Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What I learned from the class of 2009

This last weekend I was in Dallas, TX with Chip MacGregor, Jim Rubart, and 6 authors at the first Master Seminar. I have spent the last year working with Chip and Jim to put these seminars for writers together and thought I knew what to expect.

I knew that there would be excellent content, which there was. What I didn’t expect was the incredible chemistry among all the participants. As I sat in the back corner of the room and watched the event from the outside I saw a group of 8 people become a single unit. That may sound extreme, but that is exactly what happened. The first hour was an overview of the event and, as you’d expect, people were wondering what to expect. By 10 am, however, I saw a noticeable shift. I saw people leaning forward and taking notes. I saw engaged smiles and nods of recognition.

We had lunch together and talked about things that were not writing related like our families, favorite recipes and one man talked about his incredible car business. As the afternoon session began we were no longer participants or attendees—we were friends.

Day two came and Chip told me he thought this might be the part that people liked least. As we sat together as a group we focused on one person in the room at a time. Chip and Jim asked about their book and then shared suggestions for ways to market that particular work as well as the person as a brand. We were surprised to learn that this was everyone’s favorite part. No one got bored because everyone learned from everyone else. At one point a participant offered to write a story on another participant in a magazine. There were networking connections back and forth as each of us realized that we all had gifts that could strengthen the other person.

I wish I could fully convey in this single blog posting what this Seminar meant to me. I was the coordinator which meant I ran and made sure everyone had food, that the meeting room was set up properly, that the room rates were negotiated well and that handouts were prepared. I was the one that Chip and Jim looked to when there were small errands needed to be done. I arranged Jim’s shuttle and answered questions. Even with my outside role, I learned about myself as a writer and a person. I made new friends this past weekend and I reinforced my friendship with Chip and Jim. We had so much fun I started calling them “Seth and Matt” [those are the names of my two brothers] because they kept teasing me like my brothers did when I was a kid.

With all the fun, I still left with great ideas. Jim’s explanation of branding opened my eyes to realize who I really was as an author and what I really wrote. I had been on the right track, but this weekend it finally clicked what the promise is I put in each story. What my underlying theme is.

The participants were excited about the event too. I have asked them to come over and comment on this post, and I hope they will. They are in the week following a conference and all of us have experienced that before. However, since each of you found 2 or 3 things you’ll do immediately to market your writing, you will see real results this time.

The next seminar will be in Indianapolis Dec. 4-5. I won’t be at that one, but I hope most of you will be. Car pool, share a room and pack sandwiches to be sure you are there. It is very worth it. Also, for those of you who are unpublished Susan May Warren has a great event to help you improve your craft. January she’ll be in Phoenix and February she’ll be in Atlanta. These events will, NO DOUBT, be life changing as well. Details are at http://www.themasterseminars.com/.

Writer’s conferences are great, but you can sometimes get information overload. Writing retreats are nice, but they are usually more focused on putting words on paper than building skills. What was great about this weekend’s seminar is you got both: A day of information and a day of practical application.

In my comments I’d love some of the participants to share your experiences, those of you registered to upcoming events to tell what you hope to get out of it and for those of you who have been to other writing conferences, what is the best part of getting together with other writers. Our free update lists will tell you about discounts, new events, venues and other important information on The Master Seminars. Sign up here.

The Writing Career Coach blog is moving! After the first of the year we will only be posting to our main website: http://www.writingcareercoach.com/. There you will find the blog, information on my speaking topics, FREE articles to help you with your writing and more. In order to receive or continue to receive these postings by e-mail, subscribe here.

Tiffany Colter is a writer, speaker and writing career coach who works with beginner to published writers. She can be reached through her website at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/

Tiffany is a speaker and teacher. Find out about available topics for your group’s next event.

Tiffany is a National Examiner. Read her articles here.

Learn more about Tiffany’s Marketing techniques on her main blog.

Common-sense money management is free at The Balanced Life website.

Read Tiffany’s award winning manuscript “A Face in the Shadow” on her fiction blog.

She writes a blog for the Christian writer Tuesdays at Writer’s Rest.


carla stewart said...

Tiffany, what a great overview of the first fiction marketing seminar. I did indeed feel a bonding among the participants. One can never have too many friends, especially in this crazy writing world.

Jim and Chip did a great job of concentrating on each participant's strengths, so that it was a very positive, forward-thinking process. Now, to implement what we learned.

Thanks, Tiffany, for your quiet, but very much appreciated "care" of us and for making things run smoothly.

I'd still like to know the secret to the magic trick. Will that be included in the next seminar???

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter said...

It WAS fun. I absolutely want to learn the trick. I don't think it is right that Chip and Jim both knew it and were laughing about it but I, as coordinator, didn't know.

I will get it out of them and then tell you. wink!

jobsjobsjobs234 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Nicole O'Dell said...

I'll be at the Indy seminar. I'm really looking forward to it!