The Northwest Christian Writers Renewal in Redmond took place Friday and Saturday. It’s been several years since my last writers conference, and the publishing world has been moving on without me. Terms like “e-blast” and web site titles and names of electronic gadgets I’d never heard of swirled through the conversations. Instead of sending carefully-printed proposals and other communications via postal service, everything is done electronically (and more cheaply) now.
Publishing itself is changing radically. There’s still a need for print books and magazines, but many companies now publish e-books which cost much less than the same book in printed form. Many writers self-publish their work, either as e-books or in traditional format.
Then there’s marketing. Authors have long done all they can to help their books sell, but now, most marketing is up to the writer. That’s why one hours-long class dealt with public speaking for writers. And that’s why authors need to know about “e-blasts” (communicating with possible readers through e-mail newsletters), web sites, blogging, Facebook posts, “tweets” and other social networking methods.
Many agents, editors, and professional writers shared their knowledge and encouraged writers to perfect their craft.
It was all fun and exciting, if a little overwhelming. When I commented on how there seemed to be a smile on every face, author Peggy King Anderson replied, “This is like a Disneyland for writers!”
The best part is, we weren’t just entertained. We came away with up-to-date new ways of sharing our work and the inspiration to keep on with what can be a lonely occupation.