My two daughters, a friend, and I all drove to Utah on Friday so we could scope out Utah Valley University and I could attend the Sweetwater Conference at Cedar Fort.
I might be a little self-centered, but the absolute highlight of the trip was when I actually held my book, Altared Plans, in my hands for the first time. I saw a copy. It's real. It's a book. My box of author copies had already been mailed to me so I didn't get to take any home, but I got to hold one for a second--it almost brought me to tears :).
I really enjoyed the conference. Steve Alten presented via telephone conference and did an excellent presentation. It's always interesting to hear an author's road to publication and he had quite a bumpy one. He's the author of The Shell Game published by Cedar Fort.
Catherine Lanigan was also a presenter and she was amazing. So vibrant and excited. She was fun to listen to and to watch (she's beautiful). She gave some great advice on writing and evoking emotion in our readers. She also gave some great advice on promotion. She encouraged us to contact radio shows which I hadn't even considered before. We received her book on writing, How to Write the Great American Romance Novel, and it has some really valuable information in it. She writes for the national market so some of the info doesn't apply to the LDS market, but her writing advice is solid and easy to understand. She also has a good outline to use to help plan your novel.
Bryce Mortimer gave an incredible presentation on online promotion. Unfortunately, he didn't have nearly the time he needed to give his full presentation. You can go into Google and in the search bar type Site:yourwebsite.com to see how it ranks and how Google sees it. He knows a ton about technology. He could easily give a full day presentation. And he's a super nice guy.
Lyle Mortimer talked about the different components of creativity: The Flash (sudden inspiration), The Zone (everything seems to be flowing freely), and The Work (99.9% of writing). He said it takes about 10,000 hours of work to accomplish something great and that practice is what makes you a great writer.
Lee Nelson shared some entertaining stories about his road to publication. He's quite the cowboy. He told us about how he shot a buffalo with a bow and arrow while riding a horse. That's a feat.
It was a valuable conference filled with great information. I really enjoyed it and I had fun meeting new people and seeing friends.