This weekend I was at the Wizards of Words Conference in Scottsdale AZ. I was a presenter, but like at any conference I attend, I learned quite a bit.
David Morrell (First Blood, the introduction of Rambo and many other thrillers) was the keynote speaker for the dinner and he had some gems to share. He said that writers that go the distance are those who you can’t mistake with anyone else. There are two questions that a writer needs to ask herself: 1. Why do you want to be a writer? 2. Why must you be a writer? You should dig into yourself. Pay attention to your day dreams and write about them. Being a successful writer depends upon talent, discipline, determination, and luck–and he added, don’t understimate the luck. He ended with, “You can write the book you were meant to write or with what you want to write.”
Jerry Simmons was the luncheon keynote speaker and probably the most important thing he had to say was, “The worst thing an author can do is rely on the publisher to make good decisions about the book.” Interesting, but of course his emphasis was on the writer taking charge of the promotion.
He also described how the New York publishing scene is all out of whack. The whole publishing business runs contrary to supply and demand. Every author needs to learn to market effectively to get the word out about his or her book.
The whole conference was great–learned a lot and met many interesting people. This is true no matter how many writing conferences I attend, I always learn new information–probably because the publishing industry is changing so much.