- Delray Beach, FL, Westport, MA, United States
- Undergraduate degree, Colby College; MA in teaching, Columbia Teacher's College; former high school English teacher in three states; former owner of interior design co. with advanced degree from R.I. School of Design. Published first book in 2009 titled, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS. Her humorous manuscript titled ELDERLY PARENTS WITH ALL THEIR MARBLES: A SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR THE KIDS was published in June, 2014. In 2015 A SURVIVAL GUIDE won a gold medal in the self-help category at the Florida Authors & Publishers Association conference. See website By CLICKING HERE.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Am I Too Old for This?
I just attended the Fla. Writer's Conference near Orlando. Like any conference, the three days were packed with double-session seminars, speeches, and meetings with agents/publishers. It was very well-organized and illuminating, but discouraging.
Prior to attending, I had submitted my memoir, MINOR LEAGUE MOM: A MOTHER'S JOURNEY THROUGH THE RED SOX FARM TEAMS (published in 2009), to the state-wide contest for that genre. In July I was notified that I was a finalist!
I didn't get my hopes up, but was pretty excited. The Writer's Association told us it would announce the winners at the banquet during the conference. Which they did. It seemed everyone in attendance was a finalist in one of the categories - 300 people! The winner in my category, including biography and autobiography, told the tale of a child kidnapped in 1939 from her aristocratic, Catholic family by the Nazis. No competing with that!! I moved on!
We listened to speakers describe the wreck of an industry - publishing - and the growth of ebook sales. I knew all this firsthand, since New River Press, a division of which published MOM, is no longer in business. My ebook sales weren't even worth mentioning, though paperback versions have sold 70% of the first printing (1500). We listened to marketing experts describe the necessity for authors to have blogs, websites, Twitter, Facebook, and "Fans of ---." I already had that. I moved on!
We listened to flip agents from California use buzz-words (nonfiction must have a "platform" and every first page must have a "hook") and tell first-time writers that their expectations were entirely personal - i.e., if they succeeded in creating a manuscript that didn't sell, they should feel satisfied! None of us were there to hear that. Move on!
I met three other women writers my age and together we rocked! We laughed at the repetitious "we love ya'll's" of the FWA President on the microphone and made snide comments about the numerous awards in Young Adult Fiction (that's what's selling!) and Horror Fiction (that's what's selling!). We moved on!
None of my three buddies have been published. However, the former newspaper reporter had previously won a $1000 writing prize. Two of the others had submitted their short stories to the Writer's Association annual anthology and gotten accepted. My submission had not. I moved on!
Among the four of us, three had elderly parents they were either caring for or had cared for. We all anticipated that would be the subject matter of our next manuscript. Two of my buddies met with agents. Verdict: as a subject, the elderly is flooded, aka LOSING MUM AND PUP and STILL ALICE. Move on!
I have conscientiously read Nathan Bransford's blog for several years to learn the most concise, accurate info on how to get published. Nathan is a literary agent for Curtis Brown and his young-adult novel, JACOB WONDERBAR AND THE COSMIC SPACE KAPOW, will soon be published. That should have told me something! Nathan held a contest for five guest bloggers to take his spot while he was on vacation. I submitted an entry. I know I'm way, way over the hill, but I still write English, don't I? The winning entries were HIP!! A guest blogger sat in Starbucks and talked about the new genre she was writing in - a "cozy." Another answered the question, "Who would be your literary BBF?" with the following: Alice Cullen from TWILIGHT and Harriet the Spy from NANCY DREW MYSTERIES.
At least I got something out of the conference. On the solitary ride home for three-plus hours, I decided to finish the manuscript I'm working on, then take it in a whole different direction! Or should I move on to bridge??