Thanks to the generosity of a dear friend, today I had the pleasure of attending the 5th Northern Colorado Writers Conference.Writers, both published and pre-published (Mike Beflerís clever tag), joined in welcoming award winning novelist and creator of more than forty television shows, Stephen Cannell. His keynote presentation kept the audience enthralled.
Stephen had several outstanding points in his presentation:
1. ìDyslexia never stopped me and I was never afraid to bet on myself.î Translation: believe in yourself and your work.
2. He suggested you think like an agent. Do research to find out what the agent has done, mention a favorite or two then instead of asking for representation, ask for help to improve your work to get to the caliber of present clients. Translation: Flattery will get you everythingÖwell at least it’ll get you in the door. The rest is up to you.
3. Stephen discussed his relationship with actors. He claimed his ìI owe you my best opinion,î and ìwe can work it out,î set the scene for developing successful professional relationships.† Translation: cooperation and compromise work hand in hand for the most effective results.
I also attended three other inspiring workshops:
1. †Colorado author, Page Lambert who addressed the importance of place in writing through the use of atmosphere, symbolism, imagery, and metaphor through readings from classic novels and her own work.
2. Mike Befeler, another Colorado author, concentrated on the tools and techniques used to help an author establish a marketing platform.
3. Agents Rachelle Gardner (WordServe Literary GroupóCO ), Ken Sherman (Ken Sherman and Associates Literary AgencyóCA), Joe Monti (Barry Goldblatt Literary AgencyóNY), and editor Ben Barnhardt (Milkweed Editions) shared their personal and professional insights via a Q&A-Agent/Editor Panel. Their presentation was informative, candid, lighthearted and encouraging.
Then to top off the evening, after a tasty buffet dinner, YA author Todd Mitchell gave a spirited presentation on why weíre called to writing, introduced us to a top-ten list of why we should never stop writing and, in a most charming way, challenged us all to keep the words alive.
My own surprise came when I mentioned to the editor from Milkweed Editions my story: A Poppiní Tale. Seems I had contributed to one of their anthologies -† Stories From Where We Live: The Great North American Prairie and he recognized it. WOW!
When I came home I looked up the copyright date…weíre talking 2001. WOW!
I was also pleased to tell him the story had been used in the NV School Literacy tests for several years. He smiled at that tidbit of info; obviously impressed. After a brief chat, he said heíd be open to any query I think heíd be interest in taking a look-see for Milkweed. WOW!
Yes, fellow wordsmiths, I will follow up.