2013 has been a banner year for SCWCers with several fine books representing the gamut of genres being published via traditional houses, boutique publishers and indie alternate methods. Though regular updates for SD28 won’t begin until October, we’re excited to announce one of our very Special Guest Speakers all ready confirmed. Citing the SCWC as the first conference she attended when starting out writing, author Suzanne Redfearn proclaims it “an integral part of my journey to getting published.” Come Oct. 8, 2013, published she will be as Grand Central releases Suzanne’s debut thriller, Hush Little Baby. Kirkus hails it, “A compelling tale of the deceit, violation and anguish that undergird the myth of suburbia.” #1 NYT bestselling author Alyson Noël effuses, “[B]eautifully nuanced prose and taut pacing.” And Jane Porter (Brennan Sisters Trilogy) declares, “[A] brilliant debut. Powerful and compelling.”
As usual, our winter event will feature plenty of read & critique workshops conducted by working authors, along with our uniquely tailored slate of interactive troubleshooting and craft-centric sessions. Our popular DYI (Do Yourself Independence) track will return, geared to address the latest trends and further empower today’s entrepreneurial authors with the vital information required to thrive in today’s ever-expanding transmedia publication industry.
Early “Bard” Registration is now open. Do so by Sept. 15 and save a whopping $100 on Full Conference or NovelCram immersion track participation.
Up next, of course, is our fall conference in Newport Beach. If we don’t see you there, we look forward to hooking up February in San Diego.
Ahh, the Winter Conference. So much sun, so much fun, and barely a wink of sleep for near everyone. In fact, while not yet confirmed to be the record, Rogue Read & Critique Workshop leader Mark Clements’ Sunday night session is rumored to have gone on until 6:04 a.m. Monday. Just like back in the old days–or at least a couple of years ago–that’s some serious writers workshopping seriously.
As usual, our fine cadre of accomplished authors, agents, editors and other publishing paisons did a stand up job of aiming for excellence in addressing the craft, the business and the immutable brain damage so systemic in today’s ADD marketplace. Thank you all. And a big thanks to all of this year’s Special Guest Speakers, Caitlin Rother, Michele Scott, David Brin (pictured), Janice Steinberg and Andrew E. Kaufman. Great talks providing keen perspectives, good laughs, quality information and more than a wee bit of tears.
Biggest thanks of all, of course, goes to this year’s conferees. What a fine bunch of writers you turned out to be. Now let’s get on to the awards…
The Silent Deal
by Levi Stack of Jamul, CA
Postcards from Home
by Shelly Miller of San Diego, CA
by Mark Koopmans of Honolulu, HI
The Sanctuary (coming)
by Melissa Fisher of Venice, CA
Congratulations to the honorees and to all the staff who helped make SD27 such a fabulous event. Dates for SD28 are Presidents’ Day Weekend, Feb. 14-17, 2014. Between now and then, join us in Newport Beach for LA11, Sept. 20-22, 2013, and virtually anytime on the SCWC Facebook Page where there’s always a vibrant discussion going on with like-minded members of our vast and ever-growing writing community.
And for those who couldn’t make it to Sunday afternoon Special Guest Speaker Andrew E. Kaufman’s keynote, do yourself a favor and sit back, relax, and have a watch:
Pre-registsration for LA11 (in Newport Beach) opens March 1, 2013. Be there or be… where?
Conference weekend is here! Walk-in registration opens Noon today; 7 AM Saturday and 7:30 AM Sunday. There’s plenty of room for writers of every realm, so be here or be… where?
Here’s where: Crowne Plaza San Diego, 2270 Hotel Circle North, San Diego, CA 92108.
Gateway Literary Agency’s Terri Baranowski has just been added to the schedule. She’s looking to build her client list and is pinch-hitting on-site critique & consults for those looking for a rep.
We’ll be back online come next Wednesday. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you in San Diego this weekend. You’ve earned it.
Filling out our Special Guest Speaker spots is Janice Steinberg with her brand-spanking-new novel, The Tin Horse, released from Random House only yesterday. Telling the tale of two sisters whose relationship in the 1920s-30s era Los Angeles Jewish neighborhood of Boyle Heights is fraught with fierce love and bitter rivalry, at the heart of the story lies a mystery spanning generations. Author Margaret Dilloway (The Care and Handling of Roses with Thorns and How to Be an American Housewife) calls the book “a completely immersive reading experience. I closed the pages feeling as though I’d lived another life.”
Janice will be joining SD27’s other Special Guests, David Brin (Existence), Andrew Kaufman (The Lion, The Lamb, The Hunted), Caitlin Rother (Lost Girls) and Michele Scott (Covert Reich, as A.K. Alexander).
Speaking of Michele Scott and Andrew E. Kaufman, the pair are also conducting separate workshops individually, as well as one together for our Do Your Independence track, “DYI: Amazon and Beyond: The Take of Two Authors.” As both caught the attention of Amazon’s recently unveiled traditional publishing arm and have signed muliple-book contracts with its imprints, what insight they bring to the e-paradigm table oughta prove interesting.
For all those either wrestling with or already going indie with your book(s), here’s the complete list of sessions devoted to just that at SD27:
DYI: “Amazon and Beyond: The Take of Two Authors” with Andrew Kaufman and Michele Scott
DYI: “Author as Entrepreneur” with Lois Joy Hofman
DYI: “Indie Excellence: Legitimacy & Editing” with Laura Taylor and guests
DYI: “Leaving a Virtual Footprint” with Mary Vensel White
DYI: “Producing Book Trailers that Don’t Suck” with Michael Steven Gregory (maybe)
DYI: “Publishing & Marketing Strategies from an International Best-selling Indie Author” with Sheri Fink
DYI: “Self-Publishing Savvy: Why, How, Where, What You Need to Know” with Gayle Carline
DYI: “Stop the Presses—NOT! Publishing Printed Books In The Digital Age” with Margaux Hession and Matthew J. Pallamary
DYI: “Up Close and Visual: Breaking Down Author/Reader Barriers” with Valerie Wicks
DYI: “Your Author Bio, Media Copy and PR Package” with Marla Miller (or, in other words, “Learn How to Write a Professional Author’s Bio, for Chrissake!”)
DYI: “Your Book As a Business: Make YOUR Book the Next Big Thing!” with Charmaine Hammond
Joining us for the first time, paranormal fictionalist and short story sensation Lisa Kessler will be conducting two workshops. Her debut novel, Night Walker, won a San Diego Book Award for Best Published Fantasy-Sci-fi-Horror as well as the Romance Through the Ages Award for Best Paranormal and Best First Book. Christine Cody, author of the Bloodlands series, calls it, “A soulful, timeless love story and an engrossing new take on immortal mythology.” Lisa will conduct “Wtg. Short Stories that Pack a Punch” and “Happily Ever After: Make Them Earn It.” Welcome aboard, Lisa!
We’re finalizing the schedule over the next week, then plan to make a print-friendly version available online.
Check back for more soon. And don’t forget to join the writerly conversation on our SCWC Facebook page.
Celebrated journalist and author Caitlin Rother returns with her latest. Chronicling the true story behind the rape and murder of two San Diego area teenagers by a previously convicted sociopath, the Los Angeles Times calls Lost Girls, “a deeply reported, dispassionately written attempt to determine what created that monster and predator. It is a cautionary tale and a horror story, done superbly by a writer who knows how to burrow into a complex case without becoming captive to her sources.”
Two of Caitlin’s other books were ranked in True Crime Book Review’s Top 10 True Crime Books of 2011: Dead Reckoning and Deadly Devotion, which she co-authored with Alysia Sofios. Where most writers conjure up fictional criminals and fabricate a story, Caitlin, a Pulitzer nominee, looks unflinchingly into the eyes of madness and writes to the core of those impacted by it.
Still lots of massaging to be done to February’s schedule, but plenty of workshops are now plugged in to specifically address the most crucial concerns of writers today. Among some of the newer, necessary sessions added are former globe-trotting federal agent Michael R. Shevock’s “Going Foreign: Wtg. the Reality of Diplomatic Service,” which, as he’s proven in the past, will no doubt make your head explode. Novelist Janis Thomas introduces “What’s Driving You? Plot vs. Character in Writing Fiction”–an especially important one because too many allow their books to derail simply by not understanding the difference.
Given the massive explosion in popularity of all things paranormal romance, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom’s dubuting “Romancing the Monster and Keeping It Real.” And on the “Do Yourself Independence” front, Marla Miller’s “Your Author Bio, Media Copy and PR Package” will be a must-attend as I can’t even begin to tell you how authors, regardless of how they’re published, undermine their credibility and opportunities by not bothering or not knowing how to do this.
Quick round up of recent SCWC success… ZOVA Books reports that SCWC director Wes Albers’ debut novel, Black & White, is the house’s first bestseller on iTunes in the police procedurals category. Guess that kind’ve make Wes a rockstar… After a too-long of break, Alan Russell’s latest, Burning Man, has broken through the Amazon Author Bestseller List (top 100 Kindle sales) and climbed to number eight… Stacey O’Brien reports that her wonderfully engaging, international sensation, Wesley The Owl (discovered at our LA4 event), is now officially a longterm “superstar backlister” for publisher Free Press. Talk about the little book that could… And, finally, NY Times bestseller and NovelCram instructor Drusilla Campbell just signed yet another multi-book deal with Grand Central. Good job, everybody!
Still lots to do with whipping SD27 into maximum muscle. Over recent weeks, however, many have expressed interest to point out the following resources in the conference run-up:
Story trumps hype. Good stories populated by vividly rendered characters confronting increasingly harrowing circumstances are what makes for quality reads, regardless of genre. A story well told will sell. Question is, for what price, in which format, to how many and by whom?
In this digital era, arguably the most liberating for authors of all ilk who are now no longer exclusively beholden to legacy publishing gate keepers or ridiculously over-priced vanity press “services” outfits such as those made infamous by Author Solutions and its associated writer-bilking outliers, questions abound. Perhaps the biggest: Should you pursue the traditional route to publication–get an agent, find a house, wait a year or more after to see your book in print–or should you just go it alone?
With the further consolidation of the Big Six legacy houses reliant on tent pole franchise titles, celebrity non-fiction and political provocateurs who can all but guarantee sales through Super PAC purchase-giveaways, the growth of legitimate, though often brick and mortar distribution deprived indie presses and proliferation of self-published e-book authors, the publishing paradigm we grew up understanding has fundamentally changed. Perhaps forever.
As there’s no single right way to write a great book–only an infinite number of wrong ways–the same can also be said of choosing which path to take to publication. It so often seems that achieving publishing success today is as utterly dependent on being an entrepreneurial dynamo as much as, if not more so, being a good writer that many buy into the ease and speed with which they can self-publish an e-book and do just that. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. At least not until your book is ready. And being ready starts with story, craft and execution. What myriad other crucial factors those considering self-publication must take into account, even for only screen reads, is where “The End” marks a pivotal new start. In particular, with novels and narrative non-fiction.
While our “Do Yourself Independence” track will address many crucial considerations come February (possibly including a session we’re calling, “Cutting Through the Considerable Crap: How to Legitimize the Self-published E-book Author”) we’re still sticking with the fundamental principals on which the SCWC was founded: Story matters. Craft matters. Voice matters. Feedback matters. Writers matter.
Despite the lowered expectations of forgiving consumers accustomed to lackluster, poorly edited and ultimately unrewarding e-books, fact remains that word-of-mouth advocacy is the No. 1 means of books coming to the attention of and being bought by strangers. The discerning reader recognizes a smart, rewarding, quality read. That reader then becomes the writer’s most important, passionate advocate. Why? Because a good story well told trumps all the social media and advertising hype.
Poorly written books that breakout big and become international blockbuster sensations are the unexpected exception, not the rule. The writer who aims for mediocrity and settles for suck, let alone e-“publishes” it then elects to dump its availability on social media feeds without having the courtesy to wipe afterward, is a writer destined to failure.
Literary agents Angelina Rinaldi and Marisa Corvisiero have been added to the slate. Both will be accepting advance submissions from those interested. Those electing to go with optional Advance Submission Readers need to get their material to the SCWC by no later than Jan. 12, 2013. As usual, there’ll be some readers that get caught up and accept material after that date. Too early to tell right now.
For those planning to stay at the home of the conference–and given that we often have workshops going into the very wee hours of the morning, it’s recommended–the wonderful Crowne Plaza San Diego resort hotel is providing SCWCers discounted lodging through Jan. 15, 2013. Book your room before the deadline else risk getting hit with the full rate.
Since last update, a bunch of SCWCers have book announcements. Workshop leader Darlene Quinn’s fourth title in her award-winning “Webs” series is out May, 2013. Author C.E. Lawrence (the “Silent” thrillers) blurbs, “From cocky cougars to perceptive private eyes, Unpredictable Webs is filled with enough vivid characters and plot twists to keep any lover of the genre happily turning the pages into the wee hours of the night. If you enjoyed Darlene Quinn’s previous books, you won’t want to miss this juicy journey of intrigue, drama and suspense!” (Check out the jacket up top.)
Author/workshop leader Janis Thomas, whose spirited debut novel Something New came out from Berkley last month, just got the jacket art for its follow up, Sweet Nothings, due July, 2013. As a former Nordstrom ladies shoes dog of the Seventies, I must say, “Like!”
Author, travel writer and serial entrepreneur Lois Joy Hofmann, who’ll be conducting the appropriately titled DYI workshop, “Author as Entrepreneur,” has released the second in her lavishly produced “In Search of Adventure and Moments of Bliss” trilogy chronicling she and her husband’s 8-year, 62-country sailing circumnavigation. Sailing the South Pacific is available now from PIP.
Finally, conferee August McLaughlin’s debut thriller is just out. Pulitzer Prize-Winning journalist and author David Freed calls In Her Shadow, “A dark, crackingly good psychological thriller that grabs you by the throat on page one and never lets up.”
The working schedule is being updated almost daily, but do make a point to join the WritersConference.COMmunity confab on our SCWC Facebook page for stuff not necessarily on the site.