Thursday, October 3, 2013

Word Vancouver notes by Leanne Dyck

This year, Word on the Street became Word Vancouver and I was blissfully unaware until I arrived home and read the brochure. 
Um... Yeah... Is my face red? Yup.
Here's what I did notice...

Because I wanted to attend an early morning lecture (11 a.m.) I sailed over to the mainland on Saturday evening. There were weather warnings. So I made plans to stay an extra day, if necessary.
I arrived at the Vancouver Public Library, Main Branch early Sunday morning (10 a.m. -ish) and watched the Word Vancouver crew tearing down tents. Due to the weather forecast, the outside market was brought inside. The Vancouver Public Library was stuffed full. Already, narrow aisles were made even narrower due to display tables occupying both sides.

The first display I saw was by the Alcuin Society. I feasted my eyes. The books displayed were works of art. All had won awards for book design. 

I descended the stairs to the Alma Van Dusen room.

Pauline Johnson -- A Vancouver Legend with Shelia Johnston

Shelia Johnston spoke eloquently about Pauline Johnson -- a dynamic poet and true Canadian. Pauline was born into an ethnically diverse family -- Aboriginal father and white more 

In a time when the dominate white culture looked down on Aboriginals, Pauline used her gift for poetry to attract and inform her mainly white audience about the proud Aboriginal traditions. 

"She caused revolutionary thinking," Shelia Johnston told us.

(sorry, this is what you get when you don't hire a professional photographer)

Shelia treated us by reading from Pauline Johnson's collection of poetry. I listened, captivated as Shelia brought Pauline's lovely words to life.

Audience members informed us that Margaret Atwood and Tobin Stokes have created an Opera called Pauline

Then. I walked next door to the Peter Kaye Room.

Get Published with Janet Love Morrison
Janet Love Morrison used her personal experience to help us navigate our way through the publishing process.

First decision, self-publish or traditionally publishing?

Janet offered us a series of questions to help direct us into one camp or the other.

-What was the purpose or intent behind writing the manuscript?
-Who is your target market?
-What are your story's unique selling points?

Before submitting our manuscripts to a publisher, Janet advised us to do our homework.

Questions to answer...
-what genre does the publisher publish?
-what are the publisher's submission guidelines?
-how many books does the publisher publish a year?
-what is the size of the publisher's print run?
-what awards has the publisher won?
-how long has the publisher been in business?
(Janet told us not to shy away from new publishers. She simply wanted us to be informed.)
-where are the publisher's books reviewed?
-does the publisher support their newly published authors?
(Janet told us that generally a publisher will help market a new book for three months)

Once we've found our publisher and are ready to make a submission...

-cover letter
(Janet told us that if we could find someone (organization) to endorse our manuscript send that along with your submission.)
-sample chapters or pages
-state if this is a multiply submission

When a publisher is interested in publishing our books, they will ask us to sign a contract. Janet advised us not to sign anything until you completely understand it. In fact, she suggested hiring a literary lawyer to help explain the contract.

For those in the audience who decided to self-publish, Janet walked us through that process as well.

I shuffled back over to the Alma VanDusen Room

New Directions in Creative Writing
Presented by UBC Creative Writing

UBC professors discussed the creative writing program; the developments they've seen with respect to combining literary projects with new media and the professors also talked about their own writing.

I remained in this room for...

The Scene of the Crime
Presented by the Crime Writers of Canada
Moderator:  Cathy Ace
Panel members:  Debra Purdy Kong, David Russell, Robin Spano, Kay Stewart and Chris Bullock

I am a member of the Crime Writers of Canada and it was nice to re-connect with some of the members.

At the beginning of the discussion, each writer was given seven minutes to talk generally about their writing, their book(s) and to do a brief reading.
Then the audience was invited to ask questions. These were many and varied.
Some were...
Question:  Do you use beta readers?
Answer:  All of the authors did. One as many as 12.

Question:  Do you contact the police for a research resource for your book?
Answer:  Yes, the public relations office. Sometimes, through social media, the resource person contacts the author.

Question:  How do you come to your story?
Answer:  One author picks a place (location) where she wants to spend time and then develops a story around the place.
Others are haunted by an image or inspired by news headlines and current issues.

Back into the hall...
Think I'm done?
Think again.
I ascended the stairs to the Canada Writes Tent which was brought inside, into a coffee shop.
I kicked myself because I caught the tail end of Sexy Sick Chick Lit (Kim Clark and Robyn Michele Levy). I would have loved to hear it all and speak with them later. But then I would have missed... And I couldn't have split myself in two--or even cloned myself. So... Next year, perhaps.

I enjoyed listen to...
Mark Letheren-Young read from Free Magic Secrets Revealed:  A Memoir
Carellin Brooks read from her soon-to-be released book Fresh Hell
Shaena Lambert read from her short story collection Oh, My Darling
Janie Chang read from Three Souls

Okay, I'm not sure how but I had an opportunity to visit the book market. I met so many interesting people and I invited them to visit this blog. I'm hoping they'll accept my offer. Because I know you'll enjoy meeting them as well.

Oh, yes, and in case you're wondering, Mother Nature did throw a hissy fit--and I was stuck on the mainland. Oh, poor, me. I got to go out to eat with my in-laws--a rare and savoured treat.
I arrived home a day late and just in time to attend a meeting of my writing circle.
I thought I'd be drained -- and I was, a little. But mostly I was super-charged. And now I'm dreaming of flying off to literary events in T.O., New York, London. Okay... Okay... I know, don't get carried away...

Literary festival... 
Some day I will attend...
Some day I will attend as a participating author...
The stuff of dreams...

Sidney Writers' Festival

Whistler Readers and Writers Festival

Surrey International Writers' Conference
Learn more here