The Southeastern Conference was an intimate affair. Unusual in that you ate with the speakers and other writers. It dispelled several illusions for me.
I knew the likelihood of making money off a book was pretty much like winning the lottery. One of the speakers made this observation. Life has taught me there will be plenty of smart and shining people who will be better than me at any given task.
So I write with no expectations. I write what I know at my personal best. That fire in my belly wakes me in the morning and gets tired with me in the evening.
Another big myth died during the conference. It was the New York agent.
Sorche Fairbanks was probably the best speaker and very genuine. She was also the New York Agent. Beautiful dark hair like a young Kirstie Alley.
I wanted to ask her how she was named Sorche, but I knew google would tell me its origin. It is Gaelic.
Sorche said she liked conferences because she got to see the human side of writers and not their incessant queries. The last part is my wording. I could not tell if she felt some guilt at having to reject queries. In my mind I thought she should not.
Stories can be like children to writers, but there is a merchandising potential which a bookseller has to contend with. It could be the greatest story ever written but if no one wants to read it, it only exists with the creator.
She had a few facts that she shared. All of this has been liberally rephrased in my words. I did not take notes.
1. It is unrealistic to think your first book will hit the New York Times best seller list. Write because you enjoy it.
2. Read books and write reviews of them. This will help you write your own synopsis and loglines.
Sorche gave a great practice of loglines.
3. Work on your actual writing and remove excess words.
4. Those first few pages need to be exciting. The person who reads every book to the end is slowly disappearing.
She works very hard to make a living. If my personal life had not been so hectic and a dad had not walked into my classroom and told me off in front of my class, I would still be teaching school. I had learned to love my job. I believed her when she said she loved her work.
I read about 20 to 100 pages a day. I just get tired or reading after awhile. I can't imagine having that much focus to read as much as Sorche does. I asked her how long it took her to read a 250-page book. She said four hours.
Sorche also told me Goodreads is a safe site to visit. I had been told by a blog which I love and respect that it is full of trolls. However, she agreed that the Amazon reviews can be corrupt with people giving one star to books they have never read.
I'll no longer be nervous around the "New York Agent". If I ever get a book that is good enough to be published by one of the big five, I hope I will get an agent like Sorche Fairbanks. My teacher meter said she is sincere. I know an agent is a sales person, and I could see that affability in Sorche. But the genuine person was confident and open.
So my next order of business is to finish the three books I am currently reading. Yes, I read several books at one time. Then write a book review for Goodreads, Amazon, and my blog.
One I got at the conference by Gary P. Jones which is based on his career in law enforcement titled Badge 149 - "Shots Fired". Amazon has a kindle version which is less expensive. I like to read a book written on paper.
Infinity Publisher Bookseller
The Second one is The Marine's Queen by Susan Kelley. I discovered her book on her blog during the A to Z challenge. It is a Sci-Fi, futuristic romance.
The Marine's Queen
The Third is a mystery titled The Crows by Maris Soule. I met Maris at the Writer's Police Academy and again with the A to Z challenge. Great Writer.