What are you doing to improve your craft this year?

March 31, 2010 | Written by admin

Word is out – I'll be doing a webinar next week for Writers Digest entitled "Marketing for Authors." This is a business-focused, 90-minute webinar for authors who have books coming out soon, or authors who just want to learn more about the marketing process. It starts at 1 eastern next Thursday, April 8, and you're invited to attend. Chuck Sambuchino has blogged about it over on his "Guide to Literary Agents" blog…  http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog/CategoryView,category,Webinars.aspx . You can get all the details there.

These days, publishers expect the author to really take charge of their own marketing efforts. That's a tough task for most of us who were trained as writers, and don't have much enthusiasm for becoming full-time publicists or marketing directors. So my goal in this 90-minute session is to try and break down some of the basic information authors need to know about marketing. We'll cover topics such as:

  • Marketing in the new economy
  • How to establish an author brand
  • What to expect your publisher to do 
  • Keys to writing great marketing copy
  • Five things you can do to become your publisher's favorite author

I hope you'll check it out. You can sign up here: http://www.writersdigestshop.com/product/self-marketing-for-authors-webinar/?r=chipblog033010

By the way, I'm going to be speaking at the Calvin Festival for Faith and Writing in mid-April. It's the best writing conference for my own personal growth, and it happens every two years at Calvin College. Speakers this year include Eugene Peterson, Avi, Kate DiCamillo, Lisa Samson, Scott Cairns, Tim Stafford, Parker Palmer, Wally Lamb, and a host of others. The Festival always has an array of incredible talent, and is the conference I get the most out of personally. I'll be teaching a workshop on "Making a Living at Writing," and I'm doing a couple group appointments with unpublished authors. If you're going to be there, make sure to stop by and say hello.

And the weekend of April 23-24, I'll be team-teaching a seminar called Writing Bestselling Fiction in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. My co-teacher is bestselling author Susan May Warren, and in this seminar we'll explain the elements of a bestselling novel, show you how to create great characters, and get you going on plotting a story that will be both memorable and meaningful. We'll make the whole process understandable, and you'll leave having taken a major step forward in your novel writing. If you want to finally create that romance, suspense, mystery, or thriller that will gain a readership and get noticed in a crowded marketplace, you should come join us. You can get more info on the website, and readers of this blog get $50 off. Check it out at: www.themasterseminars.com

One last one to tell you about: Two of my favorite authors, Lisa Samson and Susan Meissner, are doing a seminar in Orlando called Adding Depth to Your Fiction. Susan is a widely respected author, and wrote the most decorated novel of the year in 2008 with The Shape of Mercy. Lisa Samson is widely regarded as one of our best literary novelists, having won a shelf full of awards and honors. Together, they've created a weekend retreat to help authors make their work better, deeper, and more meaningful. This is a rare opportunity to spend a weekend with a couple of talented, experienced novelists, focused on helping you improve your own craft. This sort of thing comes around rarely — not a huge, 500-person convention, or a one-hour workshop somewhere, but a couple days away with experts. Doesn't get much better than that. The retreat takes place May 7 & 8 in the Orlando Embassy Suites, right by the airport. You can get your questions answered by Tiffany at tiffcolter(at) gmail.com. 

Of course, there are plenty of other good conferences coming up as well. Write to Publish happens in June on the Wheaton College campus in Illinois, and I know plenty of people will be at the Colorado conference in May. What are you doing to improve your craft this year? 

Posted in Career, Conferences, Current Affairs, Marketing and Platforms

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com patriciazell

    Fortunately or unfortunately–depending on how I look at it–I’ll be in school during your webinar. Hopefully, you’ll do another one this summer because I need to hear what you are presenting.
    Since I attended Write to Publish last year (the conference completely changed my strategy for writing my book), I’m not planning to attend any conferences this year. However, I’m going to have a lot of on-the-job training this summer as I finish my book that I’m writing online and move towards possible publication. No matter what doors God opens for me, I am going to have to rework my blog into a larger site. I just hope this venture will be as productive as writing my book online has been.
    Thanks for keeping us posted on important information!

  • http://www.themotherlode.wordpress.com Theresa Lode

    I too hope you repeat the webinar later this year as I’m burning through my continuing ed budget at the Erma Bombeck writers’ workshop in a few weeks.
    (And speaking of webinars, how about doing one on humor writing sometime?)
    Nothing beats a conference in real life but I am growing to appreciate the cost effectiveness of webinars and teleconferences.

  • http://www.jenniferlynking.com Jennifer King

    Amazing, Chip. A live webinar seminar on marketing that comes all the way to Prague, Czech Republic? Incredible… looking forward to it. I’ll be sleepy-eyed, but I’ll be there. Thanks!
    Happy Easter,
    Jennifer

  • http://www.mossmountain.blogspot.com Megan

    Lots!
    Firstly, I’m attempting to survive life. For me this year involves applying for ILR (indefinite leave to remain) in the United Kingdom), running my own online craft/miniature business, meeting new people via my American Expat group and other ways, and working on my 2nd year of marraige. That’s gotta be a lot of experience right there I can use in my writing.
    As far as craft–I’m trying to read a lot more. Both novels in the genre I want to write, and a lot of blogs and web articles about the genre I’m working on. I’ve found some really helpful stuff on Squidoo. It’s amazing what you can find online that you can’t get in books. (Of course books are good too. My favorites are 20 Master Plots, How to Plot Your Novel by Jean Saunders, and Walking on Alligators.
    I’m also using music a lot to motivate me and stimulate my imagination. It works really well. Make sound tracks for the scenes you need to write. ;)

  • http://www.angelameuser.com Angela Meuser

    I second the motion to have the webinar repeated later this year. I’d love to “attend” but I just registered for the Master’s Seminar in Portland yesterday and don’t have any moolah left. See you next month, Chip.

  • http://lauradroege.wordpress.com Laura Droege

    What am I doing to improve my craft this year? Let’s see:
    I’m trying to read the best quality books possible. (If I have the irrepressible urge to rewrite the novel, I stop reading. Seriously, I’ve had that urge.)
    I try to write as much as possible: blog posts, articles for e-zines, short stories, even trying to write a few song lyrics. (Yikes.)
    I’m meeting with a writer friend of mine on a weekly basis. She’s a good writer but sometimes needs the affirmation of her gift and encouragement to keep writing; all of us do, really. So she reads my stuff and I read her stuff, and we can give each other honest feedback.
    I still participate in an online writing site. It’s not a great site, actually, but I’ve learned as much from reviewing the bad writing as I have from the good reviewers. (With the bad writing, I’ve learned what NOT to do.)
    @Megan-I like your idea of making “soundtracks” for the scenes you need to write. I’ll have to try that one.

  • http://www.jamesscottbell.com James Scott Bell

    Chip, I’ll be doing a series of webinars in July for WD, on taking your craft to the next level. Meanwhile, I’m working on my own projects and continuing to read craft books. Even published writers should do this. I mean, brain surgeons have to keep up on the medical journals. Why should writers think they are exempt? (At least when we make a mistake, no one dies).
    I guess only agents get to sit outside by the pool, sipping lemonade, laughing as that 15% keeps rolling in. More power to you.

  • http://www.loopdeloops.blogspot.com Kay Day

    I am attending Glen Eyrie Writer’s Summit in Colorado Springs in June. I will be able to meet Mr. Bell there this year.
    It will be my fourth time at this conference and it has been extremely beneficial to my writing.
    I’m also reading a lot of fiction and I’m part of a book club that reads and discusses writing books.
    I’m a member of Words For the Journey Christian Writer’s Guild in the Denver area and each week we have a wonderful lesson pertaining to the world of writing and publishing.
    I also read blogs like yours.