Ever Wonder What Writers Do at Writer’s Conferences?

Novelist's Inc.Tomorrow I head across the Sunshine Skyway to the Tradewinds Resort on St. Pete Beach  for the Novelist’s Inc. conference.

Through the years I’ve been a member of various writer’s organizations but the one I’m still involved in is NINC. Novelist’s Inc. is the only writer’s organization devoted exclusively to the needs of multi-published fiction authors. We’ll celebrate twenty-five years in existence this year, and the Tradewinds will be a great place to do it. Coincidentally the Tradewinds is mere minutes from the house where I grew up, so it’s a homecoming, too.

But what do multi-published authors still have to talk about at writer’s conference? After all, we’re already well published. We know how to create characters, how to tell a story, how to keep tension high in our novels. Clearly we know enough to find publishers and convince them our books are worth buying.

Truth is, publishing is changing so fast these days that it’s impossible to stay one step ahead. Until recently when I was asked how to get published, I recited nearly the same speech I’d been reciting for decades. But these days I shrug. I don’t know the answer anymore, because there are so many answers, and so many of them are good ones.

As a clue to what we’ll discover together this weekend, here are just a few of our fabulous speakers:

  • Porter Anderson, Tweeter extraordinaire and journalist, speaker and consultant will bring us his expertise as our keynote speaker
  • Hugh Howey, author of the New York Times bestseller Wool, which was independently published and so successful that book and author are almost icons of the industry
  • Carolyn Pittis, who is now the managing director of Welman Digital LLC,  and formerly a VP at Harper-Collins
  • Jon Fine, director of Author and Publishing Relations for Amazon.com
  • Mark Lefebvre, the Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations at KOBO

We have top literary agents–including my own–publicists, editors, publishers, authors–both traditionally and independently published–and so much more.

Throughout the weekend we’ll be discussing the future of publishing, selling to foreign markets, how to get our rights back or keep them in new contracts, promotional tools, working with an assistant, audio books, cover design, even a fun workshop on cop culture. I’ll be on a late night informal panel about women’s fiction. The list goes on forever, but unlike most writer’s conferences, we won’t have workshops on writing, because, well, that’s what we already know.

I wish you could be with me at this particular casual writer’s conference  to experience the excitement. You, too, could wear sandals and capris to workshops, worry more about sunscreen than lipstick and hairspray. You could sit on the beach with your favorite drink and watch the sun going down, knowing it will come up again tomorrow in every bit as spectacular a display.

Like publishing.

Things are changing and quickly, but once the sun sets authors won’t be in the dark for long, and certainly neither will readers. Readers already have so many new and wonderful options. Easily available audiobooks. Ebooks you can download and read instantly. Traditional books. And coming? Well, the publishing sky’s the limit.

So even though I plan to spend some time under the blue sky over the white sands of the Tradewinds, I’ll also be thinking of you and saving bits of information here and there that I think you’ll find interesting.

Until then. I’m lifting a piña colada in toast.

Leave a Comment