Last Day at the Conference

IMG_1130

View outside my window here in Madison. Oh, it is spring…right?

 

It’s my last day at the UW-Madison Writers’ Conference. It’s been a wonderful experience. One particular event I’d like to mention was the Advanced Manuscript Critique. I sent in the first ten pages of my just completed novel. A chosen author/editor critiqued the ten pages. In my case it was Lucy Sanna, author of  Cherry Harvest, (I highly recommend it.) and at an appointed time, I sat with Lucy, and we went over the critique of the ten pages. Let me say right off the bat: Lucy Sanna is tough~! I consider myself extremely fortunate. She gave me great feedback, which will make my novel better and stronger. At one point during our talk, she asked, “What’s the word-count of your novel?” I responded firmly and proudly, “One hundred twenty-three thousand.” “That’s too long.” was the immediate response.

“oh.”

She did come back later and tell me that 123,000 is acceptable for a debut novel…a million words is acceptable for a debut novel if it’s “GREAT.” But the magic number it seems for the reading public is 90,000 words. ( the range being 80,000 –110,000) I had no idea. So, it’s stuff like that, along with the great sessions on the craft and business of writing that make a conference worth a writer’s time. Regarding my word count, the good news for me is, that it’s a lot easier to delete than it is to add.

The great debate through out this conference has been between Traditional and Self-publishing avenues. As we all know the self-publishing world has “taken off” in the past five or so years and many authors have taken that route and quite wisely so. I’m still not sure whether or no I want to go the rather torturous agent route: Your query letter has to be perfect. They may never get back to you…probably won’t. If they reject you, consider yourself rejected forever. If there is one error, you’re doomed. You need to know exactly what it is they want…maybe even their favorite wine. It gets strange. And I haven’t even gotten to the part about their 15% cut of whatever you earn…if you earn anything. In fact getting an agent doesn’t necessarily mean publication…and even if you do get published, you still have to be your own publicist. So, the argument goes…why not simply skip all the anxiety and go self-publishing and take control of your own game. It’s a fascinating world out there.

So, it’s the final morning of the conference. I’m staying one more night to get past the bad weather. When I left Alabama it was big time Spring–roses budding out, day lilies starting to bloom, lovely white dogwoods in full bloom and seventy-six degrees. Here it’s cold, very windy, and snowing. Wha?

Nevertheless, it’s been a great time. And thanks to all of you for the really nice words.

24 thoughts on “Last Day at the Conference

  1. daleydowning

    Reason # 578 I went into self-publishing…

    Publishers are out there to make money, not to distribute literature, like they were 50 years ago. It’s why so many books that are crap by the views of the readers get rave reviews from the critics, and the market is now saturated with half-baked fiction that really shouldn’t be wasting the paper and ink. (At least paper can be recycled these days! *evil laugh*)

    Liked by 6 people

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      it is a tough world. They had one panel discussion with Trads on one end of the table and Indies on the other. It was tense. Ha! Thanks for reading and a well stated reply1 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
    2. SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

      Wow Daley, I am amazed that you have managed to come up with more than 578 reasons for going into self-publishing!
      it must have been an exhaustive list indeed!

      Hi Paul, there seems to be a typo in your sentence “I’m still not sure whether or no I want to go the rather torturous”. You probably meant to type “not” rather than “no”. Thank you for sharing your experience of the UW-Madison Writers’ Conference. Happy July!

      Like

      Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Oh thank you! Yeah, now the hard part…rewriting and revising! But in fact I enjoy that part, so I’ve got my summer mapped out. 🙂
      Thanks for reading and replying! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
  2. Cynthia Guenther Richardson

    I so agree with all that said about the querying, etc. ordeals. Self-publishing is a respectable route at last! But small presses are always looking for unique/topnotch work, too, and perhaps more approachable, don’t you think? I have a good list I intend to one try. Good that you received such helpful feedback, so now on to the next revision…!

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      I do agree. One of our speakers was a small press rep and I like what he had to say. The small presses give you the personal closeness that the big guys don’t. Of course you have to participate in the publicity business…but the hard fact is that’s the way it is now-a-days and nothing will change that fact. My biggest issue with the self publication route, which is attractive, is the sheer amount of work the author puts in…and I’m not so sure I’m up to it.
      Thanks for reading Cynthia. I’m still up here. I fly out in the morning. It’ll be good to get home! 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
  3. doesitevenmatter3

    Sounds like you are learning some great things and you are teaching us with your blog!
    Thank you!
    Continued best wishes on your writing and publishing!
    I have friends who have self-published and it has worked for them
    HUGS and have a safe trip home!

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Thank you so much for the support! I’m now home…yeaaa! It was a tough flight. Big snow storm up in Madison. they de-iced the plane for forty-five minutes this morning before take-off. Gaaaa. But all went well. The conference was definitely a good experience. You’ll hear about more eventually. 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
  4. Ink 'em Down

    Ah it was brilliant hearing about the productive writers’ conference! It’s such an amazing feeling to have your work read and constructively critiqued by an expert. Best of luck with the editing (and self-publishing, if you choose to go down that route) of your novel. Thanks for sharing your experience (and Lucy’s word-count tip)!
    P.S. I’ve been so busy with work and travel. It feels great to be reading your writing again!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  5. candyyork

    I am considering the self-publishing route too, partly because I know I will work tirelessly for me as my own agent / publicist because I’m my own client (LOL) and partly because I just want to see what I’m capable of. But, I just started with “the list” of things to do, which includes cover design, choosing the right platform to publish on (because some have exclusivity clauses), final edit, author webpage, author Facebook page, author blog, sites to list it on that give a boost to sales, publicity, and for good measure more publicity. It has given me a whole new appreciation for the amount of work that goes into this publishing business before you even get your treasured work in print.. Despite all the things on the list, I still want to try it myself first because I tried traditional publishers before and although I got some feedback from them and told to keep writing, it took 8 months to get that response the first time and 11 months the second time. So, good luck with your publishing journey, I will continue to follow it here, and can I just say WOW, to the amazing word count you have, mine is only half that!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Thank you for the great response. On the word count. I can only say that as I moved from chapter to chapter I was surprised myself to the count build as it did. Now in the revision stage it is good to know that I can cut 20 – 30K words and not feel too bad about it. Ha!
      Thanks again and I truly hope all goes well for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. Mary Job

    The things we learn at conferences. I just learnt something new, i probably would never had known about the magic number if you did not share. Thank you for that. Have you attended a WordCamp (WordPress) conference before? You should consider it, it’s a conference i always look forward to being a part of, any time, in any city. On publishing, if i do publish in the future, it sure will not be through any traditional method.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s