Friday, September 24, 2010

Craft Help: Conference Recordings

by Anita Mae Draper

Writing conferences provide numerous chances to improve your craft, talk about your career, and refine your research techniques. Unfortunately, workshops occur at the rate of 5 or 6 at the same time to suit all kinds of writers in a multitude of genres.

At the same time the workshops are in session, publishers sponsor book signings and appointments with editors and agents are scheduled.

Because of this, most major conferences tape the workshops. The recordings are then available for sale to attendees and those who weren’t able to attend the conference.

Bill Stephens Productions records all the sessions for the Romance Writers of America (RWA) conferences. You can buy the sessions as a conference set, a ‘24 most popular’ set or individually. They are playable on your PC or Mac computer as well as on MP3 players.


Currently, Bill Stephens Productions have recordings available for the 2009 and 2010 conferences . Here are some examples:

  • Chemistry: How To Create The Sizzle That Will Keep Your Readers Glued To The Page, Speaker: Sherry Thomas, Price US$8.00
  • The Fire In Fiction, Speaker: Donald Maass, Price : US $12.00
  • Mastering Your Domain: Research And Development Of The Paranormal World, Speakers: Alyssa Day, Stephanie Julian, and Melissa Mayhue, Price: US $8.00
  • Prioritizing Life, Setting Goals, And Time Management, Speaker: Robin Perini, Price: US $8.00

  • Submission 101, Speakers: Catherine Mann and Joanne Rock, Price: US $8.00
  • The Agent/Author Relationship, Speakers: Kate Douglas, Jessica Faust, Angie Fox, and Sally MacKenzie, Price : US $8.00
  • An Inside Look At The Editor/Author/Publisher Relationship, Speakers: Alicia Condon, Audrey LaFehr, and Laurie Parkin, Price : US $8.00
  • Fat-Free Writing Or How To Eliminate Wordiness In 10 Easy Steps, Speakers: Darlene Buchholz and Annie Oortman, Price : US $8.00

Spotlight sessions are also available for many publishing houses where representatives talk about what they are looking for and how best to submit.

Shawnee Services does the audio recordings for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) national conference. Like the RWA, some of these sessions are aimed at the inspirational genre, but not all of them. After all, creating exciting characters and digging into research are topics writers of all persuasions need to know.

The ACFW records can also be ordered as a compete set or individually. The Shawnee Services website doesn’t state the cost of individual sessions, however, they state they are either US $9.95 or US $19.95 and to email with the session numbers for more information. I’m presuming the latter price is for the Continuing Education sessions which are approx. 4-5 hrs long. Some examples under the 2009 offering are:

  • Screenwriting and the Novelist, Speaker: Rene Gutteridge, (Continuing Education)
  • Understanding the Publishing Process, Speaker: Jeff Gerke
  • Profiling Characters, Speaker: Sue Brower
  • Author Advances: A Publisher’s Perspective, Speaker: Allen Arnold
  • Medical Details in Your Fiction, Speaker: Dr. Richard Mabry
  • Hero & Heroine Journeys, Speaker: Camy Tang
  • Writing Press Releases & Web Copy for Promotion, Speaker: Jim Rubart
Keep in mind, I've only shown you a small amount of what's available for download.

I’ve checked into the Surrey International Writer’s Conference (SiWC) which several writers from this blog attend but to my knowledge, they don’t record their sessions.

Anyway, the point is that there are many existing sessions available for you already out there between the 2 audio companies mentioned about that will keep you in audio craft for many miles of listening. I say this because I listen to the sessions while I’m driving, walking or exercising.

Do you know any other companies that offer recordings of this type?

Have you ever downloaded these types of sessions? Would you or why wouldn’t you?





Jana Richards said...

Hi Anita,
Thanks for giving us information on conference recordings. There are so many good ones! I haven't purchased a recording before, although I have thought about it. I was concerned that sometimes a recording might lose something in translation; it's not quite the same as being there. What has your experience with recordings been?

How was your latest conference? I hope you write about it soon.


connie said...

Hi Anita

Thanks for the list. There are several that are of interest and I may buy them.

I, obviously, am willing to use a tape. I have one other but it is really baby food - little of consequence - with nothing new.

Jacqui Banaszynski (newspapers and magazines - Pulitizer prize winner), from SiWC 2009 sent out her workshops in email form but I don't know of any who have taped their's.

Did you tip Kathy (?) about the idea? Probably too late to organize now but let's talk to them (SiWC) about it for next year. I think it is a great idea, letting us hear the workshops we had to miss.

Glad to know you have really enjoyed the conferences!


Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Jana, my experience with the recordings... I love them. However, I buy the complete conference set for approx US 100 while I'm there. That way, if there's one I don't like or agree with, it's not wasted money because I've rec'd so many of them.

That's the problem with only buying 1 or 2 - if you don't like it, if it's not what you wanted, or it's a level below you and you already know all the info, then you feel you've wasted your money.

Sometimes asking another writer will clue you in, but since everyone has there own needs and opinions, that doesn't always work, either.

As for my latest conference - excellent! I was most impressed by the workshop on Working with an Agent because he had clients in the room and I saw him interact with them. Also, the agent I'm targeting gave out handouts on how she wanted submissions, query letters, proposals etc to be handled was a benefit.

I requested appts with the same agent and editor as last time to see if they still wanted to see Emma's Outlaw. After a year, things at their end could have changed, but no, they still want it so I'm on an end of Oct deadline. :D

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Connie, it's a great idea, but I'm not sure the logistics of it. It sure is a benefit, though.