by Judith Evans Thomas
Part of the job of a working writer is keeping up with the market and to me that means attending Writer's Conferences. To that end I spent the weekend in New York City at the ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors, Inc.) Conference. Because the group is composed mainly non-fiction journalists and authors, most workshops were geared to making the most of the non-fiction story.
The Friday, members only day, had workshops on Travel Writing, Contract Preparation and Negotiation, Writing for Foreign Markets, Pitching your story, and Writing Humor That Pays. On that panel, I heard from Carrie Thornton, senior editor at Three Rivers Press, that there is a thriving market for humor...with a twist. Her latest NYTimes bestseller, "Why Do Men Have Nipples?" is actually a question and answer science book. Another panelist, Jen Singer (14 Hourst til Bedtime) took her experiences as a new mother and started a successful online blog, Mommasiad.net and parlayed that into a series of national magazine articles and, most recently a contract to write a script for JibJab
The Afternoon sessions included:
Screenwriting with David Title, head of development at Crossroads Films as well as Janet Roach, the Academy Award Nominee for adaptation of Prizzi's Honor.
Platform with agents Liza Dawson and Janet Rosen along with editors Toni Sciarra and Michele Wells.
Internet Writing or How to make $4,000 a Week Selling on your own.
I could go on for another hour about what I learned, who I met and how much the networking meant to me, but I want to focus on the last speaker of the last day...who changed the way I will do business forever. Sree Sreenivasan is the Dean of Students and a professor at Columbia Journalism School. He is also a tech writer for WNBC-TV. His web tips for journalists and links to sites of interest were astounding. To get your very own copy go to Sree's website. Bottom line of his three hour talk....GOTTA BLOG. I'm continuing this on my other blog, Glamgal so if you want updates on Sree come on over.
As to the keynote speaker, Jeannette Walls, author of The Glass House told a riveting story of coming from a very poor southern family and ending up Barnard educated, interviewing celebrities for MSNBC and living on Park Avenue while her mother remained homeless and she felt ashamed. The book is her own coming of age tale of embracing and allowing her past to set her free.
To see the full schedule and participants go to the ASJA Conference Website.