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Ever wonder what it's like to be in that moment between struggling artist and published author? Read on and find out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What A Difference A Year Makes

(Picture from the LDStorymakers 2012)

            I just returned from LDStorymakers 2014 and the thought that came to mind at the end of the conference was about how much my situation has changed during the last year. And since this blog is about my journey as an author I felt that I should comment on that.
            At this same time last year, I attended the 2013 conference as an author in search of a publisher. My manuscript for The Gathering had already been turned down by Covenant and I had sent it off to Cedar Fort the previous month.
            Of course, that quickly changed. Soon after I returned home I received the notice from Cedar Fort that they wanted my book. Yahoo! I was going to be a bona fide published author. My dream had finally come true.
            Jump forward to the Storymakers 2014 and I am surprised to find that much of the experience has changed. Most of it reflects a change within myself and my new situation as a published author.
            For one, I almost didn’t attend the conference. And don’t get me wrong, I love the Storymakers event. These are great people putting together three days of activities intended to recharge the emotional batteries of the attendees and educate each of us on how to become even better writers. The need for me to continue my marketing efforts with The Gathering had led me to consider skipping it this year. Between my wife reminding me that I enjoyed the conference too much to miss it and the opportunity to do some marketing while I was in Utah I was eventually convinced to attend.
            I’m glad I changed my mind. It is too easy to get caught up with all the work that is required as a published author. Once in awhile, we need to take a weekend off to enjoy the ride. Spend some time hobnobbing with our fellow authors. Meet a few fans and talk about our books. After all, isn’t this what we day-dreamed about doing before we were published?
            Another big difference for me was the First Chapter contest. Or should I say the lack of the contest for me. During the last three years I have eagerly looked forward to this competition. It gave me a chance to work on new projects and get vital input on the stories themselves. The truth is I like making stuff up and this was a perfect outlet for my newly hatched darlings.
            As they announced the winners for 2014 I made an important connection. The First Chapter contest was a primer for unpublished authors. It prepares them for their experience in the publishing world. As a published author I am participating in a much bigger competition. I send in queries and usually the first three chapters. My judges are the agents and editors in the industry. The prizes for winning are book contracts.
            All of a sudden, I didn’t feel so bad about not participating—because, I am. Just on the next level.
            Not everything about the conference has changed for me. I still attend the classes and learn how to improve my skills as an author. I still get the chance to meet my heroes in the literary world and talk about our common love of writing. I still walk away from the experience feeling uplifted and ready to face another year as an author. And most importantly, I still get the opportunity to talk with the wonderful friends I’ve made during previous conferences.

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