Weekend Writer Adventures
That’s where I was for part of Saturday morning. To be honest, I didn’t stay long, as I felt there were some organizational problems with the first time event that hopefully will be solved next year. But this isn’t a review of the festival as a whole.
The one panel discussion I went to, (attempting to stay warm while sitting in the outside tent on the overcast morning) was about self-publishing. As many of you know, I haven’t decided yet on how to publish my novel, either the old way of to do it myself. But I am gathering information as I go, and the panel on the subject seemed an ideal place to spend some time while I was at the festival.
I didn’t gain much more in the way of information than I already had from other sources over time. I did however put several faces to the concept of successful self publishing. I have a few friends who have just started that journey, (more on them in the coming weeks), but until Saturday I hadn’t been personally exposed to self-published success stories, and it was encouraging to finally do so. (Though one did a lot of work with small presses without an agent as well.)
How did they define success? That would have been an interesting question to ask them, and I intended to. But one blowhard in the audience ended up asking 85% of the questions, and I just wasn’t in the mood to shout over other people to be heard. (Am I ever?) But it was clear that each of them, despite being mid-list local authors for the time being were satisfied with their experiences in self-publishing. Difficult though it may be. All of them had stories of agents who signed them and never returned calls again, or of not understanding how and why the agent model continues to thrive. All of them legitimized the self-publishing model even further.
Not that agents have to be bad people. But it was satisfying to hear established even if local authors express the same sort of questions I’ve been grappling with as I study the agent route.
Beyond the specifics, I think it was good for me to go to this book festival held nearby, even if it was quite underwhelming and needed better planning. I have to keep my eyes open for “writerly” gatherings in which to take part. That all started with the writers salon I joined over a year ago. I know I am not made to meet people and engage them at festivals and conventions, (don’t start on me…), but by getting to them when I can, I at least develop a mental presence that aligns me with the writer’s life more. At least as much as I can be so, without cold-introducing myself to people just for the sake of doing so.
One other note on my weekend; I sent the first section of Flowers for Dionysus off to the novel splinter group of the salon I mentioned. I’ve been reviewing the novel of the sub-group’s founder for the last month or so, and when we came to the end of that, he asked if i wanted to submit mine next. So I did. For most of the last month it’s only been three people involved, and it looks like it will be the same for my novel. (It gathered zero attention from the other writers I contacted about the group…which I guess might be a bad sign, as far as my pitch goes.)
So I look forward to Thursday when we meet to begin the discussion on my work. Look forward to, and also remain a bit nervous about. I’m sure that will pass in the following week though. This is like opening night or the first date. But I’m pretty satisfied it’s good writing, and I know the two people reading it for the group know what they are talking about, even if I don’t end up agreeing with all of their thoughts. (Who does?)
I’ll keep you updated on that.