I promised to report on the fates of my colleagues at the conference I attended a few years ago.
I obviously don’t know all their stories. Emails began to circulate, friendly requests for updates. Not everyone responded. I did not.
Now that I’m contemplating creating (from scratch) a “platform” for the non-fiction book I’m working on (tentatively titled Survive College Writing: What No One Will Tell You about Your First-Year Writing Class), I realize that not becoming part of that somewhat nostalgic network was a missed opportunity. At the time, it seemed clear to me that my job had hustled any real involvement in my personal projects right off the stage. So I withdrew, sat silent, packed away the emotional energy I wanted to invest in writing in hopes it would ferment in its dark corner. I think it has. I get up ready to write every day.
So with regard to the fate of my colleagues at the conference, all I have to go on is that flurry of emails. About ten people took part.
Of those few, up to the last email I received, only one had found a commercial publisher for the book she pitched at the conference. Gail Strickland found a small press (Curiosity Quills Press) that publishes the kind of book she has written and offers her the kind of support she hoped for. Her book, a YA historical fantasy titled Night of Pan can be pre-ordered through her Web site. I’m hoping Gail will give a blog interview about her experiences taking her book through from idea to promotion; if so, I’ll post the date.
The most impressive of the several self-publishing stories is that of one of the attendees who perfected his pitch (not about zombies) and scored a review from Publishers Weekly Select. John J. Kelley’s The Fallen Snow is worth a look–and I especially admire the attention his hard work at promotion has garnered. He’s gotten wonderful reviews! With his permission, I’ve posted his very informative account of the PW Select process here.
Another attendee ended up self-publishing a cookbook based on her expertise at gardening and raising bees. At last account she was still at work on her fiction.
John found the conference helpful in expanding his options for his work. I am still thinking about what I learned, including what I knew before and how the conference changed what I thought I knew. Even so much later (nearly three years), I still have much to process. I think that will take another post.