I went to see Jeff Herman at a bookstore a few decades ago. He’s the guy who edits Writers’ Market—a huge brick of paper that tells you everything about getting published.
What was the first question someone asked him? “How would I go about getting my *amazing, future bestselling, shoe-in for the Pen Faulkner award* book published?”
Why Jeff didn’t just throw his book at his face, I don’t know. But he did answer with a bit of sarcasm about how he wasn’t here to connect people to agents but for them to buy his book.
I hang with writers (well, not in person because I don’t leave my house) who don’t expect anyone to hand them anything. I hang with ones who do their research and make things happen for themselves. And when writers start putting in the work by researching the industry just as they put it into writing, the connections eventually come.
Saturday, September 10th at MTSU, I’ll be at the 4th annual Middle Tennessee Writers’ Conference.
The great thing about this year’s event is that breakout sessions will be taught by alumni of the program who researched, went to conferences, and pushed through to their goals.
Amber Hart met me for coffee a year ago (Perhaps it was 2 years. Or 5 months. Not leaving the house leaves you with a fluid understanding of time), bereft at how difficult it was to get published. A few weeks after that, she had 5 (FIVE) stories accepted for publication, and has had more accepted recently including an award winning one judged by the Roxane Gay. Amber’s short story collection just came out. Get you one.
Gregory Plemmons is one of my closest friends. While saving lives as a pediatrician, he writes stories that have ended up in Best New American Writers and he won the Barry Hannah Award for Short Fiction. I say he writes them WHILE he saves lives because this is how I picture it in my mind. One of my favorite pieces of his combines his craft with his medical expertise. As he is a doctor who sees himself as a writer, I am a writer who sees herself as a doctor. We’re a match.
Kim Cross Teter is also an alumnus and has a killer Middle Grade novel out. Starting the program with an idea, now she travels to bookstores and schools to do readings.
Roy Burkhead is the founder of the original MTSU Write program called The Writer’s Loft. This guy tirelessly promotes writing in the Middle Tennessee area, hosting get-togethers, posting about visiting writers, and publishing 2nd and Church.
New writers might look at them and think they are on a level they can’t relate to. Au contraire, mon frere. All the speakers who themselves attend conferences, take notes, put things in action, and then are eager to pass the knowledge on.
I’ll be leading a workshop on publishing.
I’ll be teaching:
- Who is looking for articles, essays, novels and short stories
- Where to find these people and venues
- What they are looking for, including manuscript formatting and media platforms
- How to approach agents, magazines, and publishers
Writers will leave with the beginning of a pitch and/or query, a list of websites where they can find interested agents/editors, a list of goals, and an assignment.
I’ll also give out a link where we can meet up online to follow each other’s progress.
Information about the speakers and schedule is HERE.
A direct link to registration is HERE.