Mt. Hermon Writer’s Conference was an experience I will never forget. I went into the week with hope but without expectations. I had questions about the market, hoped to learn more about the craft of writing, and wanted some professional unbiased critique. Of course I also hoped to possibly snag an agent but I knew my book, and I might not be ready for that yet.
Being set up with a Mt. Hermon buddy to email with before the conference and meet with up there was super helpful.
I was nervous about pitching. Every meal, you have the opportunity to sit at a table with an agent or editor of a publishing house. Everyone goes around the table and talks about what they are writing. My pitch went something like this:
” A young homeless woman thinks back on her life. How did living for the moment and partying turn into living on the streets? Will she find hope in the place she has always avoided.”
You are actually supposed to have a 30 second “elevator pitch” and 1-3 minute dinner table pitch, and a 10-15 minute pitch prepared. The morning of the conference I ran 7 miles and practiced saying my 10 minute pitch over and over as I ran. It was very helpful and I felt prepared.
I never got a chance to do my long pitch though. I had a specific agent in mind that I really hope to work with some day. She was there and read my proposal and first 20 pages. She likes my premise but wants me to work on the writing more. And after everything I learned at Mt. Hermon, I can see tons of ways to improve my writing. So I am excited!
I also don’t really see a place in the market for my book right now. Even if it was really well written it has to be marketable. For example, I heard about a woman who wrote 5 historical fiction books that would not sell for years and years. But guess what happened after Downton Abbey came out? She sold 5 books in a year! But they also say, if it’s a trend now – you’re too late. Mostly because it takes about 18 months for your book to actually be published.
I made some fantastic friends and learned a lot about writing and the market. The idea was reinforced that if you want to be a writer, you have to make time to write everyday. I came away believing that if I work hard, I have the tools to be a good enough writer to be published some day.
In the meantime, I learned a lot about freelance writing for magazines. I have felt ready to step back from Pampered Chef for a while, especially with the plan to go back to school next year. It is hard to do though because we are at a good place with our Dave Ramsey plan and Pampered Chef money would all go to savings, which would be fantastic! I just don’t feel the passion for it I had for the first 4 years. I have been praying for an answer that would allow me to make money while still staying home with the kids. I think freelance writing is the answer I have been looking for. And I never would have thought of it if I hadn’t gone to the conference.
I have a lot of specific things I learned that I could share about the craft of writing and also more about the market and publishing. Would you like me to share more?