Regina Brooks, President of Serendipity Literary Agency, gave a very moving presentation and invited all the writers present to consider their motivation for writing. Money? Fame? What drives us to write a novel? What a great question. I hadn’t really given that much thought, but after much consideration, I have my answer. Having always been an avid reader, I decided one day to see if I could replicate the experience of escape from the other side, to create a story. Once I began, I couldn’t stop. Quite simply, my motivation for writing Maggie’s Fall was that I wanted to see how it ended. In doing so, I also found out that I could indeed replicate the reading experience from the other side, and that writing could provide that same sense of escape.
David Morrell, author of First Blood and an assemblage of best-selling thrillers, recommended that all of us writers enrich our own lives with our writing. What a brilliant concept. Even had I never published Maggie, I can honestly say that my life is better for having finished it. The sense of accomplishment and knowing that I created something that no one else could have created is huge. No one can give that to me; no one can take it away. Had I never sold a single copy of Maggie’s Fall, had no one ever read it, would I have wasted the years it took to write it? Absolutely not. So, thank you David Morrell. I consider this advice a gift.
I am not ashamed to admit that when I first finished Maggie, I had naïve notions of signing with a rock star agent and being discovered. I didn’t know much. Once I undertook serious research and began educating myself about the business of publishing, I soon learned that agents are the gatekeepers, and the gates seem to be locked. Despite how great my self-publishing experience has been, I’ve often wondered if I should have pursued the traditional route more stringently. After attending the Rose conference, I am more satisfied that being an Indie Author is the right choice for me.
Conference attendees were invited to submit first pages of a work in progress for critique by two of the agents in attendance. As one after another of these first-page submission were rejected after a mere paragraph, a sentence, a few words, often accompanied by vague and cutting commentary, and much to the amusement of the audience, I kept thinking about those reality talent shows on television where the judges thrash the contestants. I don’t watch these shows; I am too empathetic. Given the agents’ explanations for having to employ a rapid method of culling submissions, I can understand the concept, and I obviously am not qualified to question their methods, but, for now, being an Indie author is the right path for me. I don’t have the tooth-and-nail constitution for the agent game.
Large gatherings generally send me running, but the Writing Short Course was a positive experience and one that I hope to repeat next year.