Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | June 19, 2018

Images, Inspiration, and Insights from the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference

The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, Philadelphia Writers' Conference

Center city Philadelphia skyline from I-95, 06-08

 

From June 8 through June 10, fellow Chronicler Kerry Gans and I attended the 70th annual Philadelphia Writers’ Conference. Kerry did a thorough job covering each day of the conference. [Check out her posts for Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.] We attended several of the same workshops, but I attended some she didn’t. Here are some of my photos along with writing tips I gleaned during the conference:

 

The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, Philadelphia Writers' Conference

‘Writing Retreat in a Box’ with Blair Thornburgh, 06-09

 

On fiction:

✪ Titles have themes. They mean something. [Blair Thornburgh]

✪Your book cover should look like other book covers in your genre. [Denise Camacho]

✪If you have trouble beginning your novel, try “dessert first” — write the fun part, the part you care about most, first. [Blair Thornburgh]

✪It’s important to choose the right protagonist for your short story. [Austin Camacho]

✪How your characters talk and act reflects who they are and what’s happening to them. [Blair Thornburgh]

✪Conflict is a function of character. It’s about motivation. [Austin Camacho]

✪Motivation can look simple at first, but should be shown to be much deeper. [Austin Camacho]

 

The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, Philadelphia Writers' Conference

‘Short and Sweet – How to Write a Great Short Story’ with Austin Canacho, 06-09

 

✪An internal conflict won’t carry a novel, but it will carry a short story. [Austin Camacho]

✪Anything that changes things in a story must be shown in a scene (not told). [Austin Camacho]

✪To make suspense work, readers must care about the characters. [Austin Camacho]

✪Storytelling is about identity — the author’s, the character’s, and the reader’s. [Blair Thornburgh]

✪Before you submit a short story, read at least two issues of the magazine you are sending it to. [Austin Camacho]

✪The target audience for kids’ books includes parents, because parents buy the books. [Denise Camacho]

 

The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, Philadelphia Writers' Conference

‘The Essay Abounds’ with Beth Kephart, 06-10

 

On non-fiction:

✪An increasing number of memoirs are actually a series of related essays. [Beth Kephart]

✪When you put together a book of essays, the order of the essays is very important. [Beth Kephart]

✪If you are looking for a publisher for a book of essays, all but one or two of those essays should be new, not previously published. [Beth Kephart]

✪Many small publishers are interested in books of essays. [Beth Kephart]

 

The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, Philadelphia Writers' Conference

‘Marketing and Social Media – An Author’s Worst Nightmare’ with Denise Camacho, 06-10

 

On marketing, platform, branding, and social media:

✪If you’re just starting in social media, don’t try to do it all at once. Start with one platform, like Facebook. [Denise Camacho]

✪Don’t pay for social media. [Denise Camacho]

✪You are unique. No one else has your perspective. [Suzy Q]

✪Your brand is comprised of three elements: who you are, who you want to be, and who people perceive you to be. [Suzy Q]

✪We are all multi-dimensional. We are never going to be just one thing. [Suzy Q]

✪Your brand is your promise to your readers: it tells them what to expect from your book(s). [Suzy Q]

✪It’s okay to modify your brand to make it more effective. Don’t throw out everything, however: keep what works. [Suzy Q]

✪Building your platform is primary for marketing — all marketing, not just social media. [Denise Camacho]

✪Growing your platform is a long process. Start long before your book is published. [Denise Camacho]

 

The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, Philadelphia Writers' Conference

‘You Are Your Brand’ with Suzanne Kuhn, 06-09

 

On writing:

✪Writing is rewriting. [Austin Camacho]

✪The best way to sell a book is to write another book. [Denise Camacho]

✪Thinking about a five-year plan as a writer helps you focus your goals and writing. [Blair Thornburgh]

✪Make time to meet face-to-face with other writers to talk (other than in writing groups). [Blair Thornburgh]

✪You can always learn something from other writers, even if they don’t write what you write. [Denise Camacho]

✪The “impostor syndrome” is real. It shows you have feelings and that you have something worthwhile to say. [Blair Thornburgh]

✪Assume the best. You aren’t at that point in your career where you are experienced enough to know how good you are. [Blair Thornburgh]

✪Bring all of who you are into all that you do. [Suzy Q]

 

The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, Philadelphia Writers' Conference

‘From Novel to Script – The Craft and Business’ Workshop with Robert Blake Whitehill, 06-09

 

Note: For the most part the words in the writing tips above are those of the presenters, but in quickly scribbling down my notes, I can’t be sure I caught their exact words, so I didn’t use quotation marks.

 

The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, Philadelphia Writers' Conference

Philadelphia skyline from I-95, 06-10

 


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