Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mount Hermon Update #1

Great to be back at the writers conference after missing last year. Lots of old friends (or at least familiar faces!). Deb Raney brought her husband, Ken, who is a graphic artist and is teaching a workshop on ebook covers. Deb is teaching the main fiction track.

Attendance is down from the room-busting highs of 4-5 years ago--maybe 275-300? Actually, it's a lot easier to connect with faculty.

Enlightening session this afternoon re: Alternative Publishing. The barrier-to-entry for self-publishing is nearly zero now (just throw it up on Amazon), but being findable and discoverable is difficult for the novice. Some authors are retrieving rights for their out of print books and reissuing them as ebooks and POD (Print on Demand). And Allen Arnold, fiction publisher from Thomas Nelson told me it's nearly the same per copy cost to print one book or 5,000, so they don't warehouse as many anymore.

Liz Curtis Higgs is our keynote and is keeping us in stitches each evening.

Well, since I'm writing this on my iPhone, my hands are cramping. I'll post more from my laptop later from a Wi-Fi hotspot.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Contests and Conferences

     I spent hours preparing my entry for the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Contest. It comes around every year at the same time, but it's always a struggle to get that tricky synopsis done. The entire story on one page. And you can't fudge the ending, because a synopsis isn't for readers, it's for agents, editors and, in this case, judges. They want to know how the story ends. But I made it 3 whole hours under the deadline. This is the last year we can enter the contest without having the entire manuscript completed. I'm already thinking about the next book (number 4), but have to complete my 3rd first (this year's entry), so I may not make it for 2013. Because this post might be read by one of the judges, I can't give the details of my story until summer. But I can say it's my most challenging in character feelings and emotions. 

     Then I revised everything again for proposals to two acquisition editors at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, which begins this Thursday in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The proposal guidelines for Mount Hermon are different than the contest, and have to be hard-copied and mailed. Of course there are always glitches. Like our Canon printer quit. Wouldn't power on. Fortunately, I had a new Epson still in the box from when I bought my MacBook Air many months ago. It took a little doing to get the whole thing configured (scanning was a little challenge), but it works fine.

     Speaking of judging:  I'm a first round judge in the Genesis Contest for the seventh year. I learn a lot from reading the entries and applying the judge's scoresheet, so I get back more than I give. It's humbling and a weighty responsibility to score someone's baby, and I think I've improved over the years, giving positive feedback as well as pointing out problem areas. I know I always appreciate balanced feedback for my own entries.