I’ve now had a week to process the overwhelming amount of information I received at the San Francisco Writing Conference and I’ve realized that I knew nothing about the business of writing.
I didn’t know the importance of having a solid platform, or understand the concept of an author brand, and I didn’t know how to build either of them.
I didn’t know how much time I should be spending on social media. To this point I have virtually ignored Pinterest and Google + and Linked In. This is not ok. I didn’t know how awesome Goodreads is. I didn’t how important it is that I blog often and consistently. I didn’t know that there are on-line tools to help us manage our social media quickly and efficiently.
I didn’t even really know about blogging, not as I should. I didn’t know about the 3-Part content strategy, or about conducting inertviews, and setting up giveaways, or the importance of newsjacking.
I don’t know that twitter was such an important tool for business. Although I have an account, I rarely use it, and most certainly had no idea to post multiple times a day. I didn’t realize that this platform is quite frequently the pulse of an industry, and that I should be participating in the cocktail party.
I didn’t know anything about MailChimp, much less that I was supposed to be using it on my websites.
I didn’t know about the relationships between writers and agents and editors and publishers. I didn’t realize that they are looking for you, just as much as you are looking for them. I didn’t know that they are approachable, that is, if you follow the rules. Intimidating yes, but approachable.
I didn’t know how to pitch an idea to an agent (or anyone else). I didn’t even really know what a pitch was! I didn’t know anything about Queries and Proposals and how they are different from each other. And I didn’t know when it is appropriate to use each of these things.
I didn’t know that self-publishing could be a very good thing, or a very bad thing, depending on your genre and book sales.
I didn’t know that I could pitch an agent and be successful.
I didn’t know the errors to watch out for in narration and I didn’t know the best ways to use dialogue to reveal characters. I didn’t know the simple genius of The Plot Whisperer.
I didn’t know to search for my voice. I don’t have it quite yet, but I’m getting there.
I didn’t know how underprepared I was for this conference – I didn’t bring cards, I didn’t research the agents, I didn’t write a pitch, I didn’t bring “interview” clothes, and I didn’t have any clue about the questions I should be asking.
But more than anything, I didn’t know that I, me, the mother of three/business owner/inconsistent blogger/former science teacher/US traveler/closet writer/obsessive reader/non-techy eighties child could fit into this industry somehow, and feel comfortable finding a place for myself here. But to quote one of the greatest stories ever written, I think I can.
I now know how much I have to do. I’ve started a website revision, I’m making an effort to better my understanding of the social media platforms, I have a book proposal to work on, and yes, I’m writing more. Thank you SFWC and the Marc Hopkins for a fabulous weekend. I look forward to seeing you next year – with cards.
PS. I also didn’t know how wonderful room service and a glass of wine would taste alone in my quiet room after a few long days of learning all of these things.