Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Great Conference!

Last weekend I had a great time at a Christian writers conference. Several hundred authors from novice to the multi-published attended. Among them were home educators. It seems to me homeschoolers and home school graduates are disproportionally represented at the Christian conferences. Perhaps for them (me), after teaching their students literature and writing skills, becoming a writer is a natural progression.

The first evening opened with an awards ceremony for the best published books of the year in various categories. A keynote speaker followed. Afterward, an authors panel and an editor/agent panel discussed the industry and fielded questions from the audience. The next day was filled with speakers, workshops, and opportunities to pitch a manuscript or an idea.

This year I elected to explore the various methods of publication. Traditionally, an author submitted a manuscript to an agent who took it around to publishers. If a publisher could use it, he’d offer a contract. His job was to take care of editing, printing, and distribution. A newer way to publish is with e-books through Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Apple, or Google. The author is responsible for formatting and graphic design. He must do all the marketing, which seems daunting. However, the traditional publishers are now requiring the authors to market as well. Why would some be interested in e-books? The royalty on a printed book is typically $1.12 and 15% of that goes to the agent. E-books yield about $2.50, and there is no agent involved.

While at the conference, I had the opportunity to pitch both ECHOES and KOKOWEEF to an agent, an acquisitions editor, and a publisher. How that works is the author makes a fifteen minute appointment. During that time, he briefly tells what the book is about, leaving time for discussion and marketing strategies. If the person the author pitches to is interested, a full manuscript is requested.

You might consider attending a conference for enrichment or just to see if writing is something you’d like to do. If there aren’t any conveniently located, you might try MuseOnLine Writers Conference. It’s too late to enroll this year, but there is another chance next October. As with regular conferences, there are general sessions, workshops, and pitch sessions. And the price is right—free.—Quinn

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