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My Local Conference

The 2015 Southwest Washington Writers Conference is over.

Marketing expert Veronika Noize and Kyle Pratt at the 2015 Southwest Washington Writers Conference

Seattle has conferences for writers, and so does Portland, but until last year this area lacked that level of education and networking. The first year of the conference, I both presented and helped with the organization and operation. This year I just helped. While both conferences were a success, this year attendance rose and the operation ran smoother.

The morning of the conference we came in early to complete final preparations. Julie Zander soon discovered the main auditorium was locked. She got it open just in time for me to turn on the projector, computer, adjust the lights and test the microphone. I finished as the first few people walked in.  

Authors Kyle Pratt and Jennifer Shaw Wolf at the 2015 Southwest Washington Writers Conference

As with last year, we had both a Keynote address and a mini-keynote. Jane Kirkpatrick, author of more historical fiction books than I care to count, provided the keynote. She spoke on the skills a writer needs to develop and often needs to discover within. Scott Eagan gave the other keynote. As an agent, he spoke on what his profession could and could not do for a writer. He spoke well, but as a purely indie writer, I’m not looking for an agent.

This year attendees had their choice of twelve workshops on everything from writing poetry, to editing and marketing. Melanie Dobson spoke on putting romance into genre writing. Unfortunately she brought a Mac to an all Microsoft facility. Again, I was called upon, and together with Melanie we melded the two operating systems in time for her class.

Authors Lisa Burnette and Jane Kirkpatrick at the Southwest Washington Writers Conference

I attended the Writing for Young Adults and Story Structure classes by Jennifer Shaw Wolf. I think she did both presentations well, and I learned things in both. However, I looked forward to the class with Veronika Noize on Marketing. I missed it last year because our presentations were at the same time. I’m an author and have little interest in marketing, but as an indie writer, the responsibility falls on my shoulders. She had many good ideas which I look forward to trying over the next few months.

Both years the conference has been organized by a few members of the Southwest Washington Writers Guild. As I mentioned, I’ve been a part of both efforts. We’re already planning the event for next year and I’m looking forward to it.

Looking Forward

The Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference may be over, but I’m still busy!

I said goodbye to Randy Ingermanson, Ben Wolf and others on Thursday. After song and praise, the OCW Summer Conference concluded and, with Barbara Blakey at the driving, headed north toward home. The four days in Portland were a truly an inspiring and fun time.

However, I’m the kind of person who looks forward, not back, and the next occasion before me is the Southwest Washington Writers Conference. This one day event is scheduled for September 13th, at Centralia College. I will be there listening to great speakers, and also conducting a workshop.

My workshop is titled, “Author Entrepreneur – The Business of Writing” and in it I will discuss the skills needed to manage a successful writing business. I’ll cover things like planning your workday, finding a niche, establishing a platform, product funnels, the 80/20 rule, marketing strategies, and more.

Until the conference I’ll be working hard on completing my next novel, A Time to Endure. The release date is coming soon, but more about that on Monday.

Exciting Events

I’ll be attending writer’s conferences in both August and September.

On Monday, August 4th, I’m heading south to Portland for the Oregon Christian Writer’s Summer Conference. This four day event is jam packed with nearly 30 workshops, more than a dozen coaching class and opportunities to network with many publishers, agents and fellow writers. I’ll be blogging, tweeting and posting to Facebook each day of the conference.   

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Even more exciting in some ways is the Southwest Washington Writer’s Conference on September 13th. This one day event will be held not far from where I live, at Centralia College, and I will be conducting one of the 12 workshops.

Even though it is only a one day event it’s loaded with great writers and exciting workshops. New York Times bestselling author Robert Dugoni will give the keynote address, This Day We Write, at the conference. Others who will be speaking or giving workshops include the Washington State Poet Laureate, Elizabeth Austen, award winning author Melanie Dobson, and friends and fellow authors, and friends, Barbara Blakey and Shannon Winslow.

My workshop is titled, Author Entrepreneur – The Business of Writing. I’ll be blogging more about the Southwest Washington Writer’s Conference, and my workshop, after the Oregon conference.

Meeting Sandy Crowell

I recently met Sandy Crowell as she led a meeting of the Southwest Washington Writers.

This group of local writers is planning a one day conference for September. She and the others in the group seemed nice so, at the end of the meeting, I volunteered to help.

Sandra Crowell, author of A Land Called Lewis, and Kyle Pratt

A week later, as the next planning meeting wound to a close, Sandy and I were talking about our writing when she mentioned, “I wrote a book called, A Land Called Lewis.”

“I bought that book,” I said. “I’ve got it at home.”

My wife later reminded me that it was a Christmas present from my sons, but I did have it, and when I got home I found it on the shelf. Since receiving it, I have spent many hours reading and leafing through the 200-page volume. For Lewis County, the land I call home, it is the definitive local history book.  

Sandy agreed to sign her book at the next planning meeting. While I was there I also got this picture of both of us with it.

I’ll be posting more about the conference the Southwest Washington Writers are planning, in the days ahead.