The website of the historical fiction writer.

Winchester Writers’ Conference 2012

There comes a time in a writer’s life when you want to not only mingle with your partners in scribbling crime (if you’re a crime writer, if not then just partners in scribbling), both published and unpublished. Whilst you’re there it would also be handy to mix it with the Great and the Good of the Literary Agent and Publishing World (see how I use capitals there?) to show off your work, have one-to-one appointments, go to talks, pick up tips and generally have a good time. I bet you’re thinking ‘that’s brilliant! If only there was an event like that.’

Well don’t you worry because there is one: The Winchester Writers’ Conference. And it is brilliant.

For thirty two years this event has been helping new and unpublished writers learn about their craft, meet their fellows and get book deals. At the plenary address delegates were introduced to three writers who had secured agents and publishing deals the previous year at the conference. Very inspiring stuff.

I had one-to-one appointments with an author, an editor and an agent and all were very helpful. I had advice on the pitch letter I sent to them and learned the importance of why the book is unique. I also discovered the importance of not telling too much information in the first couple of pages (come on by soon for a post about that as I describe my attempts to tidy it up). All in all, despite having more work to do than I first thought, the meetings were very helpful and encouraging and I strongly suggest anyone going next year to get in early and book them (after I’ve sorted mine out, of course).

I also attended three talks. The first was about what rejection letters really mean and the important message to all who have had one is that the manuscript has been rejected, not you so don’t give up. After a very nice lunch I then went to a talk about writing Flash Fiction (very short stories) which was good fun and very engaging. There was also discussion on how images such as photographs can be useful for getting ideas and how twists can be very useful (when used properly). Flash fiction is also a very good way of practicing editing as you have to be ruthless when fitting into the word limit but that’s for another post! The final talk I went to discussed the various ways an author can publicise their book. This includes talks and readings at schools/libraries/community meetings, newspaper and radio interviews and being a guest at a book club. There were also tips on how to set up an ideal book launch. Although I’m not at that stage yet this information may come in useful one day. You never know…

I stayed on for a very nice evening meal. The good thing about these events is that you meet new people and the good thing about Winchester (and I’m sure other conferences) is that everyone is genuinely nice and helpful. By the time I arrived most of the seats were taken but the people I sat with were all very welcoming and interested in what I do. I enjoyed my time with them and wish them all the very best.

All in all this was a very helpful and inspiring day out where I learned a great deal, met up with friends and bought a book for my niece. I also went to the Awards Ceremony and discovered this: Not bad, eh?

So, I hope that’s inspired you all to sign up for next year (after I have, of course!) You will not regret it and will learn much (shame I still can’t navigate around Winchester though…)

One response

  1. I like the phrase ‘partners in scribbling crime’. I’m one of them.

    26/06/2012 at 8:29 am

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