submitting short pieces for publication? I’ll answer one a week, all summer long.

Speaking of “clean up”…back to cleaning my office! Whew. What a mess…

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