Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Editors, Agents, and Bunnies - Oh My!

Even though it was Easter weekend, the Great Lakes Chapter of ACFW enjoyed a great day of education and fellowship in Lapeer, Michigan. Thanks to our gracious host Judy Eick, we met at the Past Tense Cider Mill to meet with Splickety Prime editor Sarah Grimm and Natasha Kern Literary Agency agent Sue Brower. 

Sarah helped us not only understand the concept of flash fiction (stories in less than 1,000 words), she also talked about how we can use it to improve our novels (and even help promote them!). It's also a great opportunity to practice all aspects of fiction writing.

"Flash fiction lets you practice your whole skill set," she said. "Writing, editing, revising in one short story."

It's also a great way to break through the writer's block. "Creativity begets creativity," said Sarah. Are you stumped in a scene? Write a flash fiction story - once the creative juices start flowing, they'll keep moving into your novel!

You can even take those stories you used to break the block to make a little money. Splickety publishes three flash fiction magazines, and they're always looking for gripping stories (in 1,000 words or fewer). You can learn more about their themes and deadlines here.

After a great lunch and some socialization, Sue Brower shared some tough-love advice, as well as industry information. Here are a few tidbits from Sue:

* If you haven't published yet, your #1 job is to write. Spend 90% of your time writing and 10% on social media.
* Don't quit your day job - you're not just competing against other novelists. You're fighting for attention with novels, TV, Pintrest, Facebook, and Candy Crush Saga.
* As a client, you have a responsibility to your agent. Make sure you communicate well so your agent can advocate for you.
* Sue hasn't read an unsolicited query in 18 months! With so many writers out there, she (and other agents as well) only responds to people she's met or who have been referred to her.

GREAT NEWS! If you were in Lapeer last weekend, Sue said that's an official meet! You didn't have to spend thousands of dollars and multiple days at a conference - most of us spent a few hours in the car and $25 for the chance to meet an industry professional.

Sue Brower and Joy Avery Melville even got to meet the Easter Bunny!
With two speakers, three guests, and six members, it was a successful and enjoyable event!

Next Up:

May 1-3 - Writer's Retreat - Shanty Creek Resort: Two nights away to write, write, write! The all-inclusive price includes meals and lodging. To reserve your spot, click here.

June 6 - Meet & Eat - Lansing: Featuring Kathleen Rouser talking about Time Management and Toastmaster Judy Eick showing us how to speak well in front of a crowd. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m., location to be determined