The San Francisco Write to Market Conference

Are you a writer hungry to break into the big, bad world of publishing? Do your knees knock at the very mention of a query letter to some mysterious agent somewhere far away who will toss your e-mail into the cyber trash without so much as a backwards glance? Does the idea of getting your manuscript turned into a real paper and ink book by a major publishing house seem about as likely as rush hour without traffic jams? Then you should take a serious look at the San Francisco Write to Market Conference.

Golden Gate Bridge photo by Apple He

I just spent the weekend in beautiful Corte Madera, California, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was three intense days of work and fun on the part of us writers as well as the conference presenters, but in the end we had gained a much better understanding of the business of writing, how the markets work, and the techniques we all need to convince an agent or editor to invest in our book. Suddenly those mysterious agents weren’t nearly so frightful, and actually getting published no longer seemed the impossible dream.

Michael Neff

There were talks by several industry big shots on all aspects of the publishing world. David Cole, the author of three nonfiction books, including The Complete Guide to Book Marketing, and Isabella Michon, with more than 25 years of publicity and promotion experience, filled us in on the nuts and bolts of selling books, while Penny Warner, author of The Connor Westphal Mystery Series, regaled us with the story of how she managed to get published and amused us with her sparkling wit at the same time. Then, for the grand finale, Ken Atchity, a film producer and literary manager who has launched many books and movies, filled us in on the world of cinema where, just like with novels, everything starts with a good story, and every writer must first sell his story to an agent or editor somewhere.

Ann Garvin

Adeptly led by Michael Neff, a well known writer and editor in his own right, the conference kept to it’s tightly paced schedule and flowed smoothly through a large amount of important information in a way that was easy to assimilate, even for the most fuddle-brained of us want-to-be authors. But the true spark throughout the whole event was the wonderful humor and charm of Ann Garvin, author of On Maggie’s Watch and a host of other works, who brought a light, fun approach that was the catalyst to an enjoyable yet highly informative three days of learning and fellowship. The Write to Market Conference, if you haven’t been there you are well on your way to collecting enough rejection letters to paper your bathroom.


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