Review – Las Vegas Writers Conference

The Henderson Writers Group presented the Las Vegas Writers Conference (LVWC). Both entities have a website for prospective attendees and membership information.

This writer has not attended other writing conferences in the United States or Canada. Therefore, I have nothing to compare the structure, individual classes, or the presenting organization.

Yet, I feel that the structure is well organized and monitored for operational glitches. 

I had attended the LVWC in person at the Tuscany Suites and Casino on East Flamingo Road in 2018. That attendance was during a whirlwind cross-country tour visiting states and people who affected my life. I labeled it “The Radical Book Tour.”

The presentation this year was different as it required a virtual framework. This Zoom presentation followed the COVID-inspired 2020 conference. Forced into electronic isolation by the pandemic, conference-goers virtually attended a well-run, information-filled gathering of writers, editors, and marketing professionals. 

It gave me a chance to develop my craft and the required marketing of my written books. This conference provided a respite of freedom to attend without traveling America.

Note that this conference is nationally recognized. Many returning speakers and literary professionals present it. Its support by the National Endowment for The Arts and Endowment for The Humanities is a partial endorsement. Other supporters: 

· Nevada Arts Council & Humanities Offices

· The Harris & Harris Law Firm 

· Zappos for Good

· Clark County Credit Union, and

· The Ugly Cat Press.

Looking upon the Home Page of LVWC.com, the viewer sees a layout of instruction and professional assistance:

· Workshops

· First Page Reads

· Pitch Sessions

· Blue Pencil Reviews

· A Thursday Masterclass, and

· A daily three-tiered class structure.

The 3-tier class structure broke into segments of Craft, Marketing, and Publishing. In each element – depending upon attending writer interest – numerous practicing professionals across – and in – the publishing industry offer their unique expertise.

It is impossible to view all the classes offered. Each fifty-minute segment monitored by HWG members provided ample time for question-and-answer periods at the class end. But the attendee does not worry because each class offering is recorded. As part of the general registration, video replay is provided for the entire three-day session a few days after the event closes.

Thursday, the conference opened with an introduction and followed by a separately funded Master Class. I opted to watch and listen this year to Latoya C. Smith – The Do’s and Don’ts of Writing. Crafting that First Draft. There is a discount for all members of the Henderson Writers Group. However, the material presented in three hours (9-to-Noon) is well worth the $75 non-discounted fee.

My remaining schedule looked like this:

Thursday:

2:30-3:20: Let’s Talk Street Team, Book Reviewers, and More – Angela Anderson

(Note: Due to a previous Zoom national hacking incident, they took extreme monitoring IP addresses for potential hacking incidents. It was unfortunate that my address and email account was selected for serial removal. Their service bots blocked my email address from further use. The Henderson Writers Group administrators worked diligently to return my service address. Finally, they recommended using a different email address to get around the blockage. I missed two classes. But I’ll catch up with the video replays sent this week.) 

Friday: 

9:00-9:50:  Adapting Material for TV & Film – Brad Schreiber

10:00-10:50: Author Platform & Branding for Fiction Writers – Saritza Hernandez

11:00-11:50: Online Media Kits – Gregory A. Kompes

2:00-2:50: Hybrid Publishing: A New Path to Literary Success – Dr. De’Andrea Matthews

3:00-3:50: The Dreaded Numbers: Using data and research to improve your book sales. – Amy Collins

4:00-14:50: Books, Books, And More Books…Marketing and PR 101 – Angela Anderson

Saturday:

0900-0950: Get Seen: Book marketing and promotion in 15 minutes a day. – Amy Collins

1000-1050: It’s a Jungle Out There: How to navigate ‘the’ Amazon – Jami Carpenter

1100-1150: Adapting Material for TV & Film – Brad Schreiber (Repeat for interest)

2:00-2:50: The Ten-Level Customer Pathway – Dr. De’Andrea Matthews

3:00-3:50: How to Polish Your Scripts Tight & Right – Danny Manus

4:00-4:50: Let’s Talk Street Team, Book Reviewers, And More – Angela Anderson

The highlighted classes were selected by choice. I have worked with two of the listed instructors outside of LVWC. Both listed ladies worked on my Constable Outreach 35 (CO35) Project: Ms. Amy Collins and her associates provided a book and project assessment, consulting on marketing possibilities; and Ms. Jami Carpenter edited the CO35 – first and limited edition – for republication to the current second edition.

I learned much during this three-day conference. It is evidenced by thirty pages of notes on college-ruled binder paper. The above ladies filled in some of my questions from my queries based on the entire CO35 publishing process.  

Brad Schreiber is a “writer in all media, as well as producer, executive, director, consultant, and actor. In television, he created the series North Mission Road, which ran for six seasons on tru-TV, based on his book Death in Paradise.” 

I got from Brad’s presentation the most significant phrase: “Do something nice for someone else.” (In my notes, I wrote it as a question.) What I gathered from his discussion was that when people help others succeed, you succeed. “Offering something, first,” was another gem. In creative circles, helping someone move ahead can be a later lifeline for the giving person. (None of these concepts is foreign to me. It is just refreshing hearing it when least expected.)

Ms. Sarizta Hernandez is a literary agent at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency.  Her self-professed love for romance and science fiction novels is away from my genre. But I am interested in the lens through which differing agencies look upon their acceptance policy.

Saritza discussed the area I am struggling with now: Building a platform for branding my book products and attracting a reading public. She discussed visibility and reach. (Enrolled in another Platform and Book Launch course, my sensitive ear focused more pointedly.) She had my attention!   

Gregory A. Kompes (MFA, MS Ed.), is the “founder of The Writer Workshop, has written Circuitous Course, Suddenly Psychic, Messages from The Three Sisters, Tamburlaine, Sky Pirates,” and more. His subject was in the development of an Author Media Kit. 

Building my website has encompassed a Media page – recommended by every book marketing guru. I selected this fifty-minute session to compare the views of others who advocate for the availability of all sorts of author information.

Ms. Angela Anderson is an Atlanta-based “literary and editorial services professional with a deep passion for all things literary, marketing, and event planning.”

Her discussion of teams in promoting books was unique to my thought. But thinking about it deeply, I realize that each customer – the purchaser of ‘my’ book – wants a more friendly relationship and to be part of something. (After all, they spent their hard-earned money; took the time to follow you before buying; is time-invested in the thought process and knows – deep down, time is money!)

I wondered what I would learn. Here are some points:

§ “Street teams” – a term I never associated with fiction products. 

§ Identify by returns from email blasts who are interested in receiving your newsletter or social media posts.

§ Advance readers, Beta Readers, and surveyed public will tell you what they want to read.

(I admit here that as I review both of Ms. Angela’s classes, I’ll better understand how my thought needs to be ‘outside of the box.’) 

That’s my first written take of what I learned. And more of what I need to know. On reviewing the supplied videos, I am sure there will be more about which to write.

Thanks for reading.

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