Not for the Faint of Heart

I am currently staying with friends in Palm Desert decompressing after a transformative publishing course on the Oregon Coast. I was a part of a roller coaster of a workshop led by six top-marketing, award-winning editor/ authors: Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, John Helfers, Kerrie Lynn Hughes, Rebecca Moesta, and Kevin J. Anderson. I and my fellow course participants prepared for this course by writing six short stories in six weeks, (in my case these were mainly genres I was not familiar writing for) and then reading all 250 manuscripts in one week (the equivalent of five books in a week) and submitting our work not only for review but for possible publication in six live anthologies to be published soon by Fiction River.

To accomplish this (and to make sales as well) was only a part of this experience. The most amazing part in my opinion, was to be privy to the decision-making process editors go through when choosing among the top stories submitted for their anthologies, what qualities in a story make it a good fit for a certain anthology, how tastes can vary widely between editors for the very same anthology and how the buying editors’ vision for the anthology does play a huge role in choice where the submissions are all of a very high quality, how word count is also an influence in a decision. I do not believe any other course for high-level writers exists like this. To have your story dissected before a group of amazing writers is both challenging and rewarding. Definitely not for the faint of heart, but well worth the experience if one is not wedded to one’s words and willing to stretch further every day in one’s craft.

This was also a course about publishing. Learning the directions the industry is taking and how I too might take advantage of that move. Our last day at the course was devoted to seminars with experts in the field of publishing. Not only did our editors step in and give us insights into the paths they took to success (and challenge) but we also had seminars with award winning author Matthew L Buchman on setting goals of publication, Romance Author Christina York on meeting personal challenges and getting back to the writing process, Lee Allred on his experiences writing for Marvel and DC Comics, and the inspiring Mark Lefebvre of Kobo on the value of e-publishing. We learned about constructing cover art, by the brilliant publisher/CEO Allyson Longueira at WMG Publishing Inc.

As I began my drive toward southern California and the weather warmed and the trees began to blossom, my own awareness blossomed too with the possibilities that had been presented to me. Many of these possibilities scared me too, as they involve steps into technological territories I have avoided before now. I now have a clearer idea of my career, however. I now need to get busy and lay out a business plan for myself. This involves a re-structure of this website with more links to what I have out there in the market, so that those of you who might be looking for my work can find it. It also involves getting more of my work out there into e-publishing.

In summary, I not only bumped up my writing to a higher level, filled my poor little head with so much knowledge that I feel like my brain is exploding, I also networked with other brilliant writers who are publishing and winning awards out there. I hope soon to establish links to their sites so you can meet and enjoy them all!

Have you ever had a time in your life when the knowledge came at you so fast and furious you weren’t sure how you could process it all? A time when you knew that such knowledge would change you forever and you were totally ready to embrace that chance? If so I would love to know.

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