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Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Most people take vacations to rest. They go to the cottage, a resort or the beach to unwind and relax.

On my vacations, I go to writers’ workshops in Lincoln City on the beautiful Oregon coast. And there’s nothing restful or relaxing about ‘em.

I’ve just returned from the latest one. It was an eight-day “Advanced Master Writing and Business Seminar” and it was—bar none—the most mind-blowing business experience I’ve had as a professional writer. Some of the topics we covered included:

  • Selling to traditional publishers in the new world
  • Copyright law and contract law for fiction writers
  • Cash streams and cash flow for writers
  • Accounting for writers
  • Advanced audio training for audio books
  • How to sell short fiction to traditional publishers
  • Advanced cover design
The main instructors were Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and Scott William Carter. They were aided by Christina F. York, accountant by day and mystery novelist by night (writing as Christy Fifield and Christy Evans); Jane Kennedy, writer and audiobook producer for WMG Publishing; Allyson Longuiera, publisher of WMG Publishing and professional graphic designer; Lee Allred, writer and all-around cool guy; Matt Buchman, who writes fabulous military romances and was a Project Manager in a previous life; and a surprise guest speaker, Mark Lefebvre, who writes fiction under the name Mark Leslie and whose day job is Director of Self-Publishing & Author Relations, Kobo Inc. I mean, how cool is that?

We had the wonderful Sheldon Mcarthur, owner of North by Northwest Books in Lincoln City, who not only submitted to an interview with Dean Smith about how a bookstore owner does business with an independent publisher (including writers who publish their own books), but who also hosted a group book signing at his store, which included me and my two books, The Tuxedoed Man and TheWeeping Woman.
Not only did we learn a lot from the formal presenters, we learned a lot from each other, too. We were over 30 participants from all over the U.S. and Canada, not to mention the United Kingdom and Germany. I was seated between two fabulous writers, Karen Abrahamson and Annie Reed, both of whom are well published, experienced and very generous with their knowledge.

Can you see why this was exhausting? I filled two notebooks and by the end of the week, I felt like information had to be shoehorned into my brain because it was already so full.

And to top it all off, the participants were invited to submit two short stories for consideration for two Fiction River anthologies edited by Dean Wesley Smith, and he bought my story for the Moonscapes one!

I left Oregon buzzing with ideas, information and plans. And in spite of the fact that it was very tiring and that no lying about on the beach took place, the writer in me is refreshed and recharged, ready to roar!

I don’t think I’m alone, and I don’t think this “recharging the batteries” is limited to writers. I know quilters and knitters who take workshops and come away filled with new energy, new ideas and new friends. How do you replenish your creative energies?


Anne Marie Becker said...

Oh, wow, Marcelle! Just reading your post recharged me. :) Sounds like a fabulous time, and congratulations on selling your short story!

Do they hold this conference every year? Is it always in Oregon?

Robert Runté said...

That sounds great, and I would love to take in such a workshop at some point, but I can't help noticing the emphasis on selling to traditional legacy publishers. I confess, I would love to sell my book to one of the big five, but um. It's a bit like learning how to stowaway on the last voyage of the Titanic. To give just one recent example, our small press published an author's first novel in 8 months that had been sitting at a legacy publisher for over 12 YEARS. It's a brilliant novel, but that writer's career stalled out waiting for a publisher to move her out of the "maybe" pile. That's lunacy! So I hope you did learn the secret of selling to the big players...because there is still life in the best seller lane yet; but for the vast majority of us, surviving in the new environment means going to the new presses that take full advantage of the new technologies...or, even self-publishing.

Marcelle Dubé said...

Anne Marie, it was a workshop, rather than a conference and yes,
these workshops are always held in Lincoln City, Oregon. I've taken a number of different ones over the years and they are all excellent. I doubt they will hold this workshop every year -- it's very intense!

Marcelle Dubé said...

Robert, I'm sorry if I left the impression that the focus of the workshop was on legacy (aka traditional) publishing. It definitely was not.

While the focus was on independent publishing, the presenters clearly indicated that there was room for working with traditional publishers in a writer's career, but only with caution. There may be advantages to publishing with a traditional publisher, but for most of us, the disadvantages outweigh the advantages.

If there's a secret to selling to the Big Ones, I didn't learn it. And frankly, I no longer care.

Toni Anderson said...

Looks like a fabulous workshop. So glad you were energized! Congratulations on your sale :) How cool is that?

Elise Warner said...

Marcelle: You sound so "UP," it's contagious. Congratulations on the sale. The workshop sounds so worthwhile.I guess I'm feeling good today because I received the layout for an article to be published in September.

Rita said...

Marcelle, perhaps you can do an I Spy and share more of what you learned. The Instructors are fab and this is what i have a problem with at many conferences and gatherings- I mean who are the people giveing a workshop? With yours you know how successful they are. Can't wait to hear more about this.

Jean Harrington said...

Sounds like a fabulous experience, Marcelle. Great, also, that your books were featured.

Shelley Munro said...

Wow, that sounds like an amazing experience. You sound as if you recharged all right :)

Marcelle Dubé said...

Thanks, Toni. :-)

Elise, what article are we talking about? Enquiring minds want to know.

Rita, that would mean I would have to organize my thoughts...

Jean and Shelley, yep, it was a great experience!

Cathy Perkins said...

Sounds fabulous! Organize your thoughts and share in an i-Spy (pretty please :) )

I had no idea they held these conferences - must make sure to look for the one next year.

Shirley Wells said...

Wow, that sounds like an amazing experience, Marcelle. Congrats on the sale too!

As others have said, an I-Spy article, please. :)

Maureen A. Miller said...

Oh my goodness! After that, I am expecting War And Peace from you, young lady! What a productive use of time, and in a beautiful setting. I traveled to Oregon for work, and it's beautiful.

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