I had the privilege of speaking at the 21st Annual Maryland Writers’ Association Conference on May 9, 2009, held at the Maritime Institute of Technology in Linthicum Heights, MD. The Maritime Institute was a great facility for the event. I say this from the perspective of a speaker who has had her unfair share of “oops” stories when it comes to presenting. (see Adventures in Teaching Blogging to Writers and A Special Thank You to Balticon 42.)
The classrooms we presented in were all the perfect temperature the entire conference. The projector and screen I requested were set up when I arrived (I was in the first round of break-out sessions. 9am) and tech support arrived promptly to make sure I was up and running. The room was also the perfect size for a 30 person class with comfortable chairs, tables for participants to write on, and no yelling necessary on my part to be heard.
All my technical desires met, I was able to relax and give a good presentation. I spoke on marketing platforms, specifically why an author needs one and the basics of what goes into one. I got a lot of applause and more than a few workbooks sold. Then I was off duty! I took the opportunity to attend the other sessions and really enjoy myself.
The next session had a panel of agents who spoke about the things you should and shouldn’t do to attract an agent. The panel included: Emmanuelle Alspaugh, Judith Ehrlich Literary Management; Andrea Barzvi, International Creative Management; Jessica Sinsheimer, Jane Freymann Literary Agency; and Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency. There were a lot of great tips given out including the recommendation that writers build a marketing platform, thus making me wonder if having my session later in the day would have been a good idea.
I dropped in on Gary Lester’s talk on wordsmithing. His wordsmithing talk was aimed specifically at creating fantasy worlds. He’s a fun speaker and it was a very nice talk.
Lunch was an amazing meal with a dozen hot entrees, salad bar, and desert table followed by a fantastic talk given by keynote speaker, Robert L. Booth, former Managing Editor of National Geographic. Mr. Booth was very entertaining and gave great tips.
The first session after lunch, I sat in on Kevin Bolk’s talk on writing graphic novels. Kevin’s a fun speaker with lots of entertaining and informative hand-outs. He got me thinking about writing graphic novels.
The last session for me was given by my friend, Ally E. Peltier on polishing your work. Ally’s just bursting with information and is also a very entertaining speaker. She’s well worth any opportunity to see her speak.
The MWA puts on a great conference and I came away excited and inspired to write. I recommend it highly.