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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

 

Back to the Essentials of Writing at Writing Conferences

After attending the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference (PWC) from June 11-13, I am now filled with new ideas and motivation to write, market my writing, and write some more!


The conference offered many different workshops and lectures on fiction, nonfiction and poetry writing, guest speakers like Jeffrey Zaslow and Larry Kane, and a Q&A session with a panel of agents and editors.

Self-Marketing

One of the most helpful sessions for me was a panel led by PWC board member Don Lafferty, entitled “Sell Yourself and Your Writing.” I found it most helpful probably because selling myself is the area of the writing business I struggle with most. Although I have confidence in both myself and my writing, I still find it difficult to toot my own horn. I also don’t always know at whom I should be tooting.

The panelists gave great advice on how to begin marketing yourself, both before and after your book is published. One panelist said that for three months prior to her book release, she spends eight hours a day doing nothing but marketing. During that time, she does things like create postcards to hand out and leave at various locations, hone in on the social networking community with particular interest in the topic of her book, send press releases and build an e-mail list of potential buyers of your books.

The one bit of information that all of the speakers, lecturers and panelists throughout the conference kept emphasizing over and over is that writers need to be more proactive than ever with their self-marketing efforts and they need to start marketing and building a platform long before that first book is released.

Reinforcement of the Essentials of Writing

Many of the PWC workshops were geared towards writers with little experience, therefore much of the information was a review for writers who went to school specifically for creative writing or have been actively writing and publishing for a few years. It is helpful, however, to re-hear some of those fundamental parts of writing, like the power of quirky characters, how to show – don’t tell, and the importance of being part of a writing community. Other hidden gems of information crept into the conference, too, so you had to be alert at all times not to miss anything.

Have you attended a writing conference lately? Did you find they were geared towards beginning or intermediate level writers? What did you learn from the conference that you never knew before? We’d love to hear about your writing conference experiences!

Visit Anne Greenawalt’s blog for an additional review of the PWC.

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