I feel like I should pretend I'm busy writing my little patootie off, but what I'm really doing is lounging on a squishy bed with my balcony door open, listening to the ocean waves.
I've been spending the weekend in Myrtle Beach, SC, at the South Carolina Writer's Workshop, and being very happy that I chose to wait for this conference.
The classes are great. So far I've attended classes on editing and grammar, because yes, I need such refresher courses.
My favorite aspect about the conference so far is the balanced blend of workshops regarding technique and marketing. I'm seesawing back and forth between information I can use when I'm finished the Janie story, and tools I can use for the impending release of Drew in Blue.
Friday was set aside for intensive workshops. Two three-hour classes. My first session was a very in-depth and informative tour through the process of what happens after an agent says 'yes' to your manuscript. It was led by the uh-maaz-ing Rachelle Gardner from WordServe Literary Group. She rolled up her sleeves and took the class through a step-by-step explanation of contracts, and what really happens between an agent and the publishers they are negotiating with. I learned tons, and have a new respect for what an agent's responsibilities are.
The next intensive workshop was on editing for submission with SCWW chair Carrie McCullough, grammar nazi extraordinaire. I mean that in the nicest way. It's always useful to have time to listen to someone who confesses their need to nitpick. She was great, sarcastic, and pointed out some very useful rules that I may have err, forgotten over the years.
So far, I've gotten a lot of faculty with that awesome sarcastic edge. Makes the classes so much more interesting.
Today included shorter workshops, and my heiny thanks the SCWW for that. Yes, I enjoyed the intensive workshops, but anyone who knows me is probably trying to figure out how I sat in a class for three hours without fidgeting off a chair.
Went back to the grammar basics with Roseanne Wells of the Marianne Strong Literary Agency, and took a class on book marketing for wallflowers (boy, I needed that course) presented by Dan Poynter. Suzie Townsend from FinePrint put together a great lecture on the do's and don'ts of social networking.
Tomorrow, I will sit in on a slush-pile session for anonymous query reads, where agents will comment on queries volunteered by various authors. Naturally, I have nothing to shop at this point, thanks to the awesome Lazy Day Publishing people who have taken on Drew in Blue, but hey, I think it's always a good thing to listen in on what tips industry insiders are willing to share.
All in all, I'm very happy with the experience this weekend. My system of hitting the smaller conferences is really working. I love the smaller groups, and the greater opportunity for individual time with editors, agents, and authors.
And I looooove the beach.
So, any writer's reading this? Got any good conference experiences or recommendations to share? Spill the beans!