Thursday, July 26, 2012


 ...Not everyone who follows this blog is a writer.  I know that.  So I try to make the content more universally appealing, sharing things that interest me, things I think will then, in turn, interest you in some ways.
But I put together some rough notes from the PNWA Conference and thought I'd pass them on.  Much of it is specific writerly advice, but there is some rich material here for anyone who wants to find it.  I especially love Debbie Macomber's thoughts. 
I hope you enjoy, and as always, thanks for being here...
“As a writer, we have to walk through the door labeled: “ABSOLUTELY NO ADMITTANCE’.”
“I sometimes still here all those negative voices of my youth.”
“You’ve got to want this more than you’ve ever wanted anything in your life.”

Conference Award to a woman with the most rejections.  They all laughed and joked as she came up to accept her award.  Then they announced the winner with the most acceptances and it was the same person.

“Writing is about getting people interested in what you’re interested in.” Tim Schulte
The only two questions that matter are:
1.)    Is it good?
2.)    Will it sell?
August and summer are the worst times to submit because agents are often on vacation.

Romance is 50% of all fiction sold

Only 10% of writers asked to submit actually follow through.
“Persevere.  If you fuck up, you won’t be the only one.”  Elizabeth Wales

Your character has to care about something.
Obstacles are to
1.)    Move the story forward
2.)    Reveal character
“We all have our dark sides, and that’s what makes us human.”
“No one ever succeeded by quitting.”
“Failure is the first step to success.”
Your character will be seen as sympathetic if he recognizes his flaws and is trying to change.
Give your characters self-concern.  If the writer doesn’t care, the reader won’t care.

“Storytelling is fundamental to our civilization.”
“Write your stories like they matter, and they will.”
Books are purchased:
5% -- Independent book stores
27% --Big Box book stores
37% --Online
14% --Ebooks

#1 factor in pre-purchase awareness is an in-store display
#2 factor is a friend or relative’s suggestion
Three Predictions:
1.)    Selling books will be harder
2.)    The concept of genre is dying, replaced by genre-blending, genre-trending
3.)    There will still be novelists who change the world

80% of Y.A. readers are female
Book length is 50-75,000 words
Y.A. is all about resolution and breaking out of the nest, finding independence.  It’s about 1st’s: first love, kiss, car, lie.  In the moment, the protagonist just does it without considering the consequences.
The main difference between adult and Y.A. is that in Y.A. there is more action and more feelings.
Teens are 100% emotional.

What’s your communication style like?
What’s your submission style like?
What’s your submission success rate?
Do you have a finite number of publishers you sub to?
What books have you sold recently?
What does a successful writer-agent relationship look like to you?

Finding an agent is like dating and trying to find someone to fall in love with.
You need three things in place before getting an agent:
1.)    A polished manuscript
For first time novelists, 99.9% of the time they’re not ready to query when they do.
2.)    A supportive community of writing friends
3.)    A list of available agents:
1st part is finding.  2nd part is wooing.

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