Monday, June 11, 2007

West Virginia Writers' Conference

Michael and I returned yesterday from the West Virginia Writers' Conference. Celebrating 30 years of nurturing writers in the Appalachian Mountains, the conference drew poets, screenwriters, fiction and non-fiction writers from all walks of life. From beginners to the accomplished, well into their third and fourth books. An eclectic mix of men and women with a passion to put it down on paper.

I taught classes on Public Speaking and Voice. Each class was full to near over-flowing. Only having an hour and fifteen minutes, the session flew. By the time Q&A arrived, I felt as though we needed another hour. The writers were fabulous in their participation and interest. Michael's class, Marketing Your Book Before And After It's Written, simply blew me away. He'd not let me hear it beforehand. Michael is a natural teacher, showman, and a ham all rolled into one. He should be doing this full-time, in my opinion. He's GREAT at getting his points across and he has so much information on the subject of book marketing to share! Things we learned the hard way, believe me.

Accommodations were comfortable, but the food--Lord have mercy! West Virginians are some mighty fine cooks! I didn't anticipate the "cafeteria" food to taste this great. The salad bar drew vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. Breakfast was killer. No disappointment in the chow line, I assure you.

Actually, the entire facility had a camp-like atmosphere. Relaxed and in the middle of God's half-acre, the Cedar Lakes facility in Ripley is clean and accommodating. The WV Writers held a silent auction. I lucked out by walking away with a critique package from a Charleston-based Literary Agency. Very cool. Also a few books on writing, and an oil painting.

Unfortunately, Michael and I didn't get to participate in any "front-porch" activities. We like our sleep too much, I suppose. But, hoo-boy, these mountaineers know how to party. Bon fires and good ole' mountain music into the night, sharing stories, and tipping a few ... well, let's just say they showed their dedication by making it to class the next morning. A talented bunch in every way, the entire weekend rocked!

New York Literary Agent, Scott Hoffman, arrived on Saturday and wowed us with his Q&A Session. I'm not quite sure of his connection to West Virginia, but Mike and I liked his approach and it was yet, another connection for me. I love those moments in networking.

I received so many warm comments of appreciation for my classes. Hopefully, every writer walked away with a new sense of how important it is to at least think about marketing their work through public speaking. And writers in West Virginia will now be more aware of their own voice in their stories, working to make them stronger.

I feel an unquestionable calling to give back to the state of my birth. So in some small way, I feel I did that this past weekend.

Blessings to you and yours.


Linda Wagoner said...

Hi, I love reading you blog and I have also enjoyed your book...looking forward to your next one on the "bestseller list". Is there anyway to get on a mailing list for writers' conferences. I always hear about them too late. Thanks for any information.

Pamela King Cable said...

Thanks for the compliment on my blog! And so glad you enjoyed Southern Fried Women. We'll keep our fingers crossed on the novel, but thanks for your best wishes.

I wish there were a mailing list for writers' conferences, and there very well may be one ... but none that I'm aware of. I just keep track of my favorite conferences, knowing the time of year they're usually sceduled. I used to google "writing conferences." You can learn a lot that way. And just by Internet surfing, reading other author's blogs and web sites will clue you in as well. I prefer conferences in NC and states close to me, but I'll not hesitate to go anywhere if I think it will be worth it.

Good luck!

El Presidente said...


Thanks so much for the wonderful review of our conference. We were glad to play hosts to you and Michael and hope to see you again in the future.


Ingrid said...

I absolutely loved your workshop, and I have been very inspired since the conference by things that you said. My 'passions' are my faith, my country and my family. I had pretty much stopped writing about any of them, feeling that they weren't lofty enough for anyone to read. You also mentioned critique groups. Not going into great detail, but I have sent 3 articles off since the conference to women's Christian magazines, including one that was about both my faith and my country. I guess you sort of gave me the permission I needed to just be me. Thank you!
God Bless,

Pamela King Cable said...

Thanks again, Ingrid! You keep going strong with your writing! Believe in yourself and know I wish you the every great blessing.