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January 30, 2013

            It never fails that each week when I sit down to write my article for this web site, something has inspired me. Often it’s something that’s happened at the writer’s group meeting. Sometimes it comes from a book I’m reading or it might have to do with what I’m currently working on with my writing. In this case, I was chatting with a few of the early arrivals at the writer’s group meeting and one guy mentioned how lucky he was to be a member of our group. For those of you new to this web site, I thought it was worth covering the subject of a good writers group again.


            How many of you are a member of a writer’s group and feel lucky to be in such a great organization? Why? Could it be because there’s no blood on the floor when you have critiquing sessions? That’s exactly what my friend said. He went to visit his mother in an undisclosed location in Calee’fornia. While there, he heard of a local science fiction writers group and dropped in on a meeting. Let’s just say he wasn’t impressed. The environment was rather hostile, just like the writer’s group from hell that I attended when I first arrived in Las Vegas in 2002.


            The purpose of a group is to help writers not discourage them!


            If you leave each meeting pissed off or embarrassed, you’re in the wrong group! If the leadership of said group allows that to happen, they have no business running a writer’s group. They aren’t helping anyone. Writing is a passion, not a punishment! If you’re in a group like this, quit it immediately!


            ‘Nuff said.


            Our big event for the year is coming up soon. The Las Vegas Writer’s Conference will be held April 18-20 at the Sam’s Town Gambling Hall and Casino. Here is the link:


            I cannot even begin to tell you how much fun I’ve had and how much I’ve learned from each of these events. I’ve attended each one since 2005 and they’ve all been a blast.


            This is your chance to talk shop with editors, authors, agents and just about anyone that has something to do with the world of publishing.


            This year we have six agents, four editors, an internet marketing strategist, a ghostwriting expert, a screenwriting expert, a Hollywood producer, several publishers and several authors attending as well as an outstand keynote speaker.


            If you’ve never been to one and you are a writer of any kind, it is well worth the investment to attend a conference. The anecdotal evidence I’ve gathered over the past near-decade is that we have one of the best in the nation. There are bigger and smaller conferences, cheaper and more expensive. However, ours is the most intimate with the best shot at rubbing elbows with people in-the-know. It’s the best chance to talk to other writers, authors, agents and publishers, anyone that does the same thing you do.


            We keep this conference deliberately limited so that everyone has a chance to see whoever they want. Our reputation has spread and instead of having to fight crowds and pay extra for five impatient minutes with maybe one agent at the end of a long line, you get a chance to sit down and talk to them face-to-face in a civilized manner. You aren’t competing with hundreds of people. Not only that, but you get to possibly sit with them and chat during one of the meals, talk to them in the hallways, sit in on one of their classes.


            If you don’t have something ready to pitch, you can pick their brain with your idea. See if it’s marketable, maybe get their ideas on how to go with it so you don’t waste time. Or, you may just want to chat them up so they remember your face down the road.


            The same can be said for the publishers or the screenwriting expert or the publishers. In these three days, you have that chance to dig deep into the industry, feel out what publishing your work, whatever it may be, is all about.


            The event is filled with seminars all three days. Whether you have something to pitch or not, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to learn. Every subject imaginable is covered in the sessions and you’re free to pick and choose them at will. They’re taught by experts in the field, many of them the agents and publishers you may eventually pitch to.


            The cost of the conference is currently $475 and will be $500 at the door. Yeah, in this economy that’s a lot. However, it’s worth every dime.


            Does this all sound like a sales pitch? Call it what you will, but I can tell you I have no personal investment in this. I’m a paying customer like everyone else. It’s something I believe in as a writer. I’ll be there at the front desk, as usual, helping out, but will also be attending seminars and may even pitch one of my stories if I feel like it.


            The bottom line is it’s worth doing at least once.


            Until next time, happy writing.


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