Amy Spring was awarded a scholarship for PPWC2018. She shares her conference experiences and excitement about being awarded a scholarship. Apply for PPWC2109 by January 11, 2019 and you too could share your story.
I was thrilled to be awarded a scholarship to the Pikes Peak Writers Conference 2018. My friend KL Cooper suggested (loudly, on my FaceBook timeline, for everyone to see!) that I should apply, and that evening I felt timid and overwhelmed. I went to bed thinking, “There are so many more deserving, who am I to ask for this?”
The following morning, I came to my senses and had my application in before drinking my morning tea. I am so glad I did, because I was awarded a full scholarship, and promptly promised the Powers That Be that I would be fearless at the conference and do my best.
Years ago I attended Pikes Peak Writers Conference, and was so stunned by the opportunity that I tried to go to everything, and wanted to learn everything. This year, as I have written two unpublished novels, I decided that my goal would be making connections, and meeting as many people as I could. I had both a Query One-on-One appointment with Deb Werksman of Sourcebooks scheduled, and well as a Read and Critique X (R&CX) appointment with acquiring editor Maximilian Ximenez.
The PPWC offers access to so many wonderful people, and I did, indeed, try to be fearless. Author and Keynote Speaker Bob Mayer said, in the first of the three of his sessions I attended, “If you see me in the hallway, please stop me and talk to me, I’ll help you all I can.” He was true to his word, as the following morning, I saw him and stopped him, and he was gracious enough to not only help me clean up my 16 opening lines that I had to read aloud in my R&CX appointment, but critiqued my queries for my Query 1 on 1. How kind was that?
One thing I understood this time around is that the people that come to teach sessions aren’t there for themselves. They are there to help and encourage all of our writing family in any way they can. They do this generously, purposefully, exhaustively-meaning, by the end of the weekend, it is obvious, by the dark circles under their eyes, that they have given 100% to us every waking hour of this long weekend.
Read & Critique
My R&CX appointment was fun, though I was awarded an appointment with Mr. Ximinez, whose expertise is in genres far different from my own. I was offered a chance to change that appointment, but I decided to go and read anyway. He was helpful and kind about my reading something he would never acquire, but I soon realized my purpose for being there-a young boy read his 16 lines and had this major player’s attention, but was too shy to ask follow-up questions, so I asked them for him. (Ok, I’m 55, and sometimes, occasionally, age does matter!) I facilitated a meeting between the two, and later, both men thanked me. Score!
Query 1 on 1
The best part for me, though, was forming a connection with Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks. I took three of her sessions, sat at her lunch table one day, and boldly took both of my queries to my Query 1 on 1 appointment with her. She and her red pen passed on my second book, but said, “Send it!” on my first book’s query! I walked away from that meeting knowing I had done my best, and had been gifted with the reason I was meant to be there. I was, and am, eternally grateful to the Pikes Peak Writers for this experience.
As it turns out, I write general fiction, and Deb acquires romance, but she thought enough of my first book’s manuscript that she sent it to her fiction editor colleagues, who politely declined, though they encouraged me to continue. Deb said she’ll consider any romance I write. And, she worked with me extensively to prepare. She, and everyone else I met, and who has supported me through this experience are precious gems, in my book!