Rolled into Saxeville,WI and the lake house driveway with Graham just before midnight last night, after doing the daytime sessions at the Write To Publish conference in Wheaton at the Billy Graham Center.
My impression of the conference was fairly positive. Varied, well-run, and with enough balance of theory and practical advice that it should be useful for both beginners and pros.
Plus, it seems that yes, there will at least be a few magazine or paid online publishing opportunities for me, if I work to uncover my niche and get myself out there. The conferees were nice, and helpful, as were the faculty.
I also heard some genuine enthusiasm over my Santa Chronicles piece (especially since humor is in short supply in the Christian market), but mostly folks were not seeing the bigbook picture (except one critique group colleague, who did use the words “gift book”…thass th’ ticket!). The “pros” mostly steered me toward excerpting it for short-term/magazine potential. And they may be right: placing a few key sections this Christmas (by submitting NOW…yikes) is a good way to establish my “brand” as “the Christian Santa”. Discovered a few of the catholic and/or semi-liberals hiding in the bushes (a poetry-oriented faculty member, a retired teacher from Western Iowa, and my somewhat random agent/manuscript review person Linda… took the best of the appointments that were left, ended up talking with somebody whose father has been a frequent professional Santa). Mostly the attendees were seemingly evangelicals, tho…as I expected. Which is fine. They’re better at keeping Jesus at the center of one’s purposes, where he belongs. They just grasp at the Scriptures too tightly, and maybe aren’t so good at preaching beyond the choir anymore.
My novel? Now that’s another story (pun intended). While I didn’t work with it much, still my suspicions were confirmed that the first chapter and overall tone need a major overhaul.
Ah well. I’m gonna relax about this challenge anyway. To paraphrase that “still, small voice” in _Field of Dreams_:
If I build it, He will come…
See you in the funny papers, as they say (whatever that means!) .