Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference 2019
Note: I know I’m tardy on this review. I wanted to make sure it was comprehensive before I published this.
From August 16-18, the wife and I attended the Greater Los Angeles Writers Conference and had a blast. There were a few different tracks regarding different aspects of writing: fiction, nonfiction, editing, and publishing.
The first day started off at noon with registration/orientation. That jumped right into a motivational speech from Desiree Duffy of Black Chateu PR.
That went right into a seminar by author Keith Ogorek on the four ways to get published. There’s more options in this age than just print-on-demand and traditional publishing. I found it informative.
After that was an agent panel on how to pitch at the conference. I liked the pitch sessions for this conference because they’re longer than average. The paid edit sessions for your first twenty pages were about 20 minutes and the pitch sessions were ten minutes. I pitched on Saturday and got two requests for full reads and one partial request. Not too shabby.
While the agent panel was fine, the microphones were feeding back severly which gave me a headache for the remainder of the day. It was good I wasn’t pitching that day.
From here, the tracks diverged greatly. We opted to attend author and editor Helga Schier’s editing speech where she shared her “sticky note method.”
The next class we skipped out on to have dinner since there weren’t any good classes in that slot.
We came back at 7:00 PM for cocktail hour. That was a doozy, so I’m saving that for my next blog.
We started Day 2 with Art Holcomb’s breakfast roundtable. Admission was $10 per person and we got to freely ask questions about the industry and listen to his speech on the industry. He offers a coaching services with different classes. My wife bought the $200 class on how to write a novel and then edit it in two passes. She’d finding it very informative so far.
We then attended Whitney Davis’s class on writing good openers. She was very entertaining to listen to and gave us some great pointers on opening our stories which also translates well to the pitch.
At this point, we went to lunch on our own. We were not informed that our three-day admission included lunch on the balcony and this was not in our literature. I made this complaint known to the organizers.
After this was a speech by literary agent Ken Sherman. Sherman has consistently attended most of the conferences put on by the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society and only takes paid queries through conferences.
I attended my three pitch sessions while my wife attended the POEM method of marketing by Keith Ogorek and 10 Steps to Building Your Story by Art Holcomb.
After that we skipped out on the last classes of the day because none of them seemed interesting (and we were fatigued) and went to dinner.
On the final day of the conference, there were three Great Beginnings events: one for fiction, nonfiction, and screenplays. A panel of agents, editors, and authors would read aloud the first two pages of a manuscript and give feedback. This is a great opportunity to get feedback from industry professionals. Back in 2016, I had attended one of these events at a mini-conference hosted by Chuck Sambuchino who is a frequent contributor to Writer’s Digest and the Writer’s Market catalogs. As he would put it, “This event is like crack for writers!” I will have more to say on this in a future blog entry.
Lastly came the farewell keynote. We skated out of the conference after this in order to sightsee more of LA before leaving town. On the way out, the conference had a table set up with thousands upon thousands of free books for anybody to take. This was flippin’ awesome! These books were available because whenever a literary agent retired or died, they left their book collections to the conference. We left the conference with a banker’s box and a totebag loaded with books.
As a whole, I thought the conference was a worthwhile event to attend. After having been through this, Chuck’s mini-conference, and Leviosa 2016, I think the only conferences I’ll be attending will be ones more heavy on the pitch sessions/agent selections (such as the Writer’s Digest Conference) or ones with really unique classes such as Fyrecon.