5th Annual KDL Writers Conference

Woke up bright and early this morning, just like always, I can’t seem to stay asleep past 7:30 am anymore, but I have no problem being in bed at 10 pm, and headed off to he Fifth Annual KDL Writers Conference. It started at 9 am and ran through 1 pm with just a few breaks between speakers. That might seem like a long time, but there were a few presenters that ran long and were chased off stage by the library staff.
It was another good crowd. There seem to be a lot of writers or people interested in writing in West Michigan. I sat in front of a gentleman and his wife in their sixties, he hasn’t written anything since he was 14, but wants to get back at it now that he’s retired. I sat next to a young lady who is 11 and wants to be a writer. And the rest of the crowd of over a hundred ran the gamut of ages, so I’d say the crowd is very diverse. This would be a good town to start a writers group in, or find one to join, if one were so inclined.
Today’s agenda:
How to Write EverydayAric Davis, Author
Publishing is Only the StartTom Saunders, Director of Glendower Media
What Kind of Shirt Would You Like? The Fine Art and Hard Work of Freelance WritingCharles Honey, Freelance Writer
When is the Right time to Hire a Publicist?Tamaryn Tobian, Publicist owner of Spectacle Creative Media
Nuts and Bolts: How to Find an Agent and Submit Your ManuscriptSteven Piziks, Author
Overview of KDL Services for WritersStacy Schuster, Collection Department Librarian
And now for my short and dirty breakdown. This is my second time seeing Aric Davis. He’s good; makes good points, funny, insightful, but damn is he hard to look at. It’s not that he’s an ugly man, but he’s got his ears gauged with enormous hoops and seeing them just gives me the willies. I don’t have anything against it, but it’s like one of those surgery documentaries or watching someone get a shot, I’ve just got to look away. Basically, what he said, and I know you’ve all heard this before, write every day, no excuses, and have compelling characters that you want to write about.
Tom Saunders put on a good presentation that was insightful and humorous. Basically, you don’t need a publisher these days, but you need a publisher these days. When everybody can do a thing, everybody does. And they’re usually not doing it right or very good at it.
Charles Honey talked about writing short nonfiction from the viewpoint of a former newspaper reporter and freelancer. The gem from him was that you don’t really want to change your style to fit a client, because the client probably wants you for your style. Besides, they’re going to change anything they want to anyway. Once you write it for them, the work is theirs to do what they will with it.
Tamaryn Tobian talked about why you need a publicist, social media, and that you’re going to have to pay for that shit. And it probably won’t be cheap.
Steven Piziks stepped up to put on a 90-minute talk in 45-minutes. Didn’t happen. Of all the speakers, I felt like what he was talking about was closest to where I’m at and what I need. Of course, he was also the one who didn’t get to share all his information. I think I’d like to find out where and when he’ll be doing his talk again and try and catch the whole thing.
Stacy Schuster gave everyone the lowdown on the available services and collections the Kent District Library has available to writers looking for resources. She also talked about, SELF-e, an eBook self-publishing service powered by Library Journal.
And that was this years KDL Writers Conference.