When I was in high school and college, I would have loved to go to the many writing workshops and bookish conferences that I'm attending these days as a literary agent. The networking and learning opportunities at these events are so valuable. I meet someone new at every conference I go to, and sometimes, I even discover a brilliant voice.
Like Lindsey Smith, who I found at a writing workshop in Philadelphia. Her new cookbook is off to St. Martin's Press, thanks to making that connection.
But as a teen and college student in my 20's... there was no way I would have been able to afford some of these events. Sometimes they can be really expensive, and that creates barriers for young writers who could truly grow in their careers from these events, but can't due to financial reasons.
So, I'd like to shake things up a little.
Are you a writer eager to learn about the industry and connect with editors, agents, fellow authors? I'm offering up a free pass to any of the following events, to a marginalized writer (authors who are PoC, disabled, LGBTQ+, native voices) in those respective regions.
Philadelphia Writers Workshop (Philadelphia, PA)
April 8th, 2017
Midwest Writers Conference (Muncie, IN) *
July 20th – 22nd, 2017
* Note: This is for the Part II, $300 option, Thursday evening, Friday & Saturday. Details on the site.
Over the course of the conference, if you want, we'll hang out. I'll introduce you to industry folks. We'll grab coffee. Or you can just wander around. You do you. These passes don't include hotel stays or transportation though, sorry. It's just a pass for the conference / workshop. So please, only email me if you're from the area. I can't stress that enough.
Interested in attending? Email me with the following:
At ericsmithrocks at gmail dot com, with what conference you'd like to attend. I'll pick someone one month before the day of the conference, so March 8th (Philly Writers Workshop) and June 20th (Midwest Writers Con).
Event organizers, take note. If you want me at a conference, I'm requesting passes like these from now on. I'm willing to pay for the passes out of any honorarium you might be offering me.
Back in August, my wife jokingly suggested that we make a Twitter account for our dog, Augustus. I'd been occasionally tweeting about him being my "assistant" at P.S. Literary, and she thought it might be funny to make a profile of him doing just that.
And now he has over 1,200 Twitter followers. For a corgi tweeting his life goal of being a literary agent. The Internet is a wonderful place.
One of the quirky things I've been doing with Auggie's Twitter account, is Photoshopping corgis into YA books. Poorly for the most part, and sometimes spending WAY more time than I should on others. #CorgiYA was born, and it's a fun way to distract myself.
To celebrate his 1,000 follower landmark, I offered up a query critique contest. The best #CorgiYA would win a query critique from me and Augustus. Mine will be real, Auggie's will be silly. And much to my surprise, a bundle of people jumped in to play along! Authors, editors, agents, publishers... it was a very fun few days on Twitter.
And I can't talk about doing a social media game without pointing at the analytics of the fun.
With over one million impressions and the reach to over 600,000 people, over 250 folks participating in favoriting, retweeting, talking about and creating their own images... a lot of people were engaged in having fun with this thing. It pulled in about 100 new followers for Auggie's account and my own.
Remember, writers in the social media world. It doesn't all have to be "BUY MY BOOK" to get people paying attention to you and sharing your stuff. In fact, it shouldn't be. No one is on social media to be promoted at. They are here to have fun.
Do things like this. Have fun.
I also have to call out Ashley Ruggirello in particular here. She made some of my favorites in this game. I know she does freelance cover designs, and my goodness, her Photoshops during this were gorgeous. If you're looking for a designer, please drop her a line.
As for winners, my three winners were from Lyndsay Ely, Ari Faye, Ashley Ruggirello, and The Book Voyagers. "Eric wait that's four." I know. I may have seen a query from one of these folks and given them notes already. So one is an honorary winner.
Here are the best of the best, starting with my four winners. Enjoy!
WINNER: From Ash Ruggirello
WINNER: From Lyndsay Ely
WINNER: From The Book Voyagers