Showing posts with label agents. Show all posts
Showing posts with label agents. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Netwest Represented at the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference

Writers filling seats for afternoon session
I am taking a break from working on taxes to post about the Blue Ridge Writers Conference in Blue Ridge, GA last weekend. A number of Netwest members were there and one, Robert S. King, presented two sessions on publishing.

I have attended all fifteen years since this event began and have never come away feeling I didn't get my money's worth. This year I went to the Friday night reception and met some writers from Atlanta. Robert Kimsey and Robert S. King were both there and both were speakers on Saturday. Because I was particularly interested in Jessica Handler, having seen write ups about her online, I attended both her sessions and bought her book, Invisible Sisters. I am reading it now and find it fascinating.

Amy Greene, the keynote speaker, held us all spell bound with excerpts from her novel, Bloodroot, a best seller. She writes with a pure Appalachian voice. Maybe that is because she is from East Tennessee. Her characters will grab you, and you can't put the book down. I heard some say they had read all night because they couldn't stop until they finished. Carol Crawford, who heads up this conference each year, warned me to keep the tissues handy.

Nancy Knight from Atlanta was a founder of BelleBooks, a publishing firm that many of us recognize. Kathryn McGendie has published three novels, I believe, with them. Nancy is also an agent and was chock full of valuable information for writers. I was so happy when she went through a list to tell us the recommended word count for most popular genres such as mystery, thrillers, romance, science fiction, westerns and others. That is a question I hear from my students and I simply have never researched to find the answer.

Linda Ray of Curiosity Books in Murphy, with her assistant, Laurie, did a fine job of managing the book sales. How nice she was to let us local writers keep the full sale price of our books. She took no commission for selling them. Thanks so much Linda.

Echoes sold well at conference

The following is from Carole Thompson, Netwest Representative for the Georgia counties. She said, "Of course, seeing fellow writers and friends again was one of the best things about the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference. Our hosts were gracious, and the food was excellent.
Keynote speaker, Amy Greene's, review of her wonderful book, "Bloodroot" almost made me believe in "Haints". What was outstanding, was the wide variety of subjects covered by the speakers.
Quinlan Lee helped me understand the role an Agent plays in getting your manuscript to large publishing houses, plus hints to make any of your writings more dynamic to the reader, especially as it relates to children's books. I attended both her workshops.
Robert King discussed the advantages /disadvantages of self-publishing, and gave all of us a clearer idea of how the world of online publishing works.

Robert Kimsey
 Once again, Robert Kimsey kept us riveted to our seats as he illustrated through his own poetry why we need to make OUR poetry witnesses to events that burn themselves in our memory.
My final conference hour was spent with Stellasue Lee, a brilliant writer and editor, sharing her knowledge, through her own life-changing experience, of how it is possible to "Say the unsayable" in our poetry. I am sure the other speakers made a good impression, also, and I am sorry I couldn't hear them all."

Like Carole, I wish I had been able to attend every presentation, but was limited to four. I couldn't stay for the last hour, but I know it was just as good as the others. I advise all writers, poets and those who want to write, and who live within driving distance, to make plans now to attend the Blue Ridge Writers' Conference next year. It is usually held in March. Find the Blue Ridge Mountain Arts Association online and check to find the date for next year.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Gary sent this email regarding his experience at the NCWN Fall Writers and Publishers Conference

I had a ball at the conference. It was a hard trip and I drove five hours through rain and fog to the Raleigh/Durham Hilton. However, once I got there, I was treated like visiting royalty. I made a lot of friends and it was a gratifying experience to be with folks who shared my interests. There were playwrights there, fiction writers, non-fiction writers and journalists. I suspect that we have those people up here, but I rarely meet them.
I heard Ron Rash's keynote speech and it was a winner. He talked about research and the fact that it sometimes comes dangerously close to eclipsing the actual writing of a novel. He addressed its significance in relation to Serena and talked about eagles and rattlesnakes. He also discussed the "chorus" in the novel, the voices of the workers in the lumber camp that enabled him to add richness to his plot.
The workshop that I taught, a total 18 people who were interested in converting oral history into effective theatre was a wonderful experience. I had playwrights in the class that were far more experienced than I, but the basic simplicity of what I presented appealed to them. I am still getting calls from them, and I have even been advised as to how to promote myself in the piedmont. That was wonderful to hear, but I prefer to mimic the mountain laurel and "grow where I am planted."
The conference offered endless opportunities for writers and the display area in the lobby was filled with folks who offered opportunities that ranged from self-publishing to manuscript evaluation. Several publishers were soliciting regional history and non-fiction, memoirs, essays, etc.
There was also an impressive display of North Carolina writers ranging from Ron Rash to Vicki Lane (who I had dinner with) and new works from people like Jill McCorkle, Reynolds Price, Lee Smith, Randall McKehan, Ruth Moose ... all of whom I have been reading for years. I was impressed enough by a fellow named Stacy Cochran to buy his video on "How to Get Published and How to Get an Agent" and I brought it home where Ben Eller and I watched it and decided that it was worth the money. He also has a website.

I was also approached by some media people who asked about interviews for local TV shows and radio programs, but it depresses me to think that I have to drive to Raleigh to be interviewed. I have a healthy ego, but I am not driving five hours to be interviewed.

In fact, that is pretty much the way I feel about the Conference. It was like a candy store for writers, but it is in Raleigh. I guess our resources are scant by comparison, but I do intend to find whatever I can in this region. I won't drive to Raleigh, but I will drive to Asheville. There seems to be a tendency to hunker down and try to practice our art in a very narrow area ... like a twenty-mile radius of home. That needs to change.

Gary Carden lives in Sylva, NC. He is a storyteller, writer, playwright, teacher and journalist. Contact him at

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sage Advice from Hope's newsletter

It's easy to be against something ...that you're afraid of. It's easy to be afraid of something that you don't understand.
When you see people ranting online, usually they fall in line with the above school of thought. They bash something they're afraid of or something they do not understand. No, I'm not talking politics, but it applies there, too.
We bash agents, but we don't know any.

We criticize editors, but we've never spoken in person to one. We fuss that contests are rigged, so we do not enter. We don't query, because our submission will only land in a shredder.
We chastise something because we heard this and heard that. It's like the guy on the commercial talking to his girlfriend with the popsicle. He frowns and says it contains sucrose. The girlfriend asks what's wrong with it. He can't say. She tells him the good points of the popsicle and offers him one. He takes it and they laugh, happy with the world.
This world is seriously crammed full of people afraid to take steps into unknown territory. Many don't want to walk on unchartered ground, so they surmise that the experience can only be bad.
Therefore, they...
1. Don't submit to high-paying magazines.
2. Don't query agents.
3. Don't pitch traditional publishers.
4. Don't market themselves.
5. Don't sell their writing.

And most of them complain about the publishing arena and the strife of a freelance writer.
Listen. Until you've tasted and studied the ingredients of that popsicle, how do you know it isn't good for you?
What's the worst that could happen if you strike out there on your own and take chances?
1. You get rejected.
2. You don't sell your work.

Doesn't look so terrible, does it?
Now, go find a popsicle.


Reprinted here with permission of Hope Clark.Check out her website and her blog for good info for writers.