Six months ’til LA9, only one month out of SD25, and we got mucho good “muse” to report. ZOVA Books has signed Jessica Therrien for her debut novel The Descendants after discovering her in workshop at our February event. A boutique publisher representing such acclaimed authors as Dances With Wolves novelist and Academy Award winning screenwriter Michael Blake, as well as Pulitzer nominated bestselling author of Sacagawea, Anna Lee Waldo, the deal with Jessica marks a significant expansion of their catalog into the young adult readership. Release is slated for February, 2012.
Also just in, SD21 Outstanding Fiction Award winning conferee Laurence O’Brien — who traveled from Dublin, Ireland to join us — reports, “Just thought you would like to know that I have been offered a 3-book publishing contract with Harper Collins UK with world rights to follow and a January 2012 launch of my first book, The Istanbul Puzzle, to be followed in January 2013 by The Jerusalem Puzzle.” Workshop leader and freelance editor Jean Jenkins can take a lot of the credit for that.
Overall, been a great many months for past SCWC conferees. Among the most recently published: Raul Ramos y Sanchez (House Divided), Claudia Whitsitt (The Wrong Guy), John Rosenberg (The Healthy Edit), Jenny Hilborne (Madness and Murder), T.B. Smith (The Sticking Place), Julie Ann Weinstein (Flashes from the Other World), E. Scott Menter and Kelly Thacker (Hummingbird Review), and Pam Goldstein (Chicken Soup for the Empty Nester, along with her first play, The Interview, which premieres April).
We’ll begin rolling out staff announcements for our September event over the next several weeks. As with the San Diego conference, we’re keeping up to speed on digital innovations impacting the industry, and all that every writer needs to know to flourish in this new Age of the Entrepreneurial Author. In the meantime, register before June 1st to take advantage of the $75 Early “Bard” Discount. You’ve earned it!
Newport Beach rocked on every level — literally so Saturday evening! From the agents to the editors to even the most curmudgeonly veteran workshop leader, consensus is that the quality of material presented by conferees at LA8 possibly hit a new high. As with every SCWC event, however, only a chosen few can be singled out for award recognition.
Ceremony by Indy Quillen
of San Diego, CA
How to Raise a Husband by Tonilyn Hornung
from Granada Hills, CA
Debacle’s Muse (read here) by Tracy Neis
from Placentia, CA
Congratulations to the honorees. And congratulations to all the writers who joined our community this past weekend. As you now know, you’re an essential part of it and you are not alone. If you haven’t already, join the SCWC Facebook group and keep us informed of all your writerly success. Our 25th annual San Diego event is only five months away. Now go forth and write well!
Author Maralys Wills has been added to the schedule. In addition to conducting at least a read & critique workshop or two, she’ll be accepting advance submissions in mainstream, literary and historical fiction, along with memoir and narrative non-fiction. Ever the genre-skipping authority, her recent Damn the Rejections, Full Speed Ahead is a must-have for all writers determined to sell what they’ve written.
Plenty of room still available for our Newport Beach event, however the NovelCram is starting to fill up. And for those interested in Jean Jenkins‘ “Best Foot Forward” workshops, as of this morning there are only 4 seats left.
A heads up for those submitting to advance submission readers: All material must be in our hands by no later than this coming Sunday, September 6. What that really means, of course, is you should have it in the mail for delivery on Saturday at the latest.
More to report soon. In the meantime, here’s your latest Writer Replay, in which an accomplished author is reminded what truly matters in today’s ever-changing publishing world.
Jeff Sherratt’s The Brimstone Murders became the bestselling book of all time for Echelon Press in 2008. Come October, Detour to Murder, the fourth installment of his popular Jimmy O’Brien mystery series, is out from freshly launched ZOVA Books and we’re happy to have him (as well as some of the folk behind the new house). ZOVA’s also inked a deal for a new thriller by our own Mike Sirota, called Fire Dance, to be published next year.
Deadlines are approaching and to poorly paraphrase Doug Adams, nobody enjoys the sound of a deadline whooshing past more than a writer. Thing is, you don’t want to miss these two important deadlines: Sept. 1 to take advantage of Early “Bard” Registration savings; Sept. 5 — the absolute drop-dead-deadline to get your advance submission material to the SCWC. Many of the readers remain open, so if you’re considering choosing any now is the time to make is so.
Speaking of advance submissions, we’re getting a lot of questions about what should be in the cover letter to your respective reader(s). Think of the cover letter as you would a good query letter. Be concise, communicative and courteous.
Here are a couple of terrific examples:
While Drusilla Campbell‘s NovelCram immersion track remains open at this time, Jean Jenkins‘ two-part “Best Foot Forward: Polishing to Impress” workshop is limited to only 12 participants. Geared specifically to empower genre fiction writers with the essential tools to distinguish their work from the 99% of submissions routinely floundering out there, there are only four spots remaining as of today. Pre-conference commitment to this workshop is mandatory. Here’s the details.
The posted schedule. Don’t even attempt to print it, else you’ll waste a ream of paper. With the new layout of the site this has caused understandable grief among some. We understand. In the next week or so there will be a printable .pdf of the working schedule posted for download.
Don’t forget to subscribe to our RSS feed to keep up on all the latest updates. LA8 is shaping up to be another fantastic SCWC writers’ weekend, so be there or be — um — where?
Now here’s your latest Writer Replay, in which Russell confides in his newly found muse.
LA2 conferee John Rosenberg, winner of our Outstanding Fiction award for his then novel-in-progress Monday in the Tropics, is about to make his book debut. A non-fiction title, also evolving from an SCWC nudge, The Healthy Edit: Creative Editing Techniques for Perfecting Your Movie is out December from Focal Press. Way to finish, John!
New World Library editorial director Georgia Hughes is accepting a limited number of advance submissions in the areas of spirituality, personal growth, inspirational and sustainable business, nature and animals, women’s issues, parenting, and alternative health. Given the amount of material along these lines coming in at the moment, it’s likely she’ll fill up fast. Other readers now getting close to maxing out include Denise Dumars, Mollie Glick, and Taylor Martindale.
As posted in last week’s update, the Age of the Entreprenurial Author is here. But now that Dorchester has joined Medallion in announcing plans to cut its mass market paperback line to focus on ebooks, and given that authors who elect simply to bypass the house and sell their ebooks directly through Amazon’s Kindle service can earn as much as 70% for each sold, versus a mere 8% to 12% on hard copies sold through traditional publishers (at least those fortunate to sell enough books to cover any advance granted), what we’re really discovering is that it’s the Era of Author Autonomy that has arrived.
Even name authors long published by established or independent houses are beginning to recognize it. Many of the most successful have always been entreprenurial in devising fresh ways of finding an audience, selling their books, and building their brand. Thing is, will you jump aboard? Should you? Is it true that traditional publishers are only interested in preventing authors from making as much money from their work as they do?
Fact is, it’s a brand new paradigm. How to survive and flourish in it is what we’ll be addressing a lot at both September’s and February’s SCWC events. No doubt we’ll be addressing it for many other conferences to follow.
The official LA8 schedule is nearly dialed in and should be posted this week. In the meantime, there’s plenty of room at the conference regardless of where you’re at as a writer. Need ideas, feedback, advice, information–or just want to break free of writing in isolation? Join our .COMmunity and come to Newport Beach. You’ve earned it. Discounted Early “Bard” Registration expires Sept. 1.
And for those following Neva, Penny and Russell’s writers’ conference adventures, here’s episode six of Writer Replay.
With less than two months before we gather again for another frenzied weekend of writerly unrest, things are beginning to get tight on the optional Advance Readers front. Literary rep Matt Hudson is sold out as of today, and several other agents, authors and editors are filling up fast…
Upside is that writers of all ilk are writing and submitting material to working authors for empirically qualified feedback on what they’ve written, to editors for the prospect of landing a home, to agents who might not gong the brutal gong of rejecting them as clients. Downside is that the deadline for submitting is Sept. 5, and long before that near-distant day many of these readers will no longer be available. Given the volume of submissions coming in we’re happy to report that Jean Jenkins has been added to the schedule and will, as usual, also be accepting a limited amount of material in mystery, thriller, police procedural, suspense fiction & narrative nonfiction. Many of you know that as a freelance editor Jeanie’s been personally responsible for shepherding several a book to publication with such houses as Random House, Avon and Donald I. Fine through the SCWC, and usually sells out as well.
If you registered early and selected reader(s) “to be announced” this is the time to let us know who you want. If you haven’t registered, yet plan to do so with an optional advance reader submission, get on it. This is YOUR precious. This is YOUR opportunity. This is the moment to shine — even if ever so dimly — in effort to validate one’s purposeful being through the publication of a book. Or at least justify in some way the incalculable hours spent writing the damn thing. (Be sure to subscribe to our RSS feed to keep apprised of who remains available.)
Engage, inspire, entertain or incite, heal, inform, argue or upset, regardless of what motivates any of us to spark intellectual flame to blank, conceited page, what most every writer shares is one ultimate aim: getting readers to pay money to read what we’ve written. Whether that’s a lot or not is what has the New York powerhouses of publishing — until today the gatekeepers of authorial eminence and profit — flailing.
The ever-expanding avenues for writers today to foster, bolster and, more greatly, personally profit from, a readership is unlike any before. The phenomenon that has taken traction, the reality so swiftly sweeping aside the arcane mainstream publishing modalities and perceptions, is, in a word, eBooks. And like them or not eBooks are here to stay.
So in addition to addressing the myriad issues regarding effective marketing strategies to better build an author platform — too often the subjective “lack” of which is now arguably the cornerstone of inadequately informed justification by said gatekeepers to reject otherwise exceptional material that warrants an audience — we’re going to deal with what might turn out to be the greatest compliment to a writer’s arsenal. It is Scribd.com (pronounced “scribbed,” as in scribbling).
As cited in our June 22nd update, Bay Area conferee Hyla Molander joined us for the first time at this year’s SD24 conference with her manuscript-in-progress, Drop Dead Life: A Pregnant Widow’s Heartfelt and Often Comic Journey about Death, Birth, and Rebirth. An especially good writer with a wicked sense of social networking savvy, Hyla turned to Scribd amassed some 30,000 readers in only three months. Despite rejection from three agents who truly dug the material, but expressed reservations on the audience, her accomplishment this past week resulted in two very large, very serious NY houses contacting her directly about it. Writer’s Digest’s Jane Friedman interviewed Hyla for her There Are No Rules blog, and we’ve added Hyla to the schedule to conduct “Scribd Success: How to Accumulate Readers on Scribd.com.”
Don’t forget that the $25 discount for advance registration expires Sept. 1. It’s going to be a fantastic conference with lots of fantastic writers, so be sure to be one of them. Also, for those who can’t make Newport Beach but do plan to attend our extra-long Presidents’ Day Weekend event in San Diego, where we’ll be unveiling our new 3/10 Power Pen track, register for SD25 by Sept. 1 and save a whopping $100. More soon.
As we never seem to get enough time with author Steven M. Thomas (Criminal Karma), this year we’re doubling the dose. In addition to handling advance submission critique duties he’ll be conducting two new workshops being added to the schedule, “Addictive Fiction: Using Conflict to Capture Readers” and “Words of Life: How to Write Killer Dialogue.”
Aboard for the first time is literary agent Dana Newman. Representing her own agency, Dana’s got a keen interest in exceptional narrative and practical non-fiction. Historically, of course, the SCWC has delivered a lot on the non-fiction front with such choice books as Stacey O’Brien‘s Wesley The Owl, Karen Ronney’s Proud Parent’s Guide, and Peggy Vincent’s Babycatcher, just to name a few. Given the quality of material coming across the advance submission desk, we thinks she may score here her first time out.
For the entrepreneureal author, perhaps at no other time in history has there been so many tools to find and cultivate an audience than those available only a mouse click away today. Author branding, now such a crucial part of the publishing puzzle, is all the rage and for good reason. Thing is, there’s so much noise out there, so much distraction and misinformation, that plenty of it amounts to nothing more than a tremendously ineffectual time-suck for writers who’d rather be finishing their books. Understanding the social networking tools and tactics to successfully build a platform on which to bolster the potential of success for your book is the subject of another new workshop: “There’s No Such Thing As A Good Book, Only A Good Brand.” Being led by the team behind startup BackMyBook.com, make no mistake that Gk Parish-Philp, Tay Nguyen and Wayland Myers know the terrain and how to walk it. Check out their bios. This is probably the number one subject everybody’s been wanting us to address this conference.
Don’t forget that Drusilla Campbell’s NovelCram: Building the Better Book is on again for LA8. We’ve sold out this immersion track the last four conferences so if you’re looking to expand your tacklebox of writing tools (forgive me, Lynn), this might be the one for you.
Finally, it’s another new Writer Replay — Woo-hoo! In this episode, Penny prepares for her first ever read & critique workshop.