My first writer’s conference was amazing! I can’t believe I waited all these years to attend one, but I don’t believe in coincidences.
The opening speech was by Jay Asher, who wrote “Thirteen Reasons Why“. It’s a YA novel on the New York Times bestseller (for 60 weeks in a row, I think). His speech was hilarious as well as inspirational. With his easy charm and great humor, he shared his story as an aspiring author and entry into the publishing world. I learned that you may start out writing one genre and end up discovering that you’re more gifted in an entirely different one.
Other speakers included editors and an agent. I learned a lot from all of these women. It was great to see them as real people, instead of “the agent” or “publishers”. One main message I got from the editors is: use an agent – they very rarely publish a new author who doesn’t have an agent. Also, make sure it’s well written because the competition is huge. I just had to look around the conference room to bring this message home. Another message is that my WIP (work in progress) is seriously in need of more revisions!! 🙂 More on this later.
The main message I got from the agent was that she had to believe in the manuscript to be able to sell it. I can totally understand this. This brings up another message: send ms to several agents because they are all individuals with different tastes.
In the middle of all this, I was fortunate to make the lottery for a chapter critique by Jay Asher! He was just as funny and nice during our one-on-one meeting. He made a line-by-line edit of my first chapter and ms synopsis, which was more than I expected. He had great advice and overall was quite positive. Thanks Jay! It was refreshing to hear his opinions and I felt encouraged to keep at it.
My revisions, based on the critique, were not too bad; I was able to make the changes as soon as I got home. However, I decided to shake things up some more and it is still a WIP. I’m even considering writing something new in a different genre just for the fun of it. And, writing is fun — I’m loving the process! As much as it would be amazing to get published, I’m loving the ride along the way.