FWA Conference Part I
October 21-23, Orlando Marriott
I’ve decided to talk about the Florida Writers Association Conference in a series of blogs rather than overload a single post with 2,000 words, or whatever it will end up being.
As a writer who wants to be a published novelist someday, I’ve learned so much from the conference, and I would recommend it to anyone who is serious about their writing.
This is my fourth year in a row attending, and the quality continues to impress me, along with the variety of session topics and “wow!” value of speakers, such as NY Times Bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray.
In a joint session with her agent, Mary Sue Seymour, Shelley talked about her writing journey and how the hard work never ends for authors. Even an author with several published books still faces rejection. There was a period for Shelley where three years passed while her agent attempted to place a Christian historical romance novel, and Shelley began doubting herself, even struggled with depression. Since then, she has been listed as a Bestseller in the NY Times, and continues to write prolifically and successfully. Hearing an agent’s perspective from Mary Sue also opened my eyes to the reality of the publication process.
I should mention that I entered a contest called the Royal Palm Literary Award, which is integrated into the FWA Conference. I entered Sprinter in the Unpublished Women’s Fiction category, and I entered Livinity in the Unpublished Fantasy Novel category. The awards would be presented Saturday night at the RPLA Banquet. No one except the judges (82 professionals in the writing world) and the co-chairs of the awards knew the winners until they were announced at the banquet.
In July, I was notified via email that Livinity was a finalist in the RPLA, and I was absolutely thrilled just to make it that far. During the Friday and Saturday sessions, I anxiously awaited the banquet and the final word on whether my novel would place (possibly 1st, 2nd or 3rd).