PNWA Writers Conference

This last year I was lucky enough to go to the PNWA (Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association) conference for the second time. The conference was well organized, informative, and there were plenty of sessions for beginning writers and those for writers more focused on what to do after they’ve gotten an agent and are starting to get publishing deals.

The first day there was an all day “umbrella” session about several different aspects of writing and preparing yourself for publication. During the rest of the conference they had everything from presenting yourself to agents without being pushy to the marketing side of publication. A lot of the conference was centered around the agenting aspect of publishing – as they had several agents who represent multiple genres there to listen to pitches (a pitch being a short teaser about your book to get the listening party interested in the story). There were Q&A panels with agents and a lot of good questions were answered.

Marketing was one of the biggest topics addressed. To be a successful author anymore you have to promote your own work and there was lots of good advice as to how to do that. Most publishers now want authors who are willing to promote their own books. Ways to do that are to start a blog and create an internet presence.

Self-publishing was also brought up several times. It used to be that major publishing companies were the only way to really get your book out there. But there have been many successful e-books that have sold enough copies that a publisher then decides to pick up that book. Self-publishing is starting to become more practical because of things like the Amazon Kindle, the Barnes and Noble Nook, and the Apple iPad. There are so many different websites that people use to get e-books anymore that it isn’t hard to find some place to put a self-published e-book. Whether or not self-publishing will actually be better than conventional publishing is dubious, but it’s morphing into a viable alternative.

There were also several book signings and I got the opportunity to get my copy of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting signed. I also had the chance to meet a few other published authors. It was a fun experience, especially since one of the agents that I got to pitch to (Laura Rennert) represents Kimberly Derting.

If you have the opportunity it’s definitely a conference that I suggest going to. There are lots of people who go every year and several of them are from different countries. The speakers each year are well chosen. Authors from this year included Robert Dugoni (who I know spoke last year also) and mystery writer, Lisa Gardner. It’s one of the best opportunities to connect with people who can really help you learn and grow as a writer.

Emily Chinn

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Categories: Writer's Conference Scholarships

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