Monday, September 10, 2012

York Festival of Writing: Mulling It Over

Phew, what a weekend! After two wonderful days at the York Festival of Writing, lots of great conversations with writers, co-running a workshop along with being on a panel and giving a presentation, and  listening to some inspiring sessions . . . I'm exhausted. I arrived back to a hot and sweaty London late on Saturday night, and since then, I've been mulling over what I took away from the conference.

Writers are friendly people. Well, we already knew this, right? But the more I interact with writers in the real world, the more affirming it is. Since moving to London, rarely have I encountered strangers who smile and say hello! At this conference, that was the norm. And I loved it!

It's hard to get published - and it's hard once you are published - but failure can lead to success. Keynote speaker, best-selling author Jojo Moyes, detailed how her publishing journey has been full of highs and lows, and that the lows helped propel her towards the highs. Persistence really does make a difference.

More and more writers, traditionally published or not, are opening up to self-publishing. Two of my sessions focused on self-publishing, and I was pleased to see the attitude appears to be changing. It's no longer a last resort for the desperate, but a viable option alongside traditional publishing. Although the majority of conference participants were seeking the traditional route, it was nice that conference organisers didn't sideline the growing trend to self-publish.

It is possible to attend a writer's conference and not drink. Oh yes it is! Although I must admit, it's not by choice. :)

Above all, agents and editors are interested in the story. With all the worries about building a platform, writing the proper query, meeting submission guidelines, etc., it really does come down to the story.

And in other news, Sheri Larsen is celebrating! She's signed with Literary Agent Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary, and she's having a huge giveaway to celebrate -- including some of my books. The giveaway is open until September 27th. Winners will be announced on September 28th. Head over to take a look.

And in more news! Leigh T Moore has released a novel! Check out The Truth about Faking here. Congrats, Leigh.

Have a great week, everyone. I'll see you on Friday!


69 comments:

  1. I am so gutted I couldn't come to this - but hopefully next time! I want to be inspired! :D

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    1. It did inspire me... to continue on my journey as a self published author...lol! Talli was a great person to meet and learn from :)

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  2. Great to see you brought something away with you other than a headache, T. LOL! Seriously, how wonderful the writing community is when they support folk 100% despite never having met them. I am always in awe. My dream is to attend a conference at one time in my life, it must be great fun.

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  3. My Talli you are busy, take care and have a lovely week.

    Yvonne.

    PS:my blog don't or won't appear on IE FOR SOME REASON.

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  4. Glad you enjoyed the festival! Writers are a friendly bunch, and very supportive and helpful.

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  5. Yay!! You're back all safe and sound! The conference reads like it was most amazing and useful and vibrant! Thanks for sharing these observations too - lots to mull over (like publishing is still bloody scary but with added bits to it! LOL)! But no wine for you madam!!! :-)

    Take care
    x

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  6. Hi Talli - really enjoyed your workshop on self-publishing...gave me lots of food for thought and you were very honest about everything - much appreciated.

    Kerry

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    1. Thank you, Kerry! So pleased you found it helpful. I tried to keep it honest and real.

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  7. Sounds like a great weekend! Wish I could've been there!
    I've only met writers online so far, but have to agree that they're all the friendliest bunch ever!

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  8. Ugh. The paris suburbs sound a lot like london. I need me some writer friends in the real world, me thinks. Sounds like you had a lovely time in York! So excited for sheri and leigh!

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  9. Glad you enjoyed the conference. I find most writers are encouraging and supportive. The great thing about the world of books is there's always room for one more. Have a nice week!

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  10. Great post, Talli, and great to meet you in RL. I'm gathering all the festival posts in one place on my blog and have linked. Can we also use this one in the Festival book, pretty please?

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  11. The aspect of self-publishing has changed so much. Ironically that's how most authors did it a hundred years ago. Now it's becoming respectable again.

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  12. Congrats to Sheri! I remember the not-drinking days, but all worth it in the end!

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  13. So glad you enjoyed yourself - and that you're home safe and sound. I may have to come here with you next year. It sounds such great fun and meeting other writers is always a joy. I always come away feeling inspired. York is a beautiful place - although having been to Harrogate twice now for the crime festival I hardly saw any of it but the hotel and train station!

    I reckon you'd be extremely inspiring to listen to as I know how much I enjoy it when we meet. Can't wait to see you next week - cake at the ready, and coffee :)

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  14. Failure can (and will) lead to success, sometimes successes we didn't even know we were looking for.

    Thank you for sharing in my fun, Talli!! I love having you on board.

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  15. Glad you had a good weekend Talli! We all learn something from each other when writers get together, don't we? That's what I love about conferences etc. Sadly it wll probably be a while until I am able to attend another one but I still remember the excitement of meeting so many other writers...

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  16. What fun. And how nice to have a friendly community too.

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  17. I've only been to York for a hen party, but I absolutely loved that city! And it sounds like the conference was wonderful. So glad you had a great time!

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  18. Hi, Talli! Sounds like you had a great time. CONGRATS to both Sheri and Leigh!

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  19. Given all the great advice...I better go work on the book.

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  20. Sounds like a wonderful weekend, Talli. Well done with your sessions! You're spreading the word. It's so nice to find a friendly community.

    Now you've deserved that glass of vino... ;-)

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  21. I agree - writers are some of the friendliest people to be around! Love seeing my friends at conferences. And I love seeing the self publishing stigma change a bit. :)

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  22. One writer told me that persistence mattered more than talent. In a funny way, it makes a lot of sense. The best of course is to have a combination of both.

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  23. I think that's the biggest takeaway I've had in the last year. Every big breakthrough towards success is followed by another step that you want to climb. That realization has helped me to be a little more chill about the big picture.

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  24. Sounds like it was awesome! And i think it just comes down to that writing is hard, no matter what stage you're at

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  25. Sounds like you had a great time at the festival! Hope you have some time to rest up a little bit! Congrats to Leigh and Sheri! Julie

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  26. I'm glad you had such a great time, Talli. I wholeheartedly agree with you about writers being friendly - it never ceases to amaze me how helpful and generous they are. I'm also happy to hear what still matters the most is the story. I think it is too easy for writers to feel overwhelmed by social media. What matters the most is the writing.

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  27. I just came back from extended weekend at a SCBWI writer's retreat with intense revising sessions with agents and editors. Fantastic, friendly, inspiring and hard. Yes, everything you mention is true about writers. And why I'm happy to meet so many!

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  28. So great you had a good time, Talli! I always enjoy myself at writer's conferences and literary festival. I was at the Cheltenham festival and few years back and it was fab, I even met Judi Dench!

    Jai

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  29. Sounds like a great weekend, and good to know you met some lovely friendly writers in person too.

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  30. Sounds like you had fun! Thanks for sharing, Talli!

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  31. Some time it would be great if you pointed us towards some self publishing tips. Have a great week!

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  32. Very interesting for me to read about a writers festival. I have never been to one and after reading your post I hope one day to attend one. :-)

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  33. Great lessons, Talli! Love #1 -- writers are really nice people. The more I interact with writers in the Blogosphere, I'm realizing other writers are there to cheer you on even though you may write a completely different topic (eg. movie reviews). Wonderful post!

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  34. I do love writers' conferences. So many writers think once they're published it will all be easy, but it's really lots of work then.

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  35. Thanks for posting about what you took from the festival! It sounds like it was a great event. :)

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  36. Fantastic points all around. Very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

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  37. Yes, writers are amazing and supportive and friendly and just generally cool people. Sounds like your festival was outstanding.

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  38. Thank you for sharing your observations with us! Sounds fun (despite the lack of drinking). ;)

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  39. I enjoy the optimism and fun nature you exude in these posts! And London gets the last two stops of The Beach Boys' World Tour to boot! ;)

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  40. Thanks for the super round up, Talli. The York Conf is so on my tick list for next year - I'll just have to hope you'll be giving another workshop then!

    Janice xx

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  41. Interesting to hear your take on it, Talli. My daughter, Vikki, went for the first time partly to have a 1-1 with a couple of agents - and that was the best thing she could have done. Waiting to hear all about it when she comes over one evening after work, and has had time to recover!

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  42. Ah, you left early! Was wondering why I couldn't find you at the Gala Dinner! It was awesome to finally meet you in person, and I did enjoy your talk on self-publishing. It is a most viable option today and should not be discounted! I'll be posting some highlights from the Festival over on your blog, including a round-up of your talk on Thursday.

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  43. P.S.: Congratulations to Sheri and Leigh!

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  45. Writers are indeed a friendly bunch. It helps because we drink a lot of coffee and wine and such. Sometimes its impossible to stop talking.

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  46. I have always found that the best part of writing conferences is the time spent in the hotel bar. :)

    P.S. Hope you're doing well, Talli. Sorry for having been such a stranger. It's been quite a year for me, good and bad.

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  47. Thanks for sharing, Talli! I hope to attend a conference someday soon!

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  48. No wonder you're so tired Talli - take care but it sounds fabulous.

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  49. Sounds like you had a fun and uplifting time... even without wine. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

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  50. Aw, too bad you couldn't drink. Lol. Thanks for the snippets of advice! Especially on the power of persistence.

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  51. Sounds like an absolutely fabulous time you've had. Are you off coffee too? x

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  52. Thanks for the highlights on the conference, it sounds like it was great! And I love that tip on agents and editors being interested in the story above all, so true.

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  53. Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend, Talli! What great speakers and advice.

    Nas

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  54. Talli! Thank you so much for the shout-out! ((squeeze)) These are great, true lessons from the workshop. I've found writers to be the most supportive people, and it's always reassuring to hear about highs and lows. Very cool that everyone's opening up more to indie publishing--I know that's a fact! whee~ :o) <3 <3

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  55. You've been busy! It sounds like a blast!

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  56. I think that one reason strangers don't say hello to each other is because of fear; suspicion is another. In Chicago if a stranger says hello to me, it's usually be he/she is trying to hit on me/convert me/get money from me. So if someone does say hello just to be nice, I automatically have my guard up.
    But those are some great lessons that you got from the conference! I especially agree with the part about failure. I've read a lot of stories about writers who struggled for years before they finally succeeded, and it helps to know that others went through the same thing.

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  57. Great info. Thanks for sharing. The self-publishing route sounds scary, though it also sounds like a major learning experience.

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  58. I wish I could have been there, but thanks for telling us all about the conference.

    I'm off to enter the giveaway now.

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  59. It's so nice hanging with other writers and talking shop. No one else in the world understands what we go thru. lol
    And always great to see self-pub stigma is being lifted. Thanks to all those fearless writers who paved the pat for us and made their own destiny.

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  60. Woo! I'm so happy for Sheri and Leigh. :) And neat that you got to go to this conference. Yep, writers ARE friendly! We like to talk about writing. :) And that's interesting that the "stigma" of self-pubbing is gradually changing.

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  61. Great take-away information. Thanks so much for passing it along. It is nice to read such uplifting words about publishing.

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  62. That's a lot of wisdom :-)

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  63. Blogger just ate my comment so will cut this short. Attended my writer's festival on the weekend too. Awesome.

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  64. Great points! Seems no matter where we are in our writing journey there's always something to learn, isn't there?

    Happy weekend!

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  65. I love writers conferences. I want to go to another one super bad...

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Coffee and wine for all!