02 June 2010

Old dog, new tricks

Okay, so I'm not that old, but the big 4-0 is definitely on the horizon. But I am off to the New Jersey Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators annual conference this weekend. This is my first ever writing conference.

I've been writing for nine years (almost). Well, seriously writing anyway. Writing things I wanted other people to read. Yeah, so nine years and five books (published) later, and I'm finally going to a writing conference. There are reasons it's taken me so long. First of all, I can finally afford to go. Second, there was a time when I thought I could learn everything I needed to know over the internet and just by doing.

So why am I going, if I'm already published? With no agent and no big NYC contract, I think I'm still missing something. And this is part of my New Year's resolutions, from like, two years ago. This conference will be loaded with writers, agents, and editors. It's worth going just for that. I like networking (reminds me: note to self- pack more business cards) with people. As much as I enjoy SF/F cons and meeting people there, I realize I should have been doing this years ago. But as I said, my finances didn't allow it.

Being a member of professional organizations is something all writers should do. Keep in touch with what's being sold and where, so you can send your darling manuscript to the right people.

Because being a writer - a professioal writer - means much more than just putting words in the right order. Whether you like it or not, you have to understand the business. Too many starry-eyed newbies think that publishing is about the writer. Uh-uh. Publishing, the business, is about making money selling books. Which means it's reader driven, not writer driven. I've heard even more starry-eyed newbies state that they have some right to be published, that publishers are missing out on their Golden Words because they're more interested in selling books.

Well, yeah, of course they are. It's their BUSINESS. They buy what they think they can sell. Are they always right? Nope. But they're still in business, which means they're not always wrong, either.

So I'm off to spend two days seeing if I can't meet some new people and maybe learn some new tricks. I'll take the camera and maybe do a photoblog when I get back.

For the next one, people are telling me I should go to the NJ RWA conference...

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