Wednesday, March 2, 2016

21st Annual Gold Beach Writer's Conference

Now that my children are grown, and Holidays are more about their homes than mine, my favorite holiday has switched and become one I indulge in purely for me.  It is always President's Day weekend, which usually coincides with Valentine's Day, but it isn't because of either of those that I love it.  Valentine's is great, but Ive been with my husband since 1982, and he loves me every day, and he is a music teacher who is often off delivering "Valen-tunes" with his choir students, or like last year, traveling to a music festival with them.

So, No.  I love this weekend because it is about WRITING.  Just an hour north of my home is a lovely, but very tiny town nestled right on the beach, and they host the South Coast Writer's Conference and have for 21 years now.

Sometimes the beach is very different from year to year, storms move the sand and logs a lot, but it is beautiful under the sun or in a storm.  This year, I got lucky.  Just outside my motel room, a mere block from the fairgrounds where the conference began, was a deliciously warm beach filled with drifts of seafoam.

and this year, I had just published the third book in my Duffy Barkley series only 9 days before, so I had a lot to share at the conference.  There is the coolest bookstore there in town too, huge and friendly and besides books, filled with local art and a yummy bakery.

Peter Brown Hoffmeister, author of The Intentional Art of Failure

 The Friday offers longer, more in depth classes and then an evening with a keynote speaker and shorter speeches from all the presenters.  Saturday gives us two classes in the morning, two more in the evening, then book sales, and finally a writer's critique circle.  I was lucky enough to get to meet some people in person from a facebook writers group based 90 miles south of me. Previously I had only interacted with them on-line.

Anne Osterlund presenting "Sweat The Small Stuff"

Anne says, "92% of submissions are full of grammar and spelling mistakes - so if you are not doing that you are already in the top 8%."

it was fun to see that the pile of my books for sale at the bookstore was a lot smaller than the last time I dropped in.

Heidi Schulz, author of Hook's Revenge

 Heidi write middle grade humor and has a really good sense of her audience and a word of caution.  "Surprise and an exchange of power are the keys to humor. Be careful of the kind of humor that takes power from the powerless.  It can be an act of bravery to not laugh when everyone else is."  Punch up, not at those smaller than you.  Humor ca engender sympathy. We laugh with Groot and Rocket and then later we care about them.  Her best piece of writing advice, "be brave."

thinking back at all the solid advice I got, the simplest, easiest stuff was the best to remember.

Jason Brick said, "The jerk trying to force you to buy a used car is not a salesman. Being so loudly geeky about something you love that you make other people love it too.  That's sales."  

My friend and fellow author R. R. Virdi is a master , plus I honestly love his book, Grave Beginnings.

Jason also had concrete sales advice, "have facebook and 1 more social media place you interact.  3 times a day, share something awesome and share somebody else, because nobody cares about you but they start caring about you when you start talking about them. Then comment intelligently or at least hilariously on at least one thread, ask a question or pick a fight.  Post at least 21 times a week, but only mention a blog post and your book 1 time each week, unless you are doing a special promo."

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