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The 29th Annual Ozark Creative Writers Conference

Pub Date: Oct 4, 1997 | Columnist: David H. Smith

"You have to become your own salesperson."

David H. Smith

Literary Agent

A Special Report

The 29th Annual Ozark Creative Writers Conference

The Ozark mountains of Eureka Springs, Arkansas were the setting for the 19th Annual Conference of the Ozark Creative Writers, Inc. This year's conference attracted about 150 writers to the Inn of the Ozarks to hear an impressive panel of editors, agents and authors.

Among speakers were David H. Smith of Dallas-based DHS Literary Agency; Kimberly Waltemeyrer, associate editor of Berkley Publishing Group, and Doris Booth, Editor-in-chief of Authorlink! the online manuscript showcase and information service for the publishing industry. Other guest speakers were Jean Hagar, mystery writer from Tulsa, Oklahoam; Veda Boyd Jones, author from Joplin,Missouri, Clara Wilis, poet and inspirational writer of Garfield, Arkansas, and George Oxford Miller, Arkansas nature author and journalist.

David H. Smith

DHS Literary Agency

In his keynote address, David Smith told the group that "In today's tighter market you have to become your own sales person.

"A good literary agent will do this for you, but you have to first sell your work to the agent," Smith said.

"Publishers have to have books to sell. They need product. It's a neat opportunity for the writer who looks at publishing as a business. If you're serious about selling your work, listen carefully to how publishing works.

We're all in this business because we dream of a big hit. Publishers are looking fo the next big thing. If you approach publishing as a profession, and think of it as a competitive business you will improve your chances of becoming published."

Kim Waltemyer

Associate Editor

Berkley Publshing Group

Kimberly Waltemyer told the group to "know your audience, find out about the publisher to whom you want to send a manuscript." At Berkley there are a number of imprints, including: Berkley: trade paperback and mass market Jove: westerns, rmeoamnce, suspense Ace:science fiction Blue: mass media Prime Crime: mysteries, cozies, amaeur sluths In the Berkley romance category, lines include: Haunting Hearrts Time Travel Quilting Magical Friends "When you are interested in a particular imprint, ask for the guidelines and study them. Find out how the editor wants to be queried.

When querying an editor in a face to face meeting, Ms. Waltemyer suggested that a writer prepare questions in advance and write them on note cards for quick reference during the interview. "Don't give me the paper synopsis on the spot. Present it orally to me," she said.

When sumiting a query, include the word count, category, two-three sentences about hte book, and the first chapter. She said the most important part of a query is the first line of the book. She gave several examples including these:

Tom Clancy: "Ryan was nearly killed twice in a half hour."

Nora Roberts: "Being dead didn't make Jack Mercy less of a son-of-a-bitch." Doris Booth

Editor-in-chief

Authorlink!

Marketing Your Writing on the Internet

Ms. Booth covered seven strategies for marketing one's writing on the internet. She encouraged writers to think of the internet not as a "publishing" tool but as a "marketing" tool to help sell their work. She showed attendees how to assess the need for product in the marketplace; how to quickly find the right editor or agent using the internet, and she presented new ways to query editors and agents online, including tips on web etiquette.

"The growth of the Internet will not necessarily mean that fewer books will be published, "she said. "In fact, technology will make publishers more efficient, and may even make it possible for more titles to be published."

Copyright, Authorlink 1997