Sail to Success 2016, Pt 2.
Now the great thing about workshops like this and Superstars is that you get to interact with the faculty, who in most cases are people who are where we want to be. This time I was sort of faculty, but also a student, and I was able to sign up to have lunch or dinner with a faculty member. Since the class was small this year, we were actually given two to eat with. Since I had excursions for Wednesday and Thursday, and didn’t want to miss out on the meetings, I tried to get either Tuesday at lunch or any dinner. I was able to schedule Eleanor Wood at lunch on Tuesday, which left Eric. Eric didn’t want to schedule dinners, since he was on the cruise with his wife and wanted that time for them, but he did schedule to meet up in the meeting area right after lunch on Tuesday.
I didn’t go into the meeting with Eleanor trying to get her as my agent. Well, not really, though there was always the hope, since she is a big name in the business. I talked with her for the entire hour, getting information on agents and publishers, like how my ratings on Amazon and Goodreads probably wouldn’t mean much, since it is well known that people get lots of fake reviews on those platforms. I don’t, but there is no way to prove that. And how my total sales numbers and money made would be more important in trying to sell to a publisher who likely never heard of me, but how to prove that. Well, I have 1099s from the end of the years as well as Amazon payment and sales reports from each month, so I had that covered. I led with my strongest selling point, that I was not a one book wonder and had produced over thirty books. We discussed the fantasy from which the excerpts I was introducing to the workshop came from, and other ideas I had. I won’t go into details about what came from that meeting. Suffice it to say that I was hopeful at the end. And without a workshop like Sail to Success I never would have gotten that opportunity.
I met with Eric right after, and mainly had questions about collaborations and publishing in general. Mike Resnick was in the room, and soon joined in. Interesting conversations, especially with Eric giving his opinion that while most collaborations went well for him, there were some nightmares. It gave me a whole new appreciation for the process. Then on to classes: Query Letter and Contracts; Developing Property Rights; Working with Editors/Publishers/Agents. I had been to these lectures before, but as always, new information came out. Dinner, and then I was up with Doing it Yourself: Self Publishing Your Book. I had written a book about this topic, and made several presentations in the past, so I basically winged it. I think I did fine, and presented most of what I had wanted to put out there going in. I had forgotten a few of the points I wanted to cover, but nothing big. After that were the last two lectures of the day: Working with Magazines and Anthologies; and Getting Past The Magazine Slush Reader. Then we were through for the day. I did a little writing, then to bed, to wake up to the sun and another island, Nassau.
That morning I had signed up for the glass bottom boat excursion to one of the reefs. Cool trip past all of the sights of the harbor, including our ship next to another titan of the sea. The guide pointed out the houses of the stars, including houses of Opra, Tom Cruise, Robert De Nero, and the house once occupied by Elvis. This island reminded me a lot of where I grew up in Florida, the houses of rich people (which we weren’t), the large boats. Then we moved on top of the reef, getting a look at schools of colorful fish that cruise this wildlife refuge.
I had the first session, Using Modern Tools to Sell Your Own Book, an area in which I had some expertise, though I definitely didn’t know everything. After that we had The Professional Approach to Writing, followed by The 1632 Universe and How To Write For It. After dinner Jim Minz, Senior Editor at Baen Books, held his critique session. First he raked me over the coals for using non standard formatting, while preaching the Chicago Manual of Style (which I have since bought), then got into how much he liked my story. I skipped the session on Tips To Increase Your Productivity, since I believe I have that covered, and met with Jim to talk about submissions to Baen. Again, I won’t go into detail, except to say I left that meeting feeling very good about the future. And then it was back to the cabin to do some more writing, then to bed.
There was a lot to do after the sessions on the ship, but I really didn’t feel up to it, and, while the cruise was a fun trip, it was business before everything else. I needed to get in bed in time to get enough sleep, since the sun was my alarm, and the sun waits for no one. Next: Sail To Success 2016, Part 3.
Also, with Christmas coming up, remember that I have a lot of books on Amazon for those getting new Kindles, including my latest release, Exodus: Machine War: Book 3: Death From Above, sitting on Amazon with 11 reviews and a 4.7 star average. The series has now hit 16 books across the two subseries and story collections, so if you want to jump into a long series, you might want to try this one.