Workshops Getting Closer

If you click on the tab that says workshops, there is a schedule there for the professional level workshops we are doing this year.

By professional level, I mean someone who is a ways into writing already, either sold a few things or novels or is close, and has a long term goal to someday make a living at writing fiction. These are not beginning level workshops. But still open to you if you haven’t sold anything, but are working hard toward that goal. For example, the other day I got a letter from a writer who had just finished her fourth novel, was getting great personal rejections, and wanted to jump to selling. She is in a perfect position for the workshops to help her jump years ahead.

The first two workshops are already up and going with e-mail lists, although the short story workshop with Denise Little is just getting going with the first assignment just sent out, so still time to jump in on that one and I have a few spots open.

On the agent topic we have been talking about, and the marketing topic that goes along with that, in March Kris and I do a week-long marketing workshop. We teach you how to do all those things that scare you now, from writing query letters, good proposals, and mailing to editors. We talk a lot about what makes a good package to an editor for a novel and how to get it to them and how to find the right editor. We also talk a lot about agents, when to hire one, how to hire one, how to look for a good agent for you, how to get away from a bad agent, and so much more on that topic. We limit the number of people attending on that workshop (since there is so much writing involved) and it was full, but I’ve just had two people drop back to the October marketing workshop, so there are two spots open in March. Write me if interested and put writer’s workshops in the subject line.

Or write me if interested in any of the other workshops, including the Agents workshop in June. You think these posts have helped you with agents, we really give you help there. And not how to avoid an agent, but that’s some of it, but also when you need an agent, how to get a good one for you, how to even find a good one. And lots of things like how agency structures work and why.

We are doing some basic agent stuff in the marketing, but that workshop is focused on marketing to editors and helping you sell. The weekend in June is the focus only on agents. Laura and I have been talking for a long time here, over many posts and comments, and we have only scratched the surface of the agent topic.

Just a reminder about the workshops as they start firing up.

A new Killing the Sacred Cows post coming up soon.

Cheers, Dean

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13 Responses to Workshops Getting Closer

  1. I’m such a broken record about this, around the InterToob, but I have to spout a little more about the value of the Kris ‘n Dean show.

    From 1992 to 2007 I spent my time in relative writing frustration and obscurity. Lots and lots of rejections, lots of wasted time, and a general sense that I was ‘out to sea’ and not really getting anywhere.

    I wish I’d done the Kris ‘n Dean show ten years ago. If I’d done the Kris ‘n Dean show in 2000 I just have to wonder how much further along my career would be now? So much great wisdom packed into a weekend, with two great pros to answer questions, pose still more questions, and turn the entire publishing industry inside and out, for examination and understanding.

    Since attending Kris ‘n Dean I’ve won Writers of the Future and sold a novelette to one of the major SF digests. If you are limited on time and funds, but still want to do one professional-level workshop this year, then the Kris ‘n Dean Show is the one, in my opinion.

    The Anchor is an awesome venue. Kris and Dean are awesome instructors. You can be at any level and get great information, great inspiration, and walk away feeling far less confused, perturbed, and mystified by the entire publishing biz.

  2. If you’re doing any agent panels, I’d be happy to help out depending on where and when it takes place. I work for the Ashley Grayson Literary Agency.

    • dwsmith says:

      Hi, Denise. Say hi to Ashley for me.

      I can’t imagine any convention or conference wanting me on an agent panel. And the agent workshop we’re doing here in June is a weekend focused on agents from the writer perspective only.

      Maybe an agent panel at Worldcon in Reno in 2011 would be fun. I’m not planning on going to Thrillerfest or RWA Nationals this year.

      But an interesting idea, having a couple agents and me and maybe Laura on a panel in front of a large crowd of new writers. The heads exploding all over the room would be fun. You could sell tickets to that panel. (grin)

  3. Brenda says:

    I second Brad’s comments on the awesomeness of the venue and of the instructors for these courses. I have taken the marketing class and also several other workshops with Dean Kris and the wonderful authors and editors who quite often ‘drop in’ when these courses happen. I have jump started my career in a way no other workshop, conference, or course ever could. Odyssey and Clarion cannot come close to what is offered here.

  4. “But an interesting idea, having a couple agents and me and maybe Laura on a panel in front of a large crowd of new writers. The heads exploding all over the room would be fun. You could sell tickets to that panel. (grin)”

    Last spring, I gave a keynote speech at a conference. It wasn’t about agents, it was about perseverance. But, of course, in my own experiences of persevering in this biz, one of the big obstacles I’ve had to persevere PAST has been literary agents. Agents were not in any way the focus of my talk, and while writing the speech, I thought my experiences with agents were playing a minor role in the speech…

    But then, WHILE I was giving the speech, live, I gradually became aware that there were about a dozen literary agents in the audience (most of whom I had met in the green room or at the welcome reception), and each time I happened to see one of their faces while making eye contact with the audience, I noticed their frozen expressions, and I realized that every single time I got to a point in the speech where I mentioned another of my experiences with an agent, the story was appalling–and that this became so predictable as the speech gathered steam that each time I introduced the subject of agent, the audience LAUGHED (apart from the agents in the audience), recognizing the pattern by now and anticipating another outrageous anecdote…

    All the agents there gave me a WIDE BERTH for the rest of the weekend. (g) Oops.

    Honestly, I don’t like to make it personal. This is about a bigger subject than individuals, though it was my experiences with individuals which led me to have the views that I hold now. But I’m not out to embarrass or discredit any of the agents I’ve encountered over the years. Which is why (in addition to wanting to avoid a nasty letter, a verbal attack, or the empty threat of a lawsuit) I always avoid saying anything that could -identify- an agent when I talk about my experiences–even to the extent of mostly trying to avoid gender-specific pronouns.

    I’m just out to say, “There is an equally good alternative, at least for some writers, and that needs to start being acknowledged.” :)

  5. dwsmith says:

    Yes, there is an equally good alternative. Actually, a couple, since doing it completely yourself is an alternative as well as using a lawyer.

    My alternative is to pick and chose, using an agent for a single project only if I need one, a lawyer if I need one, and my last five book projects this last year just doing them on my own. Didn’t need either lawyer or agent.

    I have a problem with writer’s conferences. I keep saying things that don’t get me invited back. I used to be a regular at a wonderful writer’s conference in Surrey, Canada, until one year I got angry at the scummy practice of an agent telling every new writer to hire his new wife as a book doctor and said so in public, and then took on book doctors in general. Since scummy agents and book doctors are the mainstay of many of these writer’s conferences, just as they are the main ads in Writer’s Digest, I was not invited back again. Surprise? Nope.

    And Laura’s story and my experience is why you’ll never see that panel I mentioned. Just makes too many people angry. On a site like this those that don’t want to think about it don’t have to read. But out in public, taking away a person’s myths just makes them angry. As some of you discovered by sending writers this way.

    New Killing Sacred Cows post coming, one more on agents, maybe the most important one, actually. Stay Tuned.

  6. Speaking of workshops, Dean, it’s happening.

    It. The voice of the Inner Editor.

    I am looking at my MS for the 2010 Novel Workshop, and I am getting this huge urge to throw it all out and start over from scratch.

    VOICE: this is crap, it’s no good, you have to start over.

    ME: oh no, not again, this is what always happens!

    VOICE: this will never sell, you’re doing it all wrong.

    ME: but I never finish and/or mail any books because I always listen to you.

    VOICE: trust me, I know what I am talking about.

    ME: Augh!!

    Crap, I really hate when this happens. It’s like, all the emotional trust I have in myself throughout the first draft just evaporates, and suddenly I am staring at the MS and I am wanting to just shred it. Shred it all the way down to nothing, and start completely over. But I know from experience that if I do this — because I have done it before — I will inevitably be looking at that manuscript, and wanting to shred it too, and then by the third or fourth try, I will be exhausted and tired of the whole thing, and I’ll just trunk the project and tell myself I’ll go work on something else and “try again” in a year or two.

    Good thing the 20th isn’t far away, because that forms an artificial “horizon” and I know I don’t have the time to listen to Editor Voice. I’m locked in. Committed. No turning around or turning back.

    But damn, does it ever NOT wind up like this, Dean? It sounds like, for you, this happens all the time, after almost 100 novels sold. I guess in my mind I am always thinking, “After a few novels sold, I ought to be confident enough to move past Editor Voice.” But it doesn’t seem like that’s the case?

  7. FYI, got my contract from Dell Magazines yesterday. My first bona fide sale at 100% professional level. Between this contract, the money from Writers of the Future, and the cash value of the week-long Writers of the Future workshop, my writing in the last 90 days has already earned me more money than I made in the first six months my wife and I were married, back in 1994.

    Go to hell, Editor Voice! I don’t need your s–t. I’ve got more money to make.

  8. Rob says:

    I am very seriously working toward making it to the marketing workshop in October, scraping together all my resources to afford the trip across the country. The Kris and Dean show is my backup plan if I can’t get together enough funds to do the week long workshop. But if the workshop goes as well as I think it will, I just might have to move to Oregon so I can attend all the others. :)

    • dwsmith says:

      Rob, don’t move here. We might not continue doing these. Not worth the move.

      Brad, the inner voice that says our own writing is crap is almost always there. Some writers climb over it quickly, others it stops completely. And it never goes away. It gets tempered with skill and understanding, but it never completely goes away. And what is more annoying, most of the time it is flat wrong. The key with becoming a selling writer regularly is ignoring that voice and pushing past it, and learning to hear when advice is correct and when it is just that stupid doubt voice.

      For example, last week I finished a proposal and some chapters for a novel and thought they were crap. Told Kris that, she read them, said mail them. My doubt voice was completely wrong. This week I finished another series of chapters and another proposal and I knew something was wrong. Not only was my “this is all crap” voice shouting at me, but my writing voice saying I had missed something was also shouting. Kris said it was good, but I had missed an element and she pointed it out. The this is crap voice was wrong, but the writing voice of missing something was right. Very different voices. One comes from just self doubt, one comes from years of skill. Still couldn’t completely tell them apart.

      Brad, at your level of early professional, you just have to believe that every doubt is just self doubt and mail it all. Let the editors decide what works and what doesn’t. That’s their job.

  9. Rob says:

    Well, I was kinda joking about moving. I would have a heck of a time convincing the wife. But that’s a bummer that you might not continue with the workshops. The Mystery Workshop and the Character Voices both look pretty sweet. But I’d have to hit the lotto (or snag a good book deal) to make them all this year.

    Have you and Kris thought of putting all your wisdom into book form?

  10. Rob says:

    Please forgive. It’s been a weird week. Yes, duh, you are putting your wisdom into book form.

    Any chance you’ll touch upon character voice and story structure at all in coming chapters? The topics, I guess, don’t really fall under Sacred Cows. Maybe in the next book?

    I’m greedy for your advice as it is a heck of a lot better than some of the stuff I’ve been getting the last ten years. :)

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