Saturday, April 20, 2013
Be there and be square
"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.
Posted by Sue Merrell at 11:49 PM