Saturday, April 20, 2013

Be there and be square

Sometimes I feel like I'm riding the crest of a wave -- even when West Michigan isn't in the middle of a 100-year flood. I'm referring to the rising tide of would-be authors.
         "Celebrate the Mitten," Kent District Library's second annual writers' conference, was a sell-out today, with 200 people gathering at the Cascade Library to hear Michigan authors such as Mardi Link and D.E. Johnson talk about their craft, and publishing representatives from Arbutus Press and StoryLook Design offer advice for improving their work. I was pleased to be included on the panel with such talented, and successful writers.
        But I was also impressed by the writers who filled the audience: humorist Myron Kukla,  former Press food writer Kathy Carrier,  animal advocate Janet Vormitag, writing coach Tricia MacDonald. There was a poet trying to sort out how panels on copyediting and covers applied to her. A Pakistani filmmaker passed out DVDs of his latest work. A scientist said he needs an editor to help with words; a suited businessman easily won best dressed; a woman with a PhD in English bemoaned the lack of editing. They brought folders stuffed with their stories and drawings. One woman said she had written a musical, complete with script and songs, and just needed a theater to try it out. Another was trying to promote her beautiful hardcover book about the history of a lighthouse.
         I like to think the speakers provided some encouragement and answers for these hopeful scribes.  But none of us could offer the secret handshake for getting their creative treasures published and into the hands of the readers they so desperately desire.
        At the end of the day, the panelists gathered to sign and sell their books. Three people in a row asked if I could take credit cards. I don't. But Mardi Link plugged a quarter-size white plastic square into the top of her phone and in an instant she was doing business. So I learned something too. If I'm going to stay ahead of this flood of talent, I gotta be square.


  1. Tricia is Square! I'm not .. .yet. It was a great conference. Thank you KDL You were awesome Sue. I learned a lot and now I want a book trailer. And I will need one if I ever move :)

  2. Thanks for this, Sue, and thank you so much for being a part of it. We're sorting through the very thoughtful evaluations of the event and already have some great ideas for next year! -- Morgan Jarema, KDL communications assistant

  3. Sue

    Thanks for taking your time to teach us how to share what we do at the Writer's Conference. Love the Red Shoe cookies.

    Chet Zelasko