Carolyn Wing Greenlee with guide dog Hedy and Mary at UCLA
It’s a spiritual experience, our Women Writing the West annual conference. Seeing old friends and making new ones is enriching beyond words. Among these women, and a few men, too, we make friendships bound through our love of writing. We share writing experiences, our successes, our hopes and dreams.
This year’s conference was held on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles, a departure from previous conferences.
Throughout Friday and Saturday, inspiring panels and workshops broadened our world of writing as we learned what agents are looking for, what makes publishers notice our work, a wonderful session on the evolution of transportation in the west and the role women played. We learned about California’s untapped treasures, we were given the latest in marketing techniques. We all dream about having our work appear on screen and we were given practical approaches in presenting our work to producers. And finally, we were introduced to refreshing creative writing skills.
As we normally do each year, registrants have an opportunity to have one-on-one 10-minute appointments with agents, publishers, marketing specialists and a books-to-screen specialist. This year I coordinated that event. Again, I was reminded of the old saying, "the more you put into something, the more you get out of it." Working on the logistics of this task forced me to learn and work with spreadsheets beyond what I had previously learned. I worked with a great team and was gratified by their dedication and enthusiasm.
My own appointments with several of these experts helped refine my strategies for when my next book, Tenderfoot, is released within the next few months. Today’s marketing is so much more technical than when my last two books were published. Public appearances are still important, but marketing on-line is a vital piece of the process now.
Delightful speakers are always a part of the conference: the Friday evening buffet, Saturday luncheon celebrating the 2009 WILLA Literary Awards finalists, and Saturday dinner celebrating the WILLA winners.
Two tours were offered as "extras." I participated in the Friday morning bus tour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills. What fun! I couldn’t go on the Sunday tour–Getty Center Exhibition–because of my early afternoon flight home.
Many among the membership are successful writers with several books published, others have only one or two, some have never published a word. Yet all are welcomed with the kindness and warmth of a true sisterhood.
My heartfelt thanks to this year’s committee for a memorable conference. For more information on Women Writing the West, please visit www.womenwritingthewest.org