Monday, August 2, 2010

Jill Alexander and Michael Bourret: Your Manuscript is Ready, But are You?

I jumped at the chance to come to this breakout! First, I'm a huge fan of Jill Alexander who I met just this weekend. She is LOVELY.

But she's not a chicken. This is the cover of her fabulous book, The Sweetheart of Prosper County.

Then, to make the workshop even better, her agent, Michael Bourret is speaking too. He's okay, I guess.

Kidding! Michael is fantastic with three exclamation points!!!

Before they started, Aaron Hartzler spoke about how Jill and Michael met each other at a conference. The room was laughing and immediately drawn in to listen to these two charismatic speakers.

Jill's tips to prepare for publication:
*Have a web presence.
*Think about your office hours and how much time to dedicate to writing, whether you have an agent or not.
*Get a calendar system because you might need it for school visits, conferences, etc...

Michael says that writers have a lot of work to do even once the book is sold--and it isn't just to write. For example, think about the types of interview questions people will ask.

Jill shared a great story about a speaking engagement. She felt overwhelmed by the jumbotron, the microphone, and the sheer size of the crowd. Jill is so funny! The crowd is just cracking up!

They spoke about edits and how they'll be more than you might expect. You should prepare by studying up on copyediting symbols and get familiar with the process. Expect to read your manuscript ANOTHER 6 to 10 times.

Jill knew that Michael had repped Sara Zarr, so she knew she'd love to work with him. She says to find an agent whose client list is something you're interested in.

There was a great question from the audience, "What happens when it's time for the second book?"

Jill said that with her background as a creative writing major, she's always writing. Plus if she stopped now, her husband and son would throw pencils at her and make her get back to work. Michael said that it's different for every writer. "And for some, like the person in here blogging this, they already have 800 things ready to go." :-)

This was an amazing workshop!! Perfect mix of information and humor!


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