Monday, May 19, 2014

A Gold Mine

The annual Pennwriters' conference fulfilled all expectations and beyond. I have pages of handwritten notes I'll be converting to blog posts over the next two weeks. And I'll probably save one good one for my next turn at IWSG.

Pennwriters is a non profit group, and one of the ways they raise money is to sell chances on gift baskets provided by members and groups of members. There were many terrific gifts.

There were winners of the writing contest held in the weeks leading up to the conference in poetry, short story, nonfiction and novel beginnings. The winners were recognized at the Saturday luncheon.

Pennwriters contest winners

There also was a large table of books for sale by published members. A local bookseller runs that concession so it works very smoothly. Saturday afternoon had an hour set aside so you could get your purchases signed by the authors.

Ten agents and three editors attended and presented workshops and sat on panels. I'll give some details of their shared wisdom in an upcoming post. The food was excellent and three of the meals included an industry professional as a speaker.

It wasn't all perfect. As with most affairs held in hotel conference areas, the rooms were too cold. Coffee and hot tea weren't available Saturday afternoon. Pennwriters divides the state into six areas and the area meetings weren't well attended. People missed a great networking opportunity by not choosing the bar over the meeting.

Some workshops provided lots of learning for me. Some reinforced things I already know. At least one presenter spouted what I thought of as utter nonsense about promotion. I wanted to stand up and tell all the inexperienced writers to disregard everything he was saying. I didn't, of course.

The last workshop I attended blew me away and set the standard for what a presentation should be. Perhaps because the presenter was a teacher, entertaining and organized. Can't wait to share that with you and have the lovely lady here as my guest.

Ever read a blog or sit in on a workshop where you wanted to stand up and decry the misinformation? Ever been to a meeting in a hotel conference room where it wasn't too cold? Who have you heard speak, on any subject, who really inspired or entertained you? Ever win anything on one of those gift basket drawings?


  1. There've been a couple of times when a well known author has touted a marketing method that would've been a disaster for me.

    Different personalities, different strengths and weaknesses all contribute to why something will work--or not work.

    Time seems to fly by with great speakers. Many of them have attended Toastmaster seminars to hone their presentations and it shows. Their talks are always interesting and exciting.

  2. I haven't attended a writer's conference, but in another world, I represented a company at job fairs. The coldest day of my life was at a job fair in an old armory where our table was right by a door. It was a snowy February day, the job fair was well attended, so that door kept opening. Can't think of a more miserable day. I would think, hope, that host sites would realize that comfort equates to success, and they'd monitor things like the air conditioning.

  3. Bummer those writers were getting bad input on promotion. Yeah, I would've wanted to say something.

  4. Layers, that's why you dress in layers. :)
    You're better than me, Susan, because I went to a conference once when the presenter, who was a writer, pretty much disregarded the entire Indi movement as a fantasy. I did stand up and call her on it. It helped that there were only ten or so other people in the room with me.

  5. I've been to conferences where it was too hot, but it takes a lot to make it too cold for me.

    I'm curious what that presenter was saying now.

  6. Those rooms are always cold!!!
    I've been at a few workshops where I've wished I was braver and could challenge to so-called expert! Frustrating experience

  7. Glad for the most part it was grand and yeah hotel rooms usually suck, unless one is rich, then they can be nice

  8. Yes. We attended a Penn Writers local chapter once. The lady was an idiot. She knew NOTHING about writing. But she was willing to run the meetings and apparently that was the only requirement.

    Then Tim went to a second one she ran where she put down a young writer who tried to attend. Totally uncalled for and shameful.

  9. I did hear one presentation a while ago that didn't ring true to me. I had some questions that the speaker couldn't answer, but I was a newbie and thought I was asking the wrong questions. Turns out that I wasn't. He didn't know what he was talking about and shouldn't have been a presenter.

    Most conferences have had nuggets of gold and I've appreciated them a lot. The coffee is always lousy. :-)

  10. I'd like to get to a conference one of these days. A Write, Pitch, and Polish is coming to my area in June. I signed up and hoping it will help me.

  11. Drat, I never win any of those gift baskets! :) The first writers' conference I ever attended was Pennwriters. (I'm not going to say how long ago that was.) I'd love to go to another one sometime. I'm looking forward to your upcoming posts!

  12. I've been to a few writing seminars where the editors and writers on the panel said to never to self-publish or you won't ever be taken seriously. I've avoided all seminars with those writers since.

  13. Sounds like that last workshop made all the coldness and lack of tea worth it. You're so lovely to be bringing the information back to we can sit in our warm rooms and drink lots of hot liquids while we read. ;)

  14. Ha, it's always too cold at those things!! hehehe

  15. HI, Susan.

    Glad it was an overall good time. I can't wait to read your posts on what you learned and to meet the lady that "blew you away."

    And you are SO right... I was like a popsicle after the SCBWI conference in NYC a few years ago!

  16. Hotel conference rooms... always cold. Just like other public places (restaurants and even grocery stores). Seems like I carry a jacket wherever I go.

    Look forward to hearing more about this conference!