After a Workshop

Saturday’s workshop on writing memoirs and other family stories went very well. With 14 in attendance, I had my hands full. It helped that they were all attentive and eager to interact in all facets of the workshop.

We began by discussing briefly who they wanted to write about. I then told them how important it was to begin with a defining moment in their lives and interweave the past into that moment to write a breathtaking memoir that everyone will want to read. We don’t have to be celebrities to reveal a character readers will be eager to follow through the pitfalls, sorrows and delights of their lives. 
After a bit of coaching and a question and answer period on how to get started, I suggested they free-write about their subject for the remainder of the morning.
We enjoyed a great lunch at Grandma’s House down the road a ways, then returned for reading and brainstorming. This took up the remainder of the afternoon. Many of those attending had good suggestions, which is always welcome. Some of the pieces brought tears to our eyes, others broke us up into laughter. These were indeed good students and learned quickly and well. As always, I learned from them too, and thoroughly enjoyed helping them with their undertaking.
Today, I’m catching up and preparing for two upcoming events that I’m looking forward to. The first is May 9 when I’ll take part in an Arkansas Authors Showcase in Bentonville, Arkansas, much like the Queen of the Border bookfair held in March in Cherokee, Oklahoma. It’s a pleasure to see so many people putting together these local writer’s events that are indeed writer friendly. It gives us all a chance to get out and meet our readers and other writers and promote ourselves and our books.
The next event is the quarterly meeting of Ozark Writer’s League (OWL) near Branson, Missouri on May 16. There we will hold our annual auction to raise funds to help pay for bringing in editors and agents for this four-times-a-year meeting. Besides the auction, we will have an agent from the Trident Agency in New York who will take pitches from members of OWL.
I can’t stress how important it is to belong to such organizations if you are a writer. The networking is invaluable and necessary to enrich a writing career. To prepare for a pitch you must do several things:
First-Dress casually, don’t be sloppy or a fashion plate. Be prepared to greet the agent professionally with your business card, introduce yourself and shake hands.
Second-Relax and tell him what genre you write in, how long your book is and a log line that will let him know what it’s about. If you’re writing fiction, do not pitch a book that isn’t finished. If you write nonfiction, you may just have an idea you think is great. Tell him why you’re qualified to write this nonfiction book. 
Third-After you’ve given him the above information, be quiet for a moment to see if he has questions. If he doesn’t,  go on to tell him a little more about why you’re qualified to write your book and something about how you came to write what you’re writing. Be enthusiastic about your subject matter.
Fourth-Answer his questions briefly so that you can be ready for your time to be up without any interruption. 
These pitches usually last only 5 minutes, but sometimes you get 10 or 15 minutes. Be prepared and you’ll do fine.  Remember, you are interviewing him because he will work for you, so if he shows an interest in your work you might want to ask him some questions about what he does for his writers. There will be time later to find out who he has represented, etc. You can check him out on the Internet at Litmatch ahead of time, and go from there.
Look around and find some conferences or writer’s organizations to join so you will have the opportunity to network when the time comes. Don’t wait till you have a book to sell. You’d be surprised how much you can learn from attending some of these meetings or conferences.
See you at one of them.
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About veldabrotherton

I'm primarily a writer, but I also speak and teach workshops and co-chair a large critique group. My brand is SexyDarkGritty and that applies to my western historical romances, mysteries, women's fiction and horror novels. After almost 30 years in this business, I still have something to learn and attend conferences to network with other writers, publishers, editors and agents.
This entry was posted in agents, Arkansasauthorsshowcase, Branson, Litmatch, memoirs, OWLs, pitch, School of the Ozarks, Trident Agency, workshop. Bookmark the permalink.

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