In the past sixty days, I’ve attended two fantastic writers’ events. The first was the LA Writer’s Conference 2015 Imagination: The Fiction Writer’s Life. Here are my top takeaways:
1. “Know that agents and publishers are always looking for your work.” Ruth Kline ~ Boot Camp Pitch Class
2. “Post Content Era – Hollywood wants you coming to them with a fan base.” Brandon Easton~ Workshop: Super Heroes to Fantasy Heroes
3. Consider first self-publishing in e-book format~ exposure to larger potential fans.
4. Check out Publishers’ Market~ Information on format & agents.
5. Seeing and hearing Nikki Giovanni in person can now be crossed off my bucket list.
LA Writer’s Conference Opening Keynote Speaker, Margaret Stohl led to me the second event. As I sat entertained by her speech, she abruptly said a word that jolted, “YALLWEST.” My brain wondered YALL what? Judging by the confused expressions on other writers’ faces, I was not the only one unaware of YALLWEST. Margaret quickly explained that the upcoming event would be a young adult author and book festival in Santa Monica, the first of its kind on the west coast. She and Melissa de la Cruz are the co-creators of YALLFEST ( the largest young adult book festival in the US) hosted exclusively in South Carolina.
On the first day of YALLWEST, the line to the entrance was a city block long swimming with the energy of writers and young adult literature fans from allover the Southland. When the gates opened, we stepped onto the campus of Santa Monica High School. Registration tents, food trucks and volunteers in blue shirts greeted us. Like an alien thankful to see the mother ship, I headed for the area offering free coffee. Caffeine fuels creativity, well at least it does for me. Now I was ready to bask in the fun literature buzz that flowed across the campus.
Here are my takeaways from YALLWEST:
1. Margaret Stohl and Melissa de la Cruz rock!!!! YALLWEST was well organized, had tons of great freebies, wonderful volunteers & food trucks…
2. Santa Monica knows how to host a lit festival. Well done!! ((APPLAUSE))))
3. My favorite YA authors (Veronica Roth, Libba Bray, Margaret Stohl, and Danielle Paige to name just a few) are beyond gracious. These ladies signed autographs for hours, spoke on multiple panels, dressed in costumes and ate pizza with fans.
4. YA literature is fighting for diversity and gender equity. Let’s keep it up until books are no longer deemed for girls or boys!
5. A reminder that often times the path to creative success can be rocky.
I can’t wait for next year! I plan to attend both of these events again!