Archive for the 'Publishing' Category

My article “Almost Famous” in the 2008 Guide to Literary Agents

2008 Guide to Literary AgentsMove over 2007 version, the 2008 Guide to Literary to Literary Agents is about to hit the shelves!

I contributed an article called, “Almost Famous, Start Building a Platform to Garner More Attention and Respect.”

Here’s a teaser from Editor Chuck Sambuchino’s GLA blog.

I met Chuck at the BEA and Writer’s Digest/BEA Conference and he is a super-nice guy, who enjoys seems to genuinely enjoy helping writers seeking publication.

I’ve also been writing about platform development for The Willamette Writer this year. All of these columns are reprinted in Writers on the Rise. If you are interested, you can pull up the whole series by clicking here. (It will come up in reverse chronological order, so scroll down to the bottom to read the series in order.)

I also started teaching a class that focuses on platform called Platform Building Basics for Writers that I’ll be offering again starting October 3rd. If you are interested, you can find more info here.

You may be wondering, “What’s all the fuss about platform? Can’t I just write well and let that be enough?”

Well, I’ll let Writer Mama editor Jane Friedman from Writer’s Digest answer this question for me. Not too long ago she told me this:

Platform development is more important than ever for writers seeking publication.

More important than ever. You might not like hearing this. You might feel like developing a platform on top of everything else you have to learn is simply asking too much. But I’ve been growing my platform alongside my writing career for years and I am here to tell you that not only is it fun, it’s also extremely gratifying.

So, as I teach in my platform class, try to keep an open mind. No one is asking you to do anything that compromises your integrity.

It’s just that the days of the isolated writer slaving away in obscurity are over and a new day has already dawned—the day of the multi-tasking writer, who keeps introversion and extroversion in balance.

And to that, I say, Amen.

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The Best Willamette Writers Conference Ever!

Willamette Writer’s Conference LogoWell, I have just finished reviewing the 2007 Willamette Writer’s Conference schedule and I all I can say is, “WOW!”

If you are a writer in the Pacific Northwest, simply put, you do not want to miss this learning and career-growing opportunity.

In fact, if I had to say what has made the biggest difference in my writing career, ever, I would have to give credit to my membership and participation in Willamette Writers and the Willamette Writer’s Conference.

As a member, I go to informative monthly meetings, keep tabs on the all the latest publishing industry breaking news, keep up with local goings on via weekly e-mail announcements, and get to enjoy hanging out with new and old writer buddies!

I write a column on platform development for the monthly newsletter, which is a valuable resource for both traditionally published and self-published writers.

As a presenter at the conference, I get to give workshops, critique manuscripts, have a signing for Writer Mama, hang out at the Writer’s Faire with fellow authors, meet attendees, spend time with awesome folks from the publishing industry (like Writer’s Digest Books Writer Mama editor, Jane Friedman) and so much more.

I think that the organizers of this year’s conference deserve a standing ovation!

And this year, Retrofit Films will be making a documentary film of the agent and editor pitching process! How totally awesome. I can’t wait to see it!

If you are thinking about coming but you are on the fence for any reason, all I can say is:

Do not miss the Willamette Writer’s Conference.

You’ll thank me later.

And if you are not in Portland or the Pacific Northwest, I suggest that you find a writer’s conference near you OR make plans now to be here for next year’s Willamette Writer’s Conference.

And be sure to look me up if you come. 🙂

One-Pager I offered in Writer Mama

Here is a Microsoft Word download of the one-pager that I refer to in Writer Mama.

One-pager for Christina Katz from August 2005

Your one-pager should be a simple summary of your bio as it relates to your active platform, as much as your current platform is relevant to the book concept you are pitching. This is one of the three document you can share with agents or editors at a conference, if they are interested, that I discuss in much more detail in my book, Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids.

Needless to say, my platform has grown tremendously in the past two years, as it should. So my one-pager today would look very different than it did in 2005.
When I get back from vacation in July, I will add the one-pager to the Writer Mama website, as promised.

Photos from the Writer’s Digest Booth at the BEA

Meet some of the sales and marketing team from F+W Publications (except Chuck Sambuchino—he’s the editor of the 2008 WDB Guide to Literary Agents)!

It was my pleasure to meet them at the WDB/BEA Writer’s Conference and see them again at the Writer’s Digest/F+W BEA booth.

Steve Koenig gave a very interesting talk about the sales and marketing side of the biz t the conference.

Scott and Phil sat with him on the mock sales meeting presentation at the writer’s conference (which I loved for all the insider information and good-for-writers-to-know insights).

Scott and Phil are both authors. Scott’s book is Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America (forthcoming), and Phil’s are A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words (WDB, 2007) and Legends of Literature (forthcoming), which is a collection of old Writer’s Digest Magazine interviews and profiles with once barely known writers, who are now super-famous.

I bet most of us are quick to forget the fact that Stephen King was once a rising writer just like us, and not always an internationally known author.

Doesn’t that sound fun?

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…

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)


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