Sunday, February 18, 2024

Invest In Your Writing

By Terry Whalin 

Many editors and agents are difficult to reach. These gatekeepers play an important role in the publishing community. This aspect of publishing is rarely discussed but your connection to this person is important aspect of publishing. As Ive written in these articles, every author needs a champion for their submission. 

As a new writer, how can you connect with these important gatekeepers? Many publishers dont take electronic or mail submissions which is sometimes called a slush pile. They are not on LinkedIN or interested in developing new connections. These professionals are busy with their current books and authors. Its the same story with the literary agents and often more difficult to get their attention much less to have them represent your work. In fact, its rare for them to sign a new author. 

If you want to break into the publishing business, what are your options? They are limited but one of the best ways to make connections with an editor or literary agent is to attend a writers conference. For many years Ive been teaching and attending various writers conferences. In detail, this article gives the reasons why you should attend a conference. At the bottom of the article, there is a link to learn about various conferences.

Next month I will be teaching at the Blue Lake Christian Writers Conference. This particular event is a smaller conference (about 100 people) which gives each person the opportunity to get to know the faculty, talk about why you want to do what you want to do, then get their ideas and input. 

I understand that attending such an event is an investment in your writing. It will cost you time and money to make this effort but it is an investment that Ive seen return many fold through my years in publishing.

I encourage you to invest in your writing and attend a conference--even plan to come to Blue Lake next month. Take the time to get prepared, select your classes and the people you want to meet at the event. Also create a business card and bring lots of them to exchange with people. Create a one-page pitch with your article idea or your book project. Then go to the event with an open heart. You never know who you will met and what door of opportunity they will open to you during your conversation. I find often what happens is not what you expect or anticipate. At these events, Ive made life-long friends who have read and reviewed my books. Ive also met editors who have called or reached out to me when they have a writing need or a project for me to tackle. These relationships often began at a writers conference. 

As writers, we spend a lot of time alone but we need each other to accomplish this work and reach others. Some of these connections happen at a writers conference. I look forward to what will happen at Blue Lake next month. I hope to see you there. In the comments below, let me know what steps you are taking to invest in your writing


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