Category Archives: Conferences

Writer’s House, Tbilisi, Georgia

For the last two weeks, I’ve been enrolled in workshops through the Summer Literary Seminars (SLS) out of Montreal, Canada. Morning workshops run for the entire two weeks, while afternoon workshops run one week each.

Writers HouseThe program is hosted by the Writer’s House of Georgia. Located in Tbilisi, the building was completed in 1905. The Art Nouveau architecture blends Georgian and European influences, and the building has witnessed many important historic events, particularly in the political realm.

Although the building is in the heart of the city, the Writer’s House is a quiet sanctuary in the city. The central courtyard hosts a lush garden that stays cool even on the hottest days.

Stop by when you are in Tbilisi, or consider writing and learning with the SLS programs.

Latest from Children’s Author Wendy Gilhula

PBHaBQCoverLast November, I interviewed children’s author Wendy Gilhula about her work. Here’s a link to the interview to refresh your memory. At the time, she was celebrating the release of her first picture book, Pika Bunny and the Thunderstorm. 

I blogged about that, too, here, calling it the Cutest Dual-language Picture Book! The work was published as separate editions in English and Spanish, with another edition in English and Spanish.

Now her second book is out. Pika Bunny Has a Big Question is available just in time for Wendy to be featured by her publisher at Book Expo of America (BEA). That’s big news for any author. It’s even better for Wendy’s fans, because she’ll be at her publisher’s booth signing copies.

The second book is already available in English. The dual-language edition is in the works and will be available soon. Meanwhile, worksheets based on Pika’s adventures are available for free at Wendy’s website. They are really, really cute! And they are also available in English and Spanish.

When I wished Wendy good luck, I told her I hoped she sold a ton of books at BEA. Then I asked, “How many Pika Bunnies are in a ton?”

Her answer: “There are about 5,333 Pika Bunnies in a ton.”

Let’s help her sell a ton of Pika Bunnies, and encourage literacy and multilingual abilities in kids!

What Children’s Books Can Teach Adult Fiction Authors

The AWP held their annual conference earlier this month. Among their other great offerings was a panel focused on children’s publishing.
One author stated that characters are paramount in children’s and YA stories. The plot comes from the characters. Who each person is in the story creates the story. Each is presented with challenges or obstacles they must overcome. From that comes the different plot points and thus the entire story.
Another point was that there are no pointless characters. If one shows up but never plays an important role, that character should be struck.
A different author noted that “rumination” is part of the story. That is, the characters have to have backstories, histories that detail where they come from and why they’re motivated to act certain ways.
Finally, in response to a question about how to write for the market, one author said to write what inspires you. From there, you can determine how best to pitch and place the work in the existing market.
All of these points apply equally to adult fiction. Characters do create the plot and impact the story. They should have backstories. No character should ever be pointless, and the author should always write what interests them rather than what they think will sell.
The only difference is that in children’s and YA publishing, the author utilizes different language, changes sentence layouts, uses less complex storytelling structures, and of course mostly will write shorter manuscripts.
Everything else is just quality fiction.

BEA: 2014 and Future

In case you were thinking that publishing is gasping its last breaths, the 2014 BEA completed last week saw nearly as many attendees from the industry as in 2013. The day dedicated to readers expected nearly 10,000 additional people flock in.

Next year, the BEA will expand from the current three-day format to four. With the inclusion of self-published authors and new technologies as well as the invitation to readers to attend, it’s a phenomenal event that reflects the current strength returning to what has been an anemic industry. Good health!

Book Agent Info

Meet face to face with an agent at the Wyoming Writers Conference June 6-8. Held in Sheridan, WY, the conference offers Laura Rennert of Andrea Brown Literary and Jessica Sinsheimer of Sarah Jane Freymann Literary.

Book Agent Info

Connect with an agent and work on your book at the Texas Writing Retreat. Held August 5-10 near Houston, you’ll have an opportunity to connect with Elizabeth Kracht of Kimberley Cameron & Associates. This five-night writing retreat is all-inclusive (food, drinks, and board) with the attendees limited to 7 to 15.

Book Agent Info

Connect with agents face to face at the Missouri Writers Guild Conference April 25-27 in St. Louis, MO. Meet with Ken Sherman of Ken Sherman & Associates, Laura Biagi of Jean V. Naggar Literary, Sorche Fairbank of Fairbank Literary, or Gina Pantettieri of Talcott Notch.

Book Agent Info

Some top agents will be at the Houston Writer’s Guild Conference April 12 in Houston, TX. Eddie Schneider of Jabberwocky Literary, Pooja Menon of Kimberley Cameron & Associates, and Jennifer Udden of Donald Maass Literary will be on hand to hear author’s pitches.

If you need help with your spoken pitch, a query letter, or other pitch items, connect with me today!

Workshop: Query Letters in NC

Writing the Perfect Query Letter with Laine Cunningham, presented by Alice Osborn

Location: Center for Excellence, 3803-B Computer Dr. Suite 106, Raleigh, NC 27609

Saturday, March 9     Time:  1:30-4:30pm

Fee:  $55 (Early Bird till March 1st)/$75 after

Registration: Click here  

Your query letter is every bit as important as the opening pages of your novel. It’s your first opportunity to show your writing skills to a prospective agent or editor. Make it count! Make it shine! A good query letter should make that editor and agent want to read your material…and it should grab their hearts in the thirty seconds or so they give each query in their pile. In this class, publishing consultant and owner of the Writer’s Resource Laine Cunningham will discuss the three important elements to inject into your query so you can get published. Fiction and nonfiction authors writing books, stories or articles will benefit from this class.

Laine Cunningham’s clients consistently garner attention from the nation’s top publishers and agents. Several of her clients’ books have been shopped around Hollywood and have received film options. She has been quoted on CNN MoneyMedia Bistro, and The Writer Magazine for her opinion on the end of the Harry Potter series, the “Oprah Effect,” and Sarah Palin’s ghostwriter. She has presented workshops and lectures for The Loft, the nation’s largest independent literary organization; the National Writer’s Union; The Writer’s Workshop in Asheville and writing conferences across the country.