I attended the Tennessee Williams Festival, which was held March 22-25, 2012. Here are some notes about the Master Classes I attended on Thursday, March 22.
CHILDREN'S BOOKS 101 with Catherine Frank
The main thing I learned here is that Young Adult books have crossed over into the mainstream adult reading world. Suzanne Collins' THE HUNGER GAMES is an excellent example, as is HARRY POTTER.
I also identified some books I want to read.
- THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET by Brian Selznik
- THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green
- TRY NOT TO BREATHE by Jennifer R. Hubbard, which addresses not only suicide but the rebuilding of the life of someone who has attempted suicide
This Master Class was really for publishers getting into e-books, so it didn't apply to me, but I really just like to hear Radclyffe speak. I like Radclyffe a lot.
MAKE SOCIAL NETWORKING WORK with Michele Karlsberg
Michele spoke about how to use social networking media to keep yourself as an author before the public. Michele says that Facebook is best used to spark conversation, and Twitter is best used to spread quick information. Michele likes to put up discussion questions on Facebook and let her FB Friends discuss them. She also says that people love Top 10 lists. And she has the interesting idea to offer a prize of "Lunch with an Author"! The winner gets to have lunch with the author whose FB page it is. Michele provided a hefty handout with extensive information, and she makes herself available to answer questions any time. I also just plain old like to hear Michele speak.
SURVIVING AND THRIVING IN THE PUBLISHING WORLD with Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry of the Book Doctor
This Master Class was about how to pitch your book to a publisher. You need a pitch for your book - a 200-word, one-minute answer to the question, "What's your book about?" Your voice should come through in your book, and the pitch should be reflective of the book (funny if a funny book, heart-thumping for a thrilling book, informative for an information book). You also need a platform - what YOU will do to get your book before the public. Arielle and David stressed that most authors have no idea how overwhelmed agents and publishers are. They also said that self-publishing has become quite respectable in the last few years.
An interesting thing is that the Book Doctor (Arielle and David) also held a later event during the Festival called Pitch-A-Palooza, where anyone could take one minute to pitch a book to them. They would choose a winner and help that author get his or her book published.