Friday, September 12, 2014

Pikes Peak Writers Conference Thursday Prequel

(Note from the Editor:  With so many submissions from PPWC attendees, you are seeing a lag between conference time and the time we can schedule out the posts. But it's never too early to start applying our writers' insights into next year's conference!)

By A.M. Burns

This year was the first time that I was able to attend even part of the Pike Peak Writers Conference. For several years, since I’ve been active in the writing community here in Colorado Springs, I’ve heard about what a great gathering the conference is. I have to admit that I wasn’t disappointed. The event hotel was awesome; it helped lend a very professional air to the event, as did the event staff. Even the check in was the most efficient I’ve experienced. True, I wasn’t there early, about right on time, but I was able to walk right up to the table, tell them who I was and instantly had my badge and event goodie bag. (BTW, we’re still using the bag around the house; it’s great for toting things here and there.)

I opted to go to the workshops on self-editing and marketing, since those were more useful to me than pitching. I’ve already got an agent who handles most of my work. The workshop on self-editing, by Tiffany Yates-Martin, was extremely helpful. She has years of experience as an editor and shared it very well. She kept a nice pace and was very energetic. I have recommended to friends that if they have the opportunity to go see her speak on editing, it is well worth the time.

Lunch went smoothly. Again, the event staff performed well and it was nice sitting at a table with both people I knew and didn’t know. I think one of the big plusses to this conference is the ability to do networking with new people.

The workshop on marketing, which was a panel workshop with Deb Courtney, Aaron Michel Ritchey, Jennifer Lovett, and Susan Mitchell, was interesting with some good tidbits to be gleaned. They covered everything:  Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, personal websites, media packets, getting on local news shows and more. It was a lot to take in for a short workshop, if you can call three hours short. Again, it is a workshop that I would advise writers to attend, particularly if you’re like me and already have a few books out there and are looking to boost sales and online presence. The big plus with this panel was the diversity of the panelists. They each brought their own insight to the subject and overall worked well together.

As a bonus, a week or so after conference, I stumbled upon a podcast from Patrick Hester that he recorded at conference at the panel on diversity in genre fiction. I am so sorry that I wasn’t able to attend this panel in person, but was absolutely thrilled to find it online. I think this is a very important topic for writers right now and it’s something that’s not often discussed. So often right now diversity suffers from two extremes; it’s either swept under the rug or rammed down people’s throats. This panel discussed how to approach it so that it’s more acceptable to publishing professionals and readers alike. I really hope that Pikes Peak Writers Conference continues to have workshops like this in the future.

Overall, I was impressed with the little taste that I received of Pikes Peak Writers Conference. I’m urging folks to go if they have the opportunity. Many of my friends went and feel the same way. Kudos to the event staff, the hotel, the presenters, and everyone involved. I’m sure that next year’s conference will be just as awesome as this year and that PPWC will continue to help shape writers for many years to come. Great job, folks.

About the Author:  A.M. Burns lives in the Colorado Rockies with his partner, several dogs, cats, horses, and birds. When he’s not writing, he’s often fixing fences, splitting wood, hiking in the mountains, or flying his hawks. He is the president of the Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group. ( You can find out more about A.M. and his writing at, or follow him on Twitter @am_burns.

Social media links:
Mystichawker Press Author Page:
Colorado Springs Fiction Writers Group

1 comment:

  1. This is a great article, Mr. Burns. I especially agree with the diversity section. Thank you so much for saying what I feel as well. I wish I had attended Patrick's class on the topic.


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