Classy Talk with Alice Acheson: Boot Camp for Writers’ Conferences

Posted Fri, 10/21/2016 - 7:00am by  |  Category: , ,

You’ve heard of authors meeting their agents (or editors) at writers’ conferences, but how does that happen?


Boot Camp for Writers’ Conferences with Alice Acheson is a class that will prepare you for upcoming conferences. An independent book marketing and publicity specialist, Alice has decades of experience working with authors of all genres, as well as illustrators, photographers, and publishers large and small.

Below, she gives a peek into what to expect from her one-day intensive class — and explains how your pitch should begin as soon as you start writing your book.

In my class, Boot Camp for Writers’ Conferences, we are going to explore what happens at conferences, why you should consider attending, and how they are different from book festivals.

Writers’ conferences are superb venues for networking, for pitching your book to agents and editors, and for obtaining current information from authors and industry professionals who have been there/done that.

But how do you get their attention if 600 other authors-in-waiting are also registered?

We begin with listening to each writer’s 30-second pitch for their book. Together, we discuss what works, what doesn’t, and why. It may be the use of a word that is confusing; it may be “masquerading” as a verbal pitch when in reality it is the second paragraph of a query letter; it may have too many details, or not enough; it may not demonstrate your expertise or your passion for the topic.

There could be many other impediments as well, or it could be the presentation itself. We will discuss the four “E’s” of a successful pitch as well as what to bring to the pitch session, how to benefit from other events during the conference, and what to do after the conference.

That verbal pitch is one of the main focuses at many writers’ conferences, but it is also something that you should cultivate as soon as you begin writing your book. We’ll discuss many reasons why and how to take advantage of them.

However, in addition to the verbal pitch, prior preparation is needed to score a request for your book proposal. We will cover what is expected and how best to present it, which research will bear fruit, why the preparation begins now when the next round of West Coast conferences doesn’t begin until February, and what are the advantages/disadvantages of each conference.

Bottom line: Successful attendance at a writers’ conference can short circuit the time required between completing the manuscript and a publisher’s contract.

alicemg-color-lab-5x7-print-new-photoAlice Acheson is an independent book marketing and publicity specialist who lives in Friday Harbor, Washington. Four recipients of Alice’s publicity prowess have appeared simultaneously on The New York Times bestseller list. She is particularly proud of her efforts for Old Turtle by Doug Wood, the author’s first book from a publisher who had never published a children’s book nor nationally marketed any of their books. It won the American Booksellers Association Book of the Year and sold 800,000 copies prior to its sale to Scholastic. For her efforts, Alice was given the Literary Market Place Outside Services Award for Advertising, Promotion, and Publicity.

Learn more about her upcoming class >