Over a military and writing career of more than 30 years I have been to dozens and dozens of conferences covering everything from space-based weapons to writing TV shows. I can say, with confidence, that what sets PPWC apart more than the topics (though there is some overlap there) is the people.
At its core, or base, PPWC has a group that truly loves writing and writers. Now this was my first PPWC so let me give you a few thoughts on how to increase your base, and by base I mean the enlarged group of friends and associates that are going to help you realize your dream of becoming a published author.
First is volunteering. Not only is the help appreciated, it gives you an opportunity to get to know the staff. My 15-year-old came down to help set up on Wednesday night. He’s learning to drive and it was his first time behind the wheel on I-25. After the ride down, I think stuffing name tags was just what the doctor ordered. Plus it allowed me to be among writers, to get to know people so I didn't feel like a stranger when the conference started, and to learn more about what the conference was offering this year.
Much of the writing game is about relationships. Remember when our keynote speaker, Andrew Gross, said his manuscript wound up on the desk of the president of a major publishing house? How do you think that happened? He had a base of people who were supporting him.
The staff always goes out of their way to be helpful and friendly, and I must say they did a bang up job this year. They are the base on which the conference stands. They know almost everyone in attendance and can point out someone you are looking for or offer advice if you need help choosing between one speaker/session and the next.
Great staff, excellent speakers… yeah, okay. But hands down the biggest difference and one that sets PPWC apart from other writers' conferences is the ‘imbedding’ of the agents and publishers with the writers. To have them with you at a table for lunch or dinner… even if you don’t get to pitch or if the discussion has nothing to do with writing, well, that alone is invaluable. It is a chance to get to know the person and for them to get to know you. It gives you the opportunity to feel them out; maybe you ‘click’ or maybe you think, perhaps this isn’t a good fit for my work. Maybe you all click so well you are the loudest table at the Saturday night banquet. Yes, that was us in the back corner.
What it all boils down to is a conference like the PPWC is about more than trying to get an agent. It’s about increasing your base within the writing community. After all you never know who will drop your name, idea, or maybe even your manuscript on some president’s/publisher’s/agent’s desk.
Remember, it’s all about the Base.
See you next year,
About the Author: Link Miller has traveled around the globe and it has provided him with a unique perspective he uses as a base for his writing. His extensive experience with aircraft, weapons, numerous adventures involving quirky people in faraway lands and even a stint as a stand-up comic help him write in a style that many people find exciting and humorous. His genres range from YA, to sci-fi, to historical fiction, and even romance. Director of the Parker Writers Group, he will be teaching How to Write Military Fiction at this year’s RMFW Gold Conference.