Notes from the WD Frontline

Spent this past weekend @writersdigest conference in NYC. Jaw-dropping informative at times.Mind-numbingly exhausting at other points. Unfortunately, is this for real at one session. But overall, a feast for my writing senses.

Thought I would share some of my #writersdigest notes and rambles.

Writer’s conference

  1. 1. Read for technique
    2. Strong premise and first chapter. Don’t over write first chapter
    Don’t cause others to suffer from MEGO. My eyes glaze over. Boring
    3. Beta readers. Use them!
    4. Marketing… Jacket is key
    5. Marketing… Publicity is key. Build a brand. Finding a publicist.
    6. Blogging… Social networking. Do it.
    7. Build relationships in bookstores.


Session 2.
My pitch is Pitch Perfect.

Pitch. Query letter
3 to 10 sentences. Like the back of a DVD box.

  1. Title, page count, genre,
    Log lines. 1 sentence description of a book.Building blocks of pitch
    1. Introduce main character
    2. Say something is interesting about the character. Introduce what the main character wants
    3. Introduce inciting incident
    4. What is the main conflict of the book?
    5 What’re the complications?
    6. Unclear wrap up
    7. The stakes.
    8. Short lines. Be specific.  Don’t be general. Internal and external struggle.
    Create emotion. No subplots.
    Bio that is relevant.
    My pitch is far from Pitch Perfect.

Chuck’s Guide to literary agents blog.


Session 3

Jacquelyn Mitchard

Opening of the book
7 things
1. Passion
2. Probability. Sincere honorable all on the table
3. Power. You are the only person who could write this
4. Problem. Feel that something is coming but not necessarily the conflict
5. Possibilities. Sense
6. People. Character driven vs plot driven
7. Plot. Do it well.


Editing. 1 round to 7 rounds. 9 months to a year
3 to 4 years to get it published
Endings: Climax or big bang

Character, conflict and choice.

Flashbacks need to be organic. Part of someone’s memory

Avoid italics. Use for emphasis only

Very little marketing spend. Mostly none. You do the marketing

Band together with other writers
Promote yourself
Social media… The author has to be promoting
Twitter. Definitely. Ugh.

Be realistic with your expectations
Every milestone doesn’t change your life. Manage your expectations
Hard to break through the noise.

Contact bookstores. Indies. Build relationships through twitter. Drive around to bookstores and sign them when travel. Booksellers are recommending
Biggest challenge… Getting word out about the book and distribution


Harlan Coben
AWESOME, Inspiring.
Ask What if.
Just write
Should I outline or not. Yes. Do whatever you need to.
Laptop or pen and paper. Yes. Do whatever you want.

Research. Don’t let research stop you from writing.

If you are good at anything else besides writing, don’t be a writer

Guilty helps. Feel bad when you are not writing.

Don’t be a DOUCHE BAG.

Better to think you suck. Pushes you.

Don’t tell me you don’t have time to write.

Don’t talk about your book…….

Don’t get on a train. Write what you love.

Only bad writers think they are good.

Editors. When readers tell you something wrong, they are right. You must fix it.
You can do it better

Don’t settle to just be publishable. Demand that you are great.

Amateurs wait for the muse to arrive, the rest of us just get to work.

You can always fix bad pages. But you can’t fix blank pages.

Luck plays a part. As long as you are writing

Good friends and potential writing colleagues met.

Agents X 5. Excited.

More work to do. No time like the present.

Don’t waste your time and talent.

Blog more. Re-look at chapter 1. Should it be two chapters? Does it need to be punched up?

Apologies for errors. Sent from my iPad