Caesar said, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” I’ll adjust, “I went, I learned, I enjoyed.” That sums up my experience attending the Unicorn Writers Conference. It was as advertised, and one of the better conferences I’ve attended. Importantly, it delivered the most critical elements needed to be valuable to authors at all levels of proficiency … a superb faculty, a high quality selection of top-flite agents, and editors from some of the largest publishers in the business. The classes did what they should do: after the writer participated in the session they left with another bit of knowledge for their authoring tool box. The facility was impressive, had a literary feel, and was spacious enough to avoid the hint of crowding. Stephanie Evanovich did a fine job presenting the keynoter, in an auditorium whose AC had a nervous break-down.
One problem for me was a result of the spaciousness; it seemed the distance to the nearest restroom was considerable no matter where you were. Problem – I’m awaiting hip replacement. There were a few “clerical issues” that caused some problems that aggravated, but were overcome.
That said, I’d highly recommend attending the Unicorn Writers Conference. I’ll return. At the risk of redundancy, the collection of agents, editors, and faculty was one of the best assembled at a conference I’ve attend in twenty plus years of going to these events. The review sessions were long enough to be of value, not a ten minute quickie that allows for no depth of analysis. Go.
As I mentioned in a previous post, the interchange with fellow authors allows you to learn and to educate. I picked up some great research sources, names of some important publishing contacts, etc. My gray hair and my list of traditionally published novels generated one repeated question from those starting on the “trail of tears.” The question was “What is the one most critical piece of advice you have for aspiring writers?” My answer – Don’t rush the process! First, don’t just sit down and hope something will happen magically at the keyboard. Find a topic, idea, or cause that you wish to champion … one you can address with passion … then WRITE! Remember the authoring process has just begun when you finish your first draft. Wash, polish, wax then strip and begin again. When you think it’s perfect, repeat the process. The reason there is more manure in the literary pipeline than a Washington DC sewer is the failure to strive for supreme quality.
Odds & Ends:
My book, Bully Route Home, is released. It might take your favorite bookstore or online source a little time to get it to you. My publisher is in the process of changing distributors and, well, #@%!$&*#@ !!!! Be patient. If you want it quickly, I have a limited number. You can go to my web site and order from me. Use the link in the right hand column.
I met some wonderful new folks like Bob Zaslow, Stephanie Evanovich, Chuck Miceli, and Gail Cleare … and renewed some old relationships with super people like Kathy Sands. (I’m her Gator Man.) I’ll talk about these in future posts.
Definition of frustration: Having a nine state, thirty-one book store tour set to introduce your new book, bbbbuuuutttt having to go to the first three-quarters sans books. Sigh. A flyer for a substitute is like hunting lions with a sling-shot.
Till next time … and soon.
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