This year’s Philadelphia Writers’ Conference was held Friday through Sunday in the Holiday Inn at Fourth and Arch Streets in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, just a couple blocks from Independence Hall. In yesterday’s post, I discussed the opening speech and the three-day workshops. The conference also had single-session, hour-long workshops before and after the three-day workshops and other events.
Friday afternoon, attendees could meet agents and editors for pitch sessions. The agents and editors in attendance were Debra Leigh Scott, Editor/Publisher Hidden River Arts; Randall Brown, Founder/Editor Matterpress; Katie Grimm, Don Congdon Literary Agency; Adriana Dominquez, Full Circle Literary Agency; and Marie Lamba, Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency. After the buffet dinner Friday evening, these agents and editors formed a panel to answer questions of attendees. And later Friday evening, attendees could participate in the Poetry Rap, Fiction Rap, or Juvenile Rap sessions.
Saturday evening, writing contest prizes were awarded at the banquet. Afterward, the keynote speaker, Philadelphia’s Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez, spoke to the group.
Friday afternoon’s single session offerings were Online Magazines with Kathy Volk Miller and Joy Stocke and Travel Writing with Jon Volkmer. I had an interest in both but chose to attend the former. Writing for magazines, they said, can help a new writer start a career and help a published author maintain a career. Kathy provided information about Painted Bride Quarterly, and Joy spoke about the Wild River Review.
Those who registered in advance also had the opportunity to sign up for a Master Class in Screenwriting with Marilyn Horowitz or a Master class in Poetry with B. J. Ward, which met both Saturday and Sunday mornings. An additional fee was charged for the master classes.
Saturday morning’s opening sessions included Blogs with Jill Sherer-Murray and Flash Fiction with Randall Brown. I attended the session about blogging. Jill emphasized being yourself in your blog, conveying a positive message, and telling your truth with humor and grace. She squeezed a lot of sound advice into an hour, advising bloggers to be understanding rather than judgmental, to present all sides rather than just one, and to take risks rather than being unimaginative and afraid to admit imperfections.
Saturday afternoon’s single sessions were Talk is Cheap! Good Dialogue? Priceless! with Kathryn Craft and Selling Your eBook with Steven Spatz. Again, the choice was difficult. I chose Selling Your eBook — also known as 25 Tips & Techniques to help you eBook stand on the virtual eBookshelf — in which Steven presented marketing advice and techniques for writers. I took some notes in every session I attended, but Steven went through so much in the hour that I could barely keep up! The gist of his message was that, when it comes to selling your book, a writer has to put aside the artistic side and think like a marketer.
Sunday morning’s sessions were Social Media with Don Lafferty and Writing for Magazines — the secrets to achieving success as a freelancer — with Richard Rys. For me, this wasn’t a hard choice. I’m not interested in freelancing, and having attended sessions led by Don Lafferty before, I knew I could benefit from his presentation, since he always has the latest information. This session was directed more toward guiding those who already have some internet presence into expanding their reach. I have a feeling some of the attendees who have not yet become involved in social media may have felt a bit confused, but this was just what I needed. Don talked about setting up listening posts and building a social media strategy. Again, I took a couple pages of notes.
The conference concluded with a panel: Letting Your Creative Juices Flow with Kathryn Craft, Dr. Terri Levine, Alice Wootson, and David Wilson. After the panelists introduced themselves, they spoke about what helps them spark their creativity and where they find inspiration and ideas — in the bath or shower, in bed (when falling asleep or in dreams), in meditation or when exercising, and in natural locations. The audience then asked questions or offered their own comments and experiences. It was a wonderful way to end the conference, and we left inspired and eager to write!
We’re happy to announce our trio of week 2 giveaway winners: SHANI BUSH, BRYAN PRINCE & ROSA CRUZ!
We have a signed copy of Jonathan Maberry’s ROT & RUIN, DEAD OF NIGHT, and ASSASSIN’S CODE. Each of our winners will receive one of his books.
There are still 3 weeks worth of prizes to give away, so come on and enter the giveaway!