Last week I traveled to Salt Lake City to attend the 2nd annual Superstars Writing Seminar. I found the workshop extremely valuable. Unlike many other writing seminars and workshops, SWS focuses exclusively on the business of writing. Specifically, the seminar provides an insider’s view of the publishing industry, as well as advice on networking, writing productivity, and strategies for capitalizing on your intellectual property.
The instructors this year were Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, Eric Flint, Brandon Sanderson, and David Farland/Wolverton. Sherrilyn Kenyon and Tracy Hickman made guest appearances, and a few established pro attendees, including Mary Robinette Kowal and Howard Tayler, also joined several of the panels. By any measure, these people know what they’re talking about.
Basically, the seminar consisted of three days in a conference room listening to the instructors share personal insights and advice about the publishing business. To give just a few examples, Eric Flint walked us through one of his contracts, clause by clause. He explained the exact meaning of all the legalese, including what’s standard (and therefore where we should set our expectations), and which elements were worth negotiating over and which weren’t. It was illuminating in the extreme.
Another panel focused on networking, driving home not only the point that it’s crucially important for both new and established authors but also providing concrete examples of how to go about doing it (both in person and online). Other topics included things like: collaborating with other authors, insights into the different publishing houses, the economics of the publishing industry, working in Hollywood, and, honestly, so much more I can’t even remember it all right now. The expression “drinking from a fire hose” doesn’t even come close.
The rest of our time was spent having lunches, dinners, and drinks – both with the instructors and fellow attendees. The instructors really made themselves available and answered questions very frankly. The workshop itself was an excellent networking opportunity.
As many of you know, last year I attended the Viable Paradise Writer’s Workshop (submissions for which are open now until June 15), and it had a transformative effect on my writing. I feel SWS will have an equally profound impact on my understanding of the business and how I approach my career. For those hesitating at the cost, I’ll simply say I consider the money well spent and likely to pay dividends for years, if not decades, to come.
The 2012 Superstars will be held in Las Vegas. You can find out more on their webpage – and if you have specific questions, post them in the comments and I’ll be happy to answer them. If you haven’t already seen it, I previously posted a preliminary review of the first day of the seminar.