PNWA Conference Report

 

finalist ribbon1.jpg

The Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association conference tag, with a black finalist’s ribbon outlined in gold. Protected under a Creative Commons license.

From Thursday, July 20th through Sunday, July 23rd, I attended the 2017 Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association’s conference. It was a meeting of writers of all genres, from memoir to middle grade to fantasy. I participated in the PNWA literary contest back in February with chapters five and six of my memoir, Committed, and placed as a finalist. I also judged the science fiction category, reading up and making comments on 280 pages of others’ works.

The conference was an absolute blast. I made several contacts who I will gladly call friends, and attended classes to improve my craft and ability to market my book. I was overwhelmed at first by what’s required to market my book, according to the experts–Facebook and Twitter parties, and blogs with over 120,000 followers–but I quickly rallied to learn about how to structure author websites, how to research facts properly for memoirs, and how to edit my book properly. I pitched to nine agents/editors, and received requests for a partial manuscript from five of them.

The highlight of the conference was a woman named Maria (pronounced Maraya) Philips, and how she showed her faith in my memoir. Now, I didn’t know this woman from Adam before the conference, but she is the marketing manager at PNWA and taught two classes. She heard my pitch, and immediately spoke with an editor, Lynn Price, of Behler Publications. Maria later caught me in the hallway and said, “Lynn Price is expecting you!”

What a shock! Unfortunately, Ms. Price ultimately rejected my manuscript, but to have someone enjoy my story enough to use their clout with an editor was supremely satisfying. I thank Maria for her faith in me, and recommend the conference for networking opportunities for anyone in the Seattle area.

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About Cassandra Stout

Freelance writer Cassandra Stout blogs at the award-winning Bipolar Parent, a comprehensive resource for parents with mental illnesses. Cassandra holds degrees from the University of Arizona in Creative Writing and Journalism. She has been a judge for the Pacific Northwest Writers' Association literary contest for nine years, where her memoir, Committed, recently placed as a finalist. She balances her literary work with raising her children, feeding her cat, and managing her bipolar disorder.
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2 Responses to PNWA Conference Report

  1. dyane says:

    This sounds like a truly amazing, productive and worthwhile experience. As I read your post it brought back great memories of the Catamaran Literary Conference I attended a few years ago in Pacific Grove, CA. That’s so cool that Maria Philips had strong faith in your memoir!!! :)))))

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