What an amazing weekend! It officially started last Friday with some shopping and sightseeing, but you’ll have to wait for that post because today is all about the conference.
The DFW Writer’s Conference is held in the quaint little town of Hurst, Texas where they talk with accents, decorate with cowboy boots, and call the ladies ‘ma’am’.
I’ll be honest, I am not a fan of the way they set up the schedule at DFWCon. Some workshops are an hour, some an hour and half. This left odd gaps in my schedule that I usually filled with hanging out with all the other awesome writers at the conference.
Of course, being social was my favorite part of the weekend, but I was there to learn, too. Of the five workshops I attended, one was a dud, two were stellar, and two were total rock stars.
David Corbett started off my conference experience getting me excited about characters. Best takeaway from his workshop? Your opponent has as much will or desire to destroy or undermine what your hero wants to achieve. Wow. I’d never really thought of my villain’s motivation like that. Kind of fascinating. His lecture spurned all sorts of ideas and thoughts for my antagonists that I’m excited to put on paper.
Kelly Simmon gave us some great marketing tips, but my favorite takeaway from her? When going to book signings, she reminded us that the people who come to the signing will have made an effort. It’s important that we make an effort, too. Take a little time to look good. As one of her authors once told her, “You will be photographed when you don’t know it. If you don’t take the time, you will look like butt.” No one wants to look like butt. Take the time. Kelly is the founder and owner of InkSlinger PR, a marketing company for authors.
My absolute favorite workshop of the weekend was Roni Loren’s. It had so much goodness in it, I was scribbling notes the entire time. The topic? Creating a website readers will love. She walked us through her website and taught us things I didn’t know I didn’t know. Now I know! Roni’s one of those genuinely sweet people that once you meet her, you feel like you’ve known her your whole life. Go on and check out her website, while you’re there, take a browse at her books. They’re a little saucy, but so good! Best take away from Roni’s class? Everything! If I had to pick one thing? Use Spotify for playlists. That way, the artist gets paid each time a reader clicks through. Brilliant.
Of course, the weekend wasn’t all about the workshops! There was much mingling going on, as well as far too much laughing. I finally had the chance to meet tons of my online friends that I’ve been chatting with for years. I also, of course, made new friends.
The wigs, alas, stayed in the hotel room. There was some debate whether they were unprofessional and I am ashamed to admit, I caved to pressure and didn’t don my confection of pinkness. Next time, I’m rocking that damn wig no matter what anyone says!
One of the other cool things about DFWCon is the access to agents. They are everywhere! Even if you don’t have a set pitch time, you can just chat with the agents or editors in the hallways, at the cocktail party, etc. On Sunday, they had a Gong Show where query letters were read aloud (they’re kept anonymous) by this guy with a movie trailer voice. When an agent would normally stop reading, they would bang the gong. It was hilarious and enlightening. Only one query made it all the way through. Even though we were all laughing at the antics and goofiness of the show, it was a great learning process to get inside the minds of several agents.
That’s how the weekend ended! With a gong.
Here are a bunch of pictures to make you feel like you were there. Also, if you want a slightly shorter and much funnier recap, read Jess Witkins’s The DFWCon Stalkathon post here. Or, you can read Syndey Aalilyah’s My #DFWCon by the Numbers post here. She gives a quick and dirty breakdown of the weekend. I’m just way too wordy. I’ll work on that, promise.
If you have a minute, here’s a cool video of the groovy lights they had in the banquet room. I pretty much want this in my house now. My son added the music, he’s so cool.