Last weekend I attended my first writers conference in person. I have participated in the Muse Online Writers Conference for at least three years now, but this is the first conference that I drove to and attended all day.
Some of my writing friends have asked me to share my experience, so I'll try not to bore anyone with the details while I share my day.
This was an all day affair that started with a continental breakfast and a great keynote speaker. Then we broke up into our sessions. In the morning I took How to Write Great Beginnings. Having never attended a conference before I wasn't sure what to expect. What it entailed was four published authors--some multi-published--discussing what makes great beginnings. There was a Q & A session, but I didn't find this workshop overly helpful, and one author admitted to not being prepared at all and rambled a lot, so that part was annoying.
Then I went to a mystery workshop to see if I could get some help with my crime fiction piece and that suspense short story I've had lingering in unfinished hell for a year or so. Another Q & A session, but because it was such a small group, all four authors gave their perspectives on each question. I knew one of the authors in this group, as she was a former client of Pump Up Your Book Promotion. I introduced myself and made a few potential contacts for future virtual book tours there.
Right before lunch I bought one book from each of the mystery writers--one that I wasn't quite sure about, but I didn't want to leave her out. Now I have even more books to review. I also bought Write from the Heart by Leslea Newman, who was the morning's keynote speaker.
Lunch was very nice and I sat with my buddy Frank who had told me about the conference and some of the presenters from the first workshop.
In the afternoon we had an amazing keynote speaker, Roland Merullo. Absolutely out of this world. He's written several books and even though he had lost his voice two days before the conference he managed to speak for the full hour or so.
The best workshop of the day was How Agents Think. You got a chance to submit the first page of your work. Conference coordinators chose selections at random, read them, and the four agents provided their thoughts on whether they were interested, wanted to know more, would pass and why. I didn't put anything in the box and am kicking myself, but I now have contact infomation for four potential agencies, most of them out of NY.
My buddy Frank, had the chance to meet with one of the agents, the only man on the panel, and he requested that Frank send along the first three chapters of his novel, so I am excited for him.
Got home around 5 p.m. and got right into Mommy mode. A fun day, and I offered to help coordinate next year's conference because you all know I have nothing else going on. I figure this will keep me in touch with people I need to be in touch with as I move along in my career.
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a lifelong resident of Western Mass and an award-winning REALTOR® with Real Living Realty Professionals in Wilbraham, MA. Her background in management, financial services, and social media marketing served as an excellent foundation for her real estate career.
Cheryl is also a freelance writer, children’s author, and editor. A 2005 graduate of Long Ridge Writers Group, she specializes in articles on time management and organization. Her first picture book, Little Shepherd, was released by Guardian Angel Publishing in August 2010. A Christmas Kindness was released by 4RV Publishing in 2012. Ms. Malandrinos has edited numerous manuscripts in a variety of genres and has ghostwritten a Christian chapter book.
So, in other words, Cheryl is your typical busy mom who balances family life and career on a daily basis while seeking to carve out a little bit of “me time.” She and her husband, Paul, have two daughters at home and a son who is married.