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What I Learned from Giving Workshops for Conferences

“What I Learned from Giving Workshops for Conferences”

Wow! I had a fun time fulfilling my dream of presenting a live workshop at an SCBWI-Carolinas conference on September 28, 2012.  My Blogging Basics workshop was even better than I could have ever dreamed. I appreciate Teresa Fannin and Bonnie Adamson for allowing me to do the workshop.

Although it was a late presentation and did not begin until 8:45 p.m. 28 people came and spent, not 15-20 minutes as scheduled, but a little over an hour.  I am thankful for each person who came. I shared a few main parts and followed that with questions and answers. My handout with 8 pages of step-by-step directions and 1 page of references was a big hit. As God is in charge of my life, I was simply amazed at how he had the President of SCBWI, Steven Mooser, interested in setting up a blog of his own. He came to my workshop. He said, “After I came to your workshop, I called the three guys who were going to send me directions to set up my blog. I told them forget it. That they didn’t to send me directions. I had an 8 page handout with step-by-step directions.”

That wasn’t all! Stephen asked the SCBWI web designers  if they would purchase my presentation to put on the new website(spring 2013). They said my presentation was complete. However, since the digital world changes rapidly, they wouldn’t make a decision until late 2013. I indicated that I would update my Blogging Basics information to make it relevant for that time.

What I learned from that:

1. Writers yearn for simple step-by-step directions to set up a blog that is clear and easy to understand.

2. When you do something to help others, you get something in return. What goes around, comes around.

3. I could sell my presentation to SCBWI and/or put my presentation in book format.

In October 2010 at the Muse Online Writers Conference, I pitched Joan’s Elder Care Guide to 4RV Publisher a quality small publisher in Oklahoma. Vivian Zabel, President sent me a contract to publish it in the spring of 2011. Release date is June, 2015. To give back to the conference and say thank you to Lea Schizas who started the conference.  I did two workshops during the week of October 8-14: “30 Ways to Correct, Trim, and Enhance Your Manuscript” and “How to Write a Pitch That Sells.”

4. Writers yearn for simple step-by-step directions to correct, trim, and enhance their manuscripts. I could make an ebook for this workshop.

5. Writers yearn for simple step-by-step directions to write a pitch that sells. I could make an ebook for my this workshop.

6. Writers are very appreciative and thankful for the help they receive.

7. Writers are not envious, they are eager to form partnerships and create new ways to reach their goals and are willing to stop to help others and share their knowledge and skills along the path, too.

I am very thankful for all the people who participated in these workshops. I am grateful for those who interacted in the chat sessions. I appreciate all who completed an evaluation for me. This helps me get better and better.

As a result of a chat session about “How to Write a Pitch That Sells” on Saturday, October 13, 2012, I formed “Pitch Corner, USA.” I will have a panel (team) of people to help me design how it will work. Here are some of our ideas:

Once a month I will upload a Monkey Survey with 10 pitches. Some will be from best-selling novels or hit movies. Others will be from people who send pitches giving me permission to use them on my blog and in the Monkey Surveys. This will in no way mean I am offering publication or anyone doing the survey is offering publication. It’s a birdseye view of what your peers think of your pitch.

When you do the survey, here’s a draft of what it might say:

If you were an editor or agent who read this pitch, what would you do?

There will be circles for people to check to the left of each choice.

1. Reject it.

2. This pitch is missing main character.

3. This pitch doesn’t tell what main character wants or needs.

4. This pitch doesn’t tell why main character can’t get what he wants or needs.

5. This pitch is missing emotional hook.

6. This pitch is missing conflict.

7. This pitch is missing change in character.

8. This pitch is missing universal theme.

9. Ask for first 3 chapters and a summary. Why? (Put answer in box below)

10. This is a pitch from an already published book or movie. (Put title in box below)

Look for Pitch Corner, USA on my blog in the near future…aiming for before December.

We may have a yahoo group and offer workshops, use Chatsy.com chat rooms, and offer webinars. All kinds of possibilities.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Of course, it would be totally awesome if editors or agents would consider critiquing the 10 entries for us and give us their opinions, too. It’s meant to be a fun game, yet a way to learn.

A big thank you to all who attended my presentations and workshops and those who read my blog. You are the best ever Cheerleaders and supporters. I appreciate you very much. Let’s celebrate you and me, together. I am so happy that you’re here. Please leave a comment.

Subscribe now by email from the left hand column.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2012 Joan Y. Edwards


17 Responses

  1. Joan,

    You are shaking up the blogosphere. Way to go with all your accomplishments and plans. What a terrific idea to form a pitch team. I’m so happy for you and all your discoveries about what writers want and need. Your workshops and blog posts are right on target. I see you’ve almost got 100 followers too. Happy for you!


    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks for being one of my earliest supporters and encouragers. You were my first and only blog reader and commenter for awhile. Thanks for being happy about my discoveries about what writers want and need. I appreciate your compliment that my workshops and blog posts are right on target. I know can you imagine 93 subscribers, now. I’m getting close to the hundred mark. Thanks for being happy for me and being there to celebrate with me every step of the way.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  2. Congratulations on the successful workshop.Great idea about the pitches. I’ve just started to ‘try’ and write pitches for each of my stories. It’s tough!


    • Dear Mona,
      Thank you for your congratulations on my successful workshop. I’m glad you like the idea about the pitches. Good luck with writing the pitches for each of your stories. You are right. It is tough, but It is not impossible. Once you get the real emotional tug for the character and for the reader, it gets a little easier. I hope you’ll come back and play the pitch game with us at Pitch Corner, USA.
      Celebrate you.

      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  3. So happy for you! You help us every week with interesting blog posts. Sorry I missed your class at the Muse Conference – Next year!


    • Dear Sharon,
      Thanks for being happy for me. Thanks you for the compliment of saying I help you every week with interesting blog posts. You make me smile. I’m sorry you missed my class at the Muse Conference this year! Bummer. I plan to do workshops again for the 2013 Muse Onine Writers Conference. I hope to see you then.
      Celebrate you today.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  4. Congratulations. Great post Joan.
    I wish I could have been in your workshop. Is there a way to get your handout and the page of references?


    • Dear Joy,
      Thanks for writing. I wish you could have been at my workshop, too. Sorry, there isn’t a way to get the handout and references right now. I’ll let you know when and if that changes.

      Celebrate you today!
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  5. Joan, your presentation sounds wonderful! Alas that I missed it! You do a great deal of good with your knowledge… it’s wonderful.


    • Dear Maureen,
      Thank you for saying my presentation sounds wonderful. It’s impossible for us to be everywhere we want! I know how you feel. But you were with me in spirit, and that is very important. Thanks for saying I do a great deal of good with my knowledge. I am honored that you feel that way.
      Celebrate you and your gift of writing, painting, and encouraging others.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  6. Joan, you deserve every one of the good results that came to you from the workshop you gave on blogging.


    • Dear Susa,
      What a kind thing to say! I appreciate your compliment. I hope the copying of your posts from one blog to another is going well. Doing one or two a day, you’ll have them finished before you know it. You could also just put a link to the older blog. But I think you wanted to close it down. Good luck with your project. Thanks for writing.
      Celebrate you and your determination.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  7. Congratulations on the fruit your wonderful work is bearing. The pitch idea is fantastic.


    • Dear Mary,
      Thanks for sending me congratulations on the fruit of my work. I’m glad you think the pitch idea is fantastic. I hope your writing is going well and getting close to publication.

      Celebrate you and your wonderful view of life
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


      • Thank you, Joan. I published “A Roller Coaster Down” through Create Space on October 15. I’ve deeply appreciated your feedback and encouragement. Cheers to you!


        • Dear Mary, How awesome! I am very proud of you and happy for you. Go, Mary, go.


  8. Many thanks and the same to you, Joan!


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