After a year of planning, finally the big day arrives! As director of our local conference, it’s something I look forward to. You may ask how important is it to attend writing conferences? I suppose it depends on the individual. For me, it’s time well spent. Published or not, and I’ve attended both ways, I find I always learn something. Actually, I learn a lot.

Our local conference, Northeast Texas Writers’ Roundup, www.netwo.org was this past weekend. We were fortunate to bring in two agents. Jill Marr, Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, California, and Doug Grad, Doug Grad Literary Agency, New York. The event provided the perfect opportunity for attendees to submit writing samples and meet with agents face to face to receive critique, and many did. What a great thing for writers!! You can jump ahead of the query process and go straight to conversation regarding your work.

Jill spoke on “How to Pitch an Agent, giving examples of regular pitches and elevator pitches, then took pitches from the audience. Doug presented “Agent of Change,” giving us a clear picture of how the industry is changing for his profession in selling books to big houses. Each conducted a Q & A session.

Tanya Hall and Jonas Koffler from Greenleaf Book Group, LLC, Austin, Texas shared information on publishing and branding with tips of how to use social media.

Our first author of the day was NYT and USA Today best selling author, Molly McAdams, www.mollymcadams.blogspot.com

followed by authors Joe McKinney, www.joemckinney.wordpress.com

and Earl Staggs, www.earlstaggs.wordpress.com

I learned something from each one and it wasn’t all about the craft of writing.

From Molly, I learned sometimes all it takes is just the right connection to make it in this business. She went from self-published to best seller in a matter of months. Fascinating story!

Earl focused on the importance of writing short stories and laced his presentation with humor. A nice break from the instructional part of the day.

Joe McKinney shared his experience of many years in law enforcement showing how to write truthfully about police procedures. From him, through one of his stories, I got an idea for a scene I can include in my next book!

Then, as I networked with fellow members, one lady related a story about her sister and gave me a character idea for my next book!

I always come away from the event…totally worn out, but excited about what I’ve learned.

I strongly recommend finding a conference in your area and signing up. You’ll be glad you did.

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