I went for my second writer's gathering at Rico's last night (see here: http://www.pikespeakwriters.com/html/writers_night.html). As with the first time, it was a pleasant experience. There were a few of the same faces and many new faces, which was great. My end of the table ended up being the rowdy, raunchy end. Well, what do you expect from a bunch of stay-at-homes who finally get out for some socializing, eh??
We talked about query letters with a great example from an author who was published upon his first query, which is rare and definitely encouraging and inspirational! Two important items of note on query letters: 1. Keep it to one page, and 2. Try to establish a connection to the agent you're querying (example: "I've been a long-time follower of your blog" or "We met at the Pikes Peak Writer's Conference"). Obviously, there are other things you need to know, but those are two biggies I figured I'd mention. I hope to be addressing query letters, specifically, later on this month.
One thing I learned from speaking to other writers last night was that I needed business cards. I've had them in the past for various job positions, yet I hadn't considered making myself a card that said "writer" on it. When I asked who had cards for this purpose at the table, quite a few cards came out. Color me surprised! On the theme of old dogs and new tricks, I have now ordered some cards that say "writer and photographer." Though typing this out now I'm thinking I may have messed up and put "author" instead of "writer." Ah, well, too late now! I guess I can sort of learn new tricks? Whoops!
You may be wondering why that even matters to me. I'm not positive it does, but to me a "writer" is anyone who writes, whether for the public or just for themselves. An "author" is someone who is published, established, a professional. I just have my couple little published non-fiction articles and poems, but I guess I can accept that as meaning I'm an author. It just feels presumptuous, which is a fear I have frequently on discussing writing, and something I need to just move past. Get over it, me!
I also wanted to mention the Pikes Peak Library District's Mountain of Authors event. It is this Saturday, April 2nd, from 12:30 to 6pm. It's a free event that requires no registration. I'm excited about the Paranormal Fiction Panel, as that's the category I write in. There will also be a Publishing Panel and authors there signing their books. I spent way too much last year and foresee the same happening this year, but there are some great Colorado authors and I refuse to feel bad about it. Here is the link for more information: http://www.ppld.org/whats-new/jenkins-headlines-mountain-authors
Lastly, I'm participating in the A to Z Blogging Challenge for April, for which you can read more or sign up here: http://tossingitout.blogspot.com/p/sign-up-for-to-z-challenge.html. I have no idea if I can think of something for each letter of the alphabet, but I'm sure going to try. I'm hoping this will spur my creativity and get me better about posting in here. This is not a challenge for authors only, but for anyone who blogs and would like to participate. If you sign up, leave me a comment and let me know so I can follow your progress, and I hope you will follow mine, as well.
On that subject, I'd be delighted to hear your comments and questions on my posts. If you know anyone who may be at a similar place in their writing career, please encourage them to follow this blog. If there are topics people would like to see, I'm open to those ideas.