The other big difference was in my personal approach. In the past, I put too much pressure on “making it count” by meeting as many editors, attempting to make lasting connections, and hoping for the possibility that a publisher would want my books. And I always came away somewhat disappointed. This time, I decided to go as a proud self-published author, who wanted to inspire and be inspired by others.
I confess, I was planning to skip the gala presentation, for it started at dinner time without offering food alternatives. Then I saw who the guest speaker was: Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor! So I ate before and off I went. She spoke of her relationship to books as a reason for us to keep creating books, for young kids like her found solace, companionship and inspiration in them. We also each got a signed copy of her children’s book.
The whole conference exceeded my expectations. Initially I felt I had chosen my intensives poorly, but all three ended up extremely fruitful.
The hugest intangible in going to these conferences is the collective hope of its participants. You have the chance to meet people who have truly made a committment to this as you have: people who levy their time, their money, and their egos, to produce something worthy for kids. Interestingly, while over the past few years self-published books have gained traction and respect in the market, they were not mentioned throughout the conference. But I was so grateful to meet one other person who raised money on kickstarter in order to realize his publishing dream. And like me, he fortunately doesn’t plan to stop. So, I want to say to Phil, let’s make a promise to each other, and not stop!