Monday, November 4, 2013

Day 302 of the 365 Days of Blogging

The author/publisher,
Dane F. Baylis



The first thing I learned was that I have a style and voice that is pretty much all mine. As I  mingled about, I noticed a knot of fantasy/adventure types over here, some romance writers there, in another corner were the memoirists or historical fiction types, and then there were the ever present how-to writers. I was the author of urban grit poetry and fiction wandering between the writers. Yes, I said writers, because there were only a few actual authors in the audience. This was attributable to the event being a smaller, local venue. Still, the house was definitely full.
The first two speakers were Toni Lopopolo, former Executive Editor for a number of major houses, and now a literary agent of inestimable repute. With her was Shelly Lowenkopf, listed as one of California's pre-eminent editors and an author of over 35 books. He has personally seen over 700 books to publication. They presented a workshop on log lines - the one single sentence summary that is the first thing most agents and editors see of your work. This was followed by another discussion of why your willingness to do the re-writes is far more important than your need to get that book seen.
Then came a two-person panel on the memoir, featuring Alice Rene and Matthew Pallamary. These two were a wealth of knowledge both for the memoirists in the house and for writers of other disciplines. Matt was a surprise for me because we grew up in the same neighborhood at about the same time!
The first day's closer was a panel of agents consisting of Charlotte Gusay, B.J. Robbins, Toni Lopopolo, and Dana Newman. Let's face it guys, these are the gatekeepers to the upper echelon. It was good to hear them speak frankly and with authority about what it takes in an ever shrinking market to get through to the in-house editors and decision makers.
Sunday started a little later in the morning with a talk and Q+A on preparing for self-publishing with author Ayn Cate Sullivan and former St. Martin's Press book designer Deborah Daly. We've all seen those self-published tragedies out there. These two women were a wealth of advice on how to avoid the mistakes and why you need to!
The afternoon continued on the self-publishing theme with a panel discussion of options for printing and distribution. The two members of the panel were "Book Shepherd" Ellen Reid and the publisher of the last two Ventura County Writer's Club anthologies, Barbara Pisczek. The information was great, and the emphasis on enlisting as much help as you can afford, while still remaining profitable, was invaluable.
The program ended with a session on platform building. On this panel were Stephen Smoke of Independent Book Marketing Group (IBMG), book publicist Flo Selfman, NY Times Best selling author Margaret Brownley, and author Tom Silver. They really brought into focus the fact that PLATFORM is whatever it takes to get your name out there and is your responsibility. With marketing budgets getting thinner all the time, even if you get picked up by a major house, they will expect you to do a lot of the legwork. If you've got the networks in place, it may increase your chances.
So, there it all is in the condensed version. After a full week at the day job, it felt like a weekend's worth of overtime. But I definitely walked away with a ton of ideas and a charge to the old enthusiasm. As I said yesterday, if you've never attended one of these conferences, do it. You might be surprised at what you can learn.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------, love, write.
Want to follow or subscribe to this blog? There are gadgets for that on the right side of the
page. You can leave comments in the form below. I can be reached directly at . You can also find links to some of the sites I visit from time to time on the right. I'm also looking for submissions to the Your Work/Your Love page. Authors retain all rights.

Dane F. Baylis

No comments:

Post a Comment