On average, at any writers conference, I take between one and two pages of notes. At this conference? Over six pages, typewritten, single-spaced. Oh yeah, it was that good
Lyle Mortimer, the publisher of Cedar Fort, has hit a home run with their new publicist, Doug Johnston who was the MC of the entire event. He's a whiz, I kid you not. This man knows what he is doing.
First, Jeffrey Marsh, Cedar Fort's acquisitions editor, stepped up and gave us some excellent advice on writing. He recommended a book called "The Writer's Journey" and recommended to all that we should read it, study it, learn it and internalize it. Inferred message: read it or don't bother to submit. Okay, I added that part, but that's what it sounded like to me. Yes, it's on order.
The second speaker was Abel Keogh, the author of Room for Two, who spoke on marketing via the internet with websites (got one), blogs (got one), important pages on your website (got 'em, although I'm going to keep mine one page called Event rather than Sightings. Sightings sounds a little too E.T. to me. I bet Dashner or Savage would like that though!) Anyway, he gave lots of great advice for branding your name and getting your books known across the worldwide web. And yes, I bought his book. He did a really good job and I can't wait to dive into his book.
The third speaker was Janet Jensen, the author of the new and best-selling "Don't You Marry the Mormon Boys." Marketing genius extraordinaire! She walked us through putting together a killer Media Kit, how to get listed in literary databases, book signings, entering writing contests, getting reviews on our books, blogs, book clubs . . . you name it, she touched on and expanded our knowledge on marketing our work. She did a fantastic job and I had to email her and ask for a copy of her media kit it was so good! I had one for previous books, but for my upcoming books . . . oh yeah, Media Kit on steroids, baby.
Doug Johnston then talked to us about being our own worst enemies. In essence, and he's right on the money on this, if you want your books to sell you've got to get out there and sell it. With thousands upon thousands of books on the shelves of stores across the world the one thing that separates your book from every other is . . . you. Doug really drove this point home and gave us lots of great information on getting out there and selling our books. Here are a few things you NEVER tell your publisher/publicist/marketing:
- I don’t blog
- I don’t have a website
- I have a website but no one comes to it
- You are not doing anything for my book
- I have an amazing book, you need to advertise it
Then stepped up the keynote speaker: Eloise Owens. Her name is burned in my brain because she repeated that name at least 100 times in the next 3 1/2 hours. Putting that aside, she was fantastic. She's a high energy, likable professional trainer and author of Get Off the Beach. She wowed the attendees with her analysis and advice on simply stepping up and getting that book written. She gave some great advice on getting past writers block, which I am putting into effect tomorrow morning. I used to write 14 hours a day, I'm starting that schedule again tomorrow. I used to love it. I will love it again. She really lit a fire in me and for that I am very grateful.
So Doug, thanks for encouraging me to come. It was worth every single second of the time spent away from the manuscript I'm working to finish. You better believe that I'll attend the next one too.
I picked up some great quotes from the conference that I just have to share:
“Fear is high when knowledge is low.” Michael Willis, championship surfer
“Writing is easy. All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. ~ Gene Fowler
“Emotions have a way of exaggerating reality.” Eloise Owens
“There is wisdom in wipeouts.” Eloise Owens
“You always go where you look.” Michael Willis, championship surfer
“If you don’t go . . . you won’t know.” Eloise Owens
“The bigger the wave, the quieter the ride.” Michael Willis, championship surfer
These little nuggets of wisdom hit me in different ways, all good. I really felt energized by this conference and ready to finish books four and five, which I've been working for far too long!
Books I picked up at the conference:
Get Off the Beach by Eloise Owens,
Room for Two by Abel Keogh,
The Silent Patriots by JoAnn Arnold,
The Tribe of Ephraim: Covenant and Bloodline by Steven D. Green,
The Story of the Book of Abraham by H. Donl Peterson, and
The Book of Jasher.
Cedar Fort was running a great deal on them and I couldn't resist, 75% off. Those are my kind of prices!
So all of you who write, want to write, intend to write, have ever thought about writing, you're going to want to keep an eye on the Cedar Fort website for their next writers conference. It is a must attend, just like the LDS Storymakers Conference next March.
The next books I will be reviewing, sometime next week, will be Keeping Keller by Tracy Winegar and The Journey by Jewel Adams, both LDS Authors.
Then it's back to whatever strikes my fancy next . . . most likely the idiocy of Barack Obama as the next president of the United States.
I'm on a Virtual Book Tour for Forged in the Refiner's Fire. It's actually a lot of fun! I'll be dropping by Karen Hoover's A Writer's Ramblings today. No wait, that's tomorrow, not today. My bad. Post questions and I'll be happy to answer them.