August 3, 2015

What I Learned at the Writers Digest Annual Conference

Writer's Digest Annual Conference July 31-Aug. 2, 2015
Writer Unboxed panel
I've been to a gazillion writers conferences - all very different - and I love them. Even the bad ones are good (I've never really been to a bad one).
I love being in the company of so many writers all in one place; it's energizing and motivating, and writers are mostly really nice people.
Not every presentation I went to was worthwhile but I can usually get at least one thing out of each one (but sometimes not).
Here are some things I learned at the Writer's Digest Annual Conference:
  • All presentations are not created equal, and content is second to the personality of the presenter
  • You may have written 31 books and won every award known to man (except a Pulitzer), and still, half of the people in the audience will not have ever heard of you.                               ~Jacqueline Woodson  "Just keeping it real," she said.
  • Sometimes you can hear things you've heard a million times before but this time you hear it in a new way and it turns into an "Ah-hah!" moment.
  • Nothing sells your last book like your next book - keep writing!
  • Every author bio contains the phrase "best-selling, award-winning" (except mine)
  • The word "pantser" is inelegant and annoying, and someone needs to come up with a better term. Come on, people, we're writers...
  • Tim Johnston, closing keynote speaker, seemed to be winging his presentation, but he was fun and clever (a fine example of presentation trumping content), and he is, in fact, a New York Times bestselling author.
  • Carpet should not be used as baseboard (The Roosevelt Hotel, NYC)

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