January 9: Center for Fiction Writers’ Conference

Over the last few years, I’ve been a guest speaker at a number of excellent writers’ conferences and other publishing trade events, mostly to discuss how authors and publishers can put online social media tools to effective use. But I’ve also been thinking about other topics I’d like to see covered—topics that move beyond the two (very important) questions that draw most aspiring writers to conferences (how do I become a better writer? how do I become an agent?) to address the concerns of those of us who are lucky enough to be on the path towards making a career out of writing.

writers-conference.jpgBasically, a conference for writers who may already have an agent (or are awfully close to having one), or might even have a book deal, and are asking themselves, “How can I make sure this book does well enough that I’ll have the opportunity to publish another?”

The good folks at Manhattan’s Center for Fiction, where I’ve been curating a reading series for the last year or so, shared my enthusiasm for such an event, and thus we’re presenting the Center for Fiction Writers’ Conference on Saturday, January 9. It’s a full day of publishing industry insights for just $170—and for those of you in the New York area, it also includes a free month’s access to the Center’s writing studios, which offer a quiet midtown location where you can concentrate on your craft.

Highlights of the day include a keynote speech from former Random House editor-in-chief Daniel Menaker; a frank discussion about what it takes to make self-publishing work with authors Hilary Thayer Hamann and Maryann McFadden, Spiegel & Grau’s Cindy Spiegel, and agent Larry Kirshbaum, and a panel on “what editors want to see now” that includes representatives from HarperCollins, Graywolf Press, and FSG’s Sarah Crichton Books. Altogether we’ve got more than two dozen speakers for nine separate presentations; take a look at the full lineup and see if we’re talking about the sort of things you want to learn. Space is limited, so you’ll want to sign up soon… or, if you know somebody else who’s committed to making it as a writer, this conference could make a great gift… I’m just saying!

I’ll try to tell you a bit more about the topics and the guest speakers between now and the end of the year, but I really hope you’ll come and get the full benefit of our guests’ collected expertise. It’s going to be something special.

17 December 2009 | events |

Writers Finding Themselves a City to Live In

jon-armstrong.jpgYou might remember about a month ago, when I hosted a discussion at Borders with Jeff VanderMeer, Jeffrey Ford, and Geoff Manaugh of BLDGBLOG about the intersections of visionary architecture and science fiction/fantasy. Well, SF novelist Jon Armstrong was there to record the proceedings for his podcast, If You’re Just Joining Us, and now everyone can listen in. It’s a little over a half-hour in length, and although I sometimes felt a little hesitant in my questions (and I can really hear it listening to the playback), the three authors had great answers and will give you a lot to think about.

I hope you’ll track down their books, and you should also visit Jon’s website, where you can get a look at his novel, Grey, which I read two years ago at the prompting of a mutual colleague and thought was fabulous the same way I loved the Frederick Pohl/C.M. Kornbluth collaborations growing up.

17 December 2009 | uncategorized |

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