I attended my first writer’s conference: the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc.’s  (OWFI)  annual conference held May
2-4 in Norman, Oklahoma.  I mostly went so
that I could pitch my novel to agents, but I attended a few panels also. 
Because I don’t like long blog posts, I’m going to break this post into
two parts.  One part will be about the
panels; the second will be on how the pitch went. 
Part 1: The panels
The Panels:
I attended three panels at the OWFI conference: Saundra Mitchell’s YA:  What It Is, What It Isn’t .. , August
Mclaughlin’s Blogging Your Way To A Better Platform, and Mel Odom on epublishing. 
Saundra Mitchell’s
YA panel:
  • Mitchell was one of the best
    presenters I’ve ever seen.  She knew
    her material.  She walked around instead of stiffly stand behind a podium. 
    I want to be like her when I grow up.
  • The best info she had was the
    difference between middle grade (MG) and young adult (YA) fiction.
    • I was concerned that my
      current WIP was more MG than YA, but according to her
      presentation, which can be found here, I am still considered
      YA.  I think my book is probably
      just more clean (no sex, drugs, blood, etc) than the current YA I’m
    • Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) -does include YA authors. 
      • I was going to join this
        group or at least check out one of their conferences, but
        “children” in the title threw me off.
  • Mitchell also discussed race
    in her presentation.
    • The entire time I was there
      I only saw one other person of darker hue.  One. 
      So I was surprised Mitchell talked about race.  But then I was sad when she said: The vast majority of YA novels feature white
      protagonists and are written by white authors.  Even when YA novels are written about
      POC, they’re often written by white writers.  (see the slides for more information on that subject).
      • Yes, that made me sad, but
        then I was reminded about why I’m writing.  I’m writing because I want to see more
        People of Color in fantasy and sci-fi. 
        The statistics, really didn’t say anything that I didn’t already
        know.  I was only reminded that
        getting published wouldn’t be easy.
The Platform Lady:-August Mclaughlin
 Some of the major talking points from
Mclaughlin’s presentation:
  • At 21-54 blog posts your
    traffic will increase by 54%
  • Once a blog has 300
    pages,  traffic rises by 232% .
  • Bloggers have KLOUT.  Check
    out KLOUT!!!!  The higher your klout score
    the more powerful you are.  Klout
    facilitates sales and reflect better costumer service.   The average Klout score is 40 (mines is
    44).  Celebrities usually have scores around
    70.  70 and above are popular.
  1. Bob Mayer-int’l bestselling
    author-Klout score is 80.
  2. Chuck Wendig-78
  3. Kristen Lamb

reinforced what I already knew:  I need
to make blogging fun.  Honestly, I am not
happy about blogging.  Can you tell from
my long absence?  I feel like it takes
away from serious writing.  But blogging
is a must unless I want to publish my books and then have them disappear into
the ether.  I won’t mind if my books
disappear into the ether, but I want to say I tried my best to have them read.
The last panel I
attended at the OWFI conference was given by Mel Odom. He always gives great presentation.   He was my first
(worth while) creative writing teacher and he’s published 100’s of books.  One of his specialties is self-publishing short novels aimed for kindle readers that are around 20,000-30,000 words.  He usually prices them at $2.99. He publishes them regularly and he considers them a gift that will keep on giving
way after he is gone.
I’ve been aiming for 70,000-90,000 word length for so long that the fact that you can publish any length novel
on the kindle is mind blowing.  I will
have to peculate on this for a while to see if publishing shorter works is something that I want to do in the future. 
Overall, the panels were fun and very informative.   I know you’re dying
to know how the pitch meeting went at the OWFI conference… Well you’re gonna have to wait until the
next post.

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