Sunday, April 3, 2011

Writer's Conference

On Thursday night DH and I attended a poetry reading at PSU in Pittsburg, Kansas. One of the readers was Laura Lee Washburn who is with the college English Department and head of the on campus writing lab. Her poems are sometimes earthy and wild, others times gentle. Laura herself is colorful from her blond strands to her vibrant clothing choices. The other reader was Jeanne E. Clark, on staff at the college in Chico, California. Her poems deal with many topics, but rescue dogs, especially border collies, is a favorite topic. One of her poems brought tears to the eyes. Both readers were a good choice for March 31 as Women's History Month ended and National Poetry Month began the next morning.

This weekend was the annual Call to Write Conference, also in Pittsburg, Kansas, sponsored by the Christian Writers Fellowship. There were about 70 people attending this yer from Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma. I attended yesterday also, but due to family issues of various nature, life intervened and I could not attend today. This was the first time I have attended at all. I have very little experience with Christian writing. I don't read much Christian fiction, but I have been most impressed with books by Deborah Vogts since she sets her stories in the Flint Hills, an area I love.

The keynote speaker was Terry Burns, an agent with Hartline Literary. He was engaging, entertaining, and informative since he was both agent and writer himself. He said despite what you hear, 85% of the editors want the book finished before being submitted, especially the way the markets are right now. He says most sales are not made to publishing houses but directly to editors to whom you, the writer, have a personal relationship with already. Only 15% of all manuscripts written will have credibility, that is published and making money. To those who say they don't care about the money, he said, "Money is how we keep score in this game, folks."

I attended a workshop by Sally Jadlow who is a poet. She lead us through some creative exercises. Most of her presentation was not new material to me, but I certainly enjoyed it. She did have one tip that amazed me. She said poetry editors speed read through submissions, often looking at end words. She said make your end words strong and do the work so they catch the editor's eye enough to read more! She also shared that she buys her Poetry Market at, a year old but only a quarter. She said only pay $30 if you really want to for this year's issue.

Sally had us dash off some quick lines. One was quick description of our house. She was impressed with my offering:
Ranch style, long and lean,
Filled with teacups and more.
Sheltered many faces, many years,
But always had an open door.

 Editor Wyngarden from Dayspring

I also attended a workshop by Trieste Van Wyngarden, an editor with Dayspring greeting card company. Her presentation was packed with nuts and bolts info about writing greeting cards. Hallmark bought Dayspring eleven years ago. Dayspring was founded for getting the message of Jesus Christ out into the world and Hallmark still honors that goal she said. All their cards have a Christ centered perspective.

One thing this editor said that stuck out was that people think Christians have no sense of humor. She said that Dayspring is always in need of appropriate humor for cards, and it is the one category that needs more submissions.

During the day, we were given a site to go to for 675 paying markets. I can't seem to get to the paying market section, but a quick look around the Writers Write site proves to be interesting. It then links to another writer site that is also worthwhile. So if you want to check them out yourself, try the following links.

                                               Author Deborah Vogts, right, speaking with a guest writer


Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Claudia - Such a worthwhile way to spend your time, and you seem very enthusiastic about what you learned. Thanks very much for sharing, and for the links. I'll definitely check them out!

BECKY said...

Oh, Claudia I'm so happy for you that you were able to attend these marvelous workshops! I wish we didn't live so far apart! I'll check out the sites, too. Thanks for sharing!

Rebecca said...

I like you poetry about your house,too!
Glad you had this opportunity, Claudia. It sounds like you got some concrete suggestions and better insight into the market!