ASJA Conference

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ASJA Conference

Postby pattyn » Thu Feb 22, 2007 2:04 pm

Will any of the rest of you be at the ASJA conference for non-fiction writers in New York this April? I went last year, and it was one of the most exciting and valuable conferences I've ever attended. I'll be going again this year.
- Patty Newbold
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Postby BarbaraSher » Fri Mar 02, 2007 11:30 pm

What did you like about it, Patty? I've never attended.
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Postby pattyn » Sun Mar 04, 2007 6:08 pm

My favorite session last year was First Pages, in which two professional readers read the first pages of a dozen non-fiction book proposals, and a panel of three agents and one editor responded as they would when flipping through a pile of submitted proposals -- what are their first impressions, does this book have a shot, would they look at additional pages or set it aside unread? It brought to life all that sage advice about not taking rejections personally. No two liked the same ones, no two gave the same reasons for liking or disliking a piece, their reasons weren't the ones I expected after reading all the proposal writing books. In fact, their reviews reminded me of the casting sessions I've done for training videos and first passes through resumes when 60 people apply for one job opening: darn near capricious, but not at all illogical. But it also suggested strategies for that first page -- get away from appealing universally and work at appealing instantly to the very sort of person who would champion my work and bring to the process strengths to complement my weaknesses. Maybe I'll submit my first page this year. My favorite 30 minutes was the one-on-one mentoring session with an ASJA member. I was paired with Gwen Moran, who was very encouraging and at the same time presented me with non-stop suggestions for improving my pitch. I scribbled them down as fast as I could, thinking Aha! at least once every three minutes, but by the time it hit, she'd already taken off down another helpful track. Gwen has a brilliant marketing mind and the heart of a writer. I was literally breathless when I left the room. I took a 3-hour writing class with Connie Hale, author of Sin and Syntax (a delightful book I'd already fallen in love with), a trio of editors she'd put together to work with us in small groups, and a gaggle of already very skillful writers looking to become even better. In other sessions, I got specifics on what constitutes a "platform" and on what elements must come together for a non-fiction book to become a best-seller (the real sort, not the freebies to get everyone to buy it on the same day sort). I traded technology tips with at least two dozen people. I got lots of feedback on my 20-second precis of my book and lots of suggestions for what to cover in it. The editors and agents in attendance all made themselves available throughout the event and were very frank with their advice. I chatted over three social events with 15 to 20 new through seasoned non-fiction authors. The keynote talk was about a book on Scrabble playing! I learned a lot about contract negotiation and what several of the major women's magazines are looking for. Now I want to qualify for membership, because the members-only day has such fascinating speakers lined up this year, including Jonathan Weiner, whose writing style and scientific topics just delight me. And because members get to do personal pitches to agents and editors. And it's all in a great hotel right next to Grand Central Station at the delicious end of April, a superb time to be in Manhattan (or Corfu -- it takes place during the next Scanner's Retreat).
- Patty Newbold
Director, Sher Success Teams
Marriage Education Author/Speaker - assumelove.com - enjoybeingmarried.com
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Postby Flacker » Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:02 pm

Hi Pattyn. Thanks for your informative and inspiring post. I just followed your link to the ASJA conference page and am really thinking about attending! Will you be going this year? Any body else out there going? It sounds phenomenal! :D
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Postby pattyn » Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:35 pm

I'll be there. If you decide to make the trip, please do let me know, so we can meet in person.
- Patty Newbold
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Marriage Education Author/Speaker - assumelove.com - enjoybeingmarried.com
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Postby Flacker » Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:26 am

I definitely will! By the way, what do you like to write? Did you go last year with an intention of specific editors you wanted to meet and/or see? Or, did you go with a more general sense of taking it all in? Sounds like you had a great experience either way!
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Postby pattyn » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:13 am

I went with a draft of a book proposal in hand. Very early in the day I learned enough that I didn't want to give this version to any editors or agents, but I continued to ask for advice regarding specific points from it. I write about marriage. You can see my take on the subject at http://www.assumelove.com While most therapists and authors address how we love our partners, my focus is on the skill of receiving love. With most marriage advice, your strategy for enjoying your marriage more becomes giving more love in hopes of receiving more in return. With mine, the payoff's more direct; you learn to receive more love first. Most of us, in response to receiving more love, will enthusiastically give more. Their strategy leads to the commonly held views that marriage is hard work and marriage is all about compromise. I think hard work is highly overrated as a route to happiness and compromise is a poor cousin to the third alternative solutions available to a married couple. But all their insights into how to give love better are extremely valuable to anyone motivated to be better at giving love because they've gotten better at receiving it. What do you write about?
- Patty Newbold
Director, Sher Success Teams
Marriage Education Author/Speaker - assumelove.com - enjoybeingmarried.com
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Postby Flacker » Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:37 pm

Very interesting. I checked out your Web site. It is a very fresh perspective and take on all things martial. Good for you. Seems like an untapped niche. I mostly write for magazines... some regional, a few national. I typically write travel stories and articles about outdoorsy/fitness topics since I live in Colorado and the state is ripe for subject matter. I'll definitely keep you posted if I register. Need to check the whole finance situation first! :)
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Postby pattyn » Tue Mar 13, 2007 3:21 pm

It takes a very special talent to write good travel articles. Do let me know if you decide to come.
- Patty Newbold
Director, Sher Success Teams
Marriage Education Author/Speaker - assumelove.com - enjoybeingmarried.com
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