The 46th installment of the Willamette Writers Conference is on its way, bringing a mix of old favorites and brand new programs, events and pitching to agents and publishers over three and a half days this summer. We’re challenging you this year to “Tell Your Story” – whatever that story is, and whatever form it takes. We’re assembling instructors and programming that explore new ideas, ways and means of storytelling, and of bringing your story to the world through marketing, self and traditional publishing, and in ways you maybe haven’t considered…
Here are some highlights:
As of this writing, we’re still sitting in a virtual construction zone; we’re revamping the registration and scheduling process, and are in the midst of building and installing a new software platform. By May, when registration opens, the plan is for you to be able for the first time to register, schedule and book pitches and consults yourself, at times that suit your schedule, and all from your computer or mobile device! Eventually, the functionality of the conference website will be improved as well, allowing you to peruse all the programming options, and VIP talent at your fingertips.
This year, responding to your feedback in previous years, we’re proud to offer more workshops designed to appeal to experienced, pre-professional and professional writers – more in-depth classes, multi-session classes, and hands-on “labs.” And, for the first time, we’ll have an all-day “master class” on tap, taught by conference favorite Larry Brooks.
We’re also mixing up the schedule, creating some more flexibility and options for folks. To start with, we’ll offer a group of workshops on Thursday, Aug 6, the Eve of the Conference. These Conference Prep Classes will be designed for attendees either new to the Conference, or who want to get up to speed on their pitching techniques, etc, so that they can hit the ground running on opening day.
But wait, there’s more: We’re also introducing our first Night School – classes scheduled for Friday evening! We’ll hand pick fun and lively workshops here that are perfect for the end of a long day of learning. We hope this will be a great opportunity for people who can’t get out of work on Friday, or who just want some more flexibility and opportunity to attend their favorite classes. And, you won’t have to be registered for Friday of the Conference to attend these classes – come straight from work and get a head start on the weekend!
Speaking of Friday, we’re adding a new event this year: All of us together, in the main Ballroom, for a Welcome Session, including a Convocation Address by author, editor and writers’ advocate Bill Kenower.
…And that’s all only through Friday!
What about pitching this year? Our Pitch Marketplace will be hopping, with a slate of industry pro “Buyers” ready to hear your best pitch! Highlights of our talent, returning and new:
A local favorite, Agent Chip MacGregor is the President of MacGregor LIterary, Inc., a full-service literary agency located on the Oregon Coast. He has been working in the publishing industry for three decades, and made his living as a freelance writer and editor for several years. Publishers Marketplace currently credits Chip with a staggering 391 deals, 49 in the past 6 months and 8 valued at six figures or above.
New this year is Agent Claire Gerus, who has been Editor-in-Chief of two publishing houses, and worked for seven major publishing houses, before establishing a thriving New York literary agency of her own, selling publishers books on a variety of subjects: business, history, memoirs, religion, health, spirituality, psychology, politics, pop culture, and women’s studies. She sold a 3-million copy health bestseller and brought film star Esther Williams’ story to Simon & Schuster. It went on to become a New York Times bestseller.
What if you don’t want to pitch a project, but would rather have a “consult” to pick the brain of one of our industry experts on hand? We’ve got you covered: This year, we’re expanding our offering of “Consults” – 20 minute sessions with our experts in any number of areas – your writer’s platform, book cover design, social media strategies, and so on. When the new site launches in a few weeks, you’ll be able to review the bios of our consultants, and reserve a spot for a 1-on-1 consultation! Of course, we’re still offering our Advanced Manuscript Critiques this year – submit up to 20 pages of your work and sign up for a 20-minute meeting with one of our pros for the critique and feedback you’re looking for!
There’s more – so much more we’re planning for you. We’re working hard to put together the most challenging and rewarding conference experience for you – after all, educating, entertaining and empowering all you Willamette Writers out there – that’s our mission.
And that’s our story. What’s yours?
Registration begins in early May. The Willamette Writers conference is open to writers from across the country and around the world, and Willamette Writers Members will receive a customary conference discount. Bookmark the conference site willamettewriters.org/wwcon and check back there in a couple weeks for 2015 programming and registration. In the meantime, sign up to receive updates on the conference mailing list at that link.