Schedule and Location

Welcome to the Sarasota Writers Group Blog. Meetings are held the first and third Wednesday of the month at the Nokomis Fire Station, located just a few blocks south of Albee Road (where Matthews-Currie Ford is located) at Pavonia Road. We are on the west, or bay side, of U.S. 41, by the Fire Station's flashing yellow caution traffic light. If you are coming from the south on US 41, we are just north of Dona Bay. Turn on Pavonia and pull to the far end, or west side, of the firehall. Please do not block the fire doors! We meet in the training room on the far side of the complex. Gathering time: 6:00 pm Meeting called to order: 6:30 pm Ten minute break: 7:50 pm Meeting Finishes at 9:00 pm

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Madeline's Conference Experience

Hi, everyone! Just wanted to take a minute to tell you all about my great experience at this year’s FWA Conference in Orlando.

It was my first writing conference, and although I was looking forward to it, I was also anxious. Like most writers, I am an introvert, preferring my cozy home office and quiet time reading to rooms full of people and having to making small talk. But, like my husband reminded me, I already had one thing in common with everyone there - we were all writers! And, as it turned out, among the crowd two familiar faces rose to greet me - Russ and Tuck. We sat together during the FWA lunch meeting, chatted as we waited for different sessions to begin, and even sat together in a few of the workshops. I’m sure they were sick of seeing me by the time it was over!

Speaking of workshops, I had trouble deciding which ones to attend. So many choices! Some focused on craft, such as “Write a Thriller Right Now” and “Make Bright Ideas Sparkle: Tools of the Poet’s Trade” while others, like “The Story About Contracts” and “Publicity and You: Sixteen Mistakes to Avoid” focused on the business side. Three of my favorites were “The Five Things You Must Know Before Submitting to a Publisher”, “Agents, Acquisition Editors, and Publishers Panel” and “You’ve Got an Agent: Now What?” By the end of the conference, my brain hurt - in a good way, of course.

Besides the presentations, the opportunity to talk one-on-one with agents and publishers was also offered. I took advantage of this and met with an agent to pitch my latest manuscript. Talk about being anxious! But she was so nice and encouraging, it ended up feeling more like a chat about a book (granted, one that I had written, but still) than a pitch session. At the end, she asked me to send along my query and sample chapters. Keep your fingers crossed!

By the end of the weekend, I was exhausted but quite pleased with my new social self (okay, let’s not get crazy here - handing out three business cards does not a social butterfly make!) and the experience as a whole. I encourage my fellow writers and members of the FWA to attend next year’s conference. The conference offers so much - a bookstore for you to sell your books, door prizes, an open mike night, a banquet, an awards ceremony - but even if all you do is attend the workshops, like I did, even if you only attend one out of the three days, you’ll still come away with knowledge and encouragement and inspiration. And maybe a couple of business cards. And maybe a door prize or two.

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Thank you, Madeline! I'm glad it was a rewarding experience for you. Everyone should experience a major Conference at least once. Some like it, some don't, but you owe it to yourself to experience at least one. I love them. My problem is, I've got to curtail just how many I can attend. I missed this year's Orlando Conference having just returned from the 'big one' in Philadelphia which my publisher puts on every year. I'm glad I was well represented by our great Sarasota group. Madeline, Tuck, Russ, and Tucker Mayer, thank you!