PPWC 2012 Roundup: Part 1 of N

By the gods I am tired. Bone tired. Nodding off at my desk tired. Crazily, insanely, wonderfully tired. PPWC 2012 is over…and what a PPWC it was.

Let me preface this by saying I realized a week or so ago that I always capitalize the word conference when I use it in reference to PPWC. “Are you going to Conference this year?” “Remember that crazy thing we did at Conference, in, oh, 2010?” That is because for me, PPWC is THE conference against which all others are measured, and in comparison to which many others pale. Some only slightly, because there are a lot of really amazing conferences for writers in the world. But for me, this is The One. MY Conference.

Why? Because it is friendly. The faculty (of which I was a member this year) is approachable and knowledgeable. Because it is packed with sessions which really are designed to help further a writer’s career. Because repeatedly, as a conference, it actually DOES further people’s writing careers. I am going to do a little research, so that there are numbers involved with this assertion, but a great many people I have met over the years have made the transition from writer to author BECAUSE of this conference (and of course their talent and unrelenting commitment to making the transition).

It’s also fun. Big silly memorable fun. More on that in another post.

Let’s talk a bit about the business part. The career furthering part for a bit. Faculty: Jeffery Deaver. Yes, of Lincoln Rhyme fame. Robert Crais. Yes, of Elvis Cole fame. Joe Lansdale. Of (OMG fangirl sqee) Bubba HoTep fame. May I just interject that I have now shaken hands with a man who has shaken hands with Bruce Campbell. One degree baby. Donald Mass, top New York literary agent and vanguard of the traditional publishing industry. And Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, from the full other end of the publishing spectrum and vanguard of the new model in publishing upon which my own business rests. (Mark freaking Coker, in front of whom I dropped quite possibly several F-bombs. In my defense, there was wine and excitement involved).

Given my new business endeavors, I am pleased to have been taken seriously by folks such as these, as well as all the seekers who are looking to make the transition from writer to author. But more importantly is how inspiring all these folks were. How accessible, and how willing to dispense advice and coaching, and personal inspiration. How much they care about what people do with words, and about books in any form and about the people who write and want to write books. No snarky condescension. No elitism. No running away after dinner to avoid the hoi polloi. These folks yukked it up in the bar with the hoi polloi. And beer. Or martinis. And were real and available and just plain awesome.

And here’s the coolest part – they love PPWC. Across the board at Conference after Conference the feedback is that authors, agents and editors, big ones, prominent ones, LOVE the atmosphere of PPWC. For all the reasons I just listed, plus one more very important one: the parent organization of Conference, Pikes Peak Writers, does a bang-up job of preparing writers to approach the publishing industry in a professional manner, with attention not only to good ideas which are well written, but also to the business side of publishing, from pitching technique, to synopsis writing, to being able to discuss a marketing plan in broad strokes on short notice. These things matter. A lot.

I keep thinking I should diversify – go to other conferences more than I do. But frankly I’m not all that certain I need to. I love MY Conference, and while I am sort of happy that it is done for the year and I can get some sleep now, I am also sad because I will not get this same feeling of exhausted exhilaration again for another year. Happysad. But I have come away validated in my choices and charged up for the next phase in my own writing and in my small company.

So, much love for PPW and PPWC and all the volunteers and faculty who make this Conference what it is. My happysad self is off to sleep, in preparation for putting it all into action.