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…