I Took Way Too Many Notes at the Colorado Gold Conference

By Patricia Stoltey

I felt obligated to stick to the same word count I suggested for the rest of our blog’s contributors and guests, but it was hard. I took so many notes, and I learned so much, that I still feel as though I fell off my diet and stuffed myself too full. Let’s see if the post will be lean enough if I give you the name of the session, the instructor’s name, and one thing I learned (all paraphrased). I’ll skip details about the guest speakers and just tell you they were all wonderful.

On Friday, I worked the registration table until 2:00 PM and then had to check into the hotel room, so I didn’t get to my first session until 3:00. That was Bill Konigsberg’s Seven Deadly Sins of Dialogue in Young-Adult Fiction.

First deadly sin: Overuse of slang

Agent Panel with Sally Harding, Natalie Lakosil, Kathleen Rushall, and Sarah Joy Freese.

One of the worst things an author can do in his query letter is not talk about his book. The format to follow is “The hook, the book, and the cook,” and all need to be brief.

In the Middle: Pluses and Minuses of Small Press Publishing, Katriena Knights

Contracts with small presses tend to be shorter in duration and often for only one format. This allows a book to have 2-3 good life cycles.

Denver Skyline from Our Conference Hotel Room Balcony

Denver Skyline from Our Conference Hotel Room Balcony

Saturday was an amazing day filled with difficult choices. Picking which workshop to attend was hard, and I often changed my mind at the last minute.

The Artist’s Way: Still Fresh, Robin Owens

When challenged to write pseudo-morning pages for ten minutes, I discovered some authors (Janet Lane, for instance) are very creative at 8:00 AM. I, however, was just grumpy and mostly scribbled on about needing another cup of coffee.

Why Would Librarians Buy Your Book—Or Not?, Mary Gilgannon and Alice Kober

The mini-synopsis (story blurb) on the back cover (and often included in book catalogues) is critical to librarian selection.

How to Art Direct Your Book’s Cover Design, Karen Duvall

The latest trend in covers is to use models in headless shots, or silhouettes, or from the back.

The Point of No Return: Crossing the Threshold from Traditionally Published to Self-Published, Jeff Shelby

The new exploding market is New Adult for young women age 18-25 with plenty of romance, sex, drama, and bad boys. Normal length: 65,000 words.

An Agent Reads the Slush Pile, Kristin Nelson and Sally Harding

Don’t do world building in a prologue. If you use a prologue, it should set up a question or establish a scene that will become important later in the story.

Who’s Your Narrator?, Ronald Malfi

Dialogue needs to reflect each character’s voice, even when the chapter or scene is not from that character’s POV.

The Hybrid Author, Karyn Marcus and Kristin Nelson

I learned all about the story of Hugh Howey who began by self-publishing and was later picked up by a major publisher for his compiled book, Wool. I’d never heard anything about this author before. The story is too long to tell here. Sorry about that.

Sunday morning I skipped the continental breakfast of fruit and pastries and joined friends in the restaurant for a real breakfast. The waitress forgot to bring my bacon. Can you believe that? Forgot to bring my bacon!

I attended the 8:00 AM session, still upset, but quickly settled in to enjoy The Road Map to a Successful E-Pub Career Shift, Cate Rowan

Cover art for e-books needs to pop when it’s displayed in thumbnail size (that’s where the online bookseller shows a line of books that were purchased at the same time as the search book).

I, You, Them: How Perspective Powers Your Story, Trai Cartwright

Holy cow! I still have new things to learn about Point of View. Do you know the difference between Third Close Dramatic and Third Close Limited? I had them confused. Sigh! I’m not going to try to explain them here. I’d probably get it wrong (even though I think I took really good notes).

And that’s my super-condensed version from twenty-seven 4 1/2” x 6 1/2” pages of notes. I could go on and on…

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPatricia Stoltey is the author of two amateur sleuth mysteries published by Five Star/Cengage in hardcover and Harlequin Worldwide mass market paperbacks. The Prairie Grass Murders and The Desert Hedge Murders are now available for Kindle and Nook. Her blog is known for featuring guest authors who write in a variety of genres.

She can be stalked on Facebook and Twitter.

6 thoughts on “I Took Way Too Many Notes at the Colorado Gold Conference

  1. Julie Luek

    Oh Pat, I LOVE that picture of you with the hat. Look at you all ready for a fancy tea engagement!

    Thank you for the synopsis of your experience with the conference. I want to go next year more than ever. What a great variety of topics. I’m so glad it was a fulfilling and successful experience for you.

    Reply
    1. Patricia Stoltey

      I hope you do get to go next year, Julie. You will come away ready to write down the bones…(and for anyone who wonders what the heck that means, you need to read Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones.”

      Reply
  2. Karen Duvall

    I didn’t attend as many workshops as I’d wanted to mainly because I spent so much time catching up with friends. :) It’s tough to combine a reunion with a conference every year, but I make it work. I know I can get the recordings of sessions I missed.

    I should have made my cover design workshop 2 hours instead of 1 because I only had time to cover half of what I’d planned, but at least I got through all the slides. Maybe next year I’ll do a longer one if the workshop is approved. :)

    Reply
    1. Patricia Stoltey

      You crammed a lot of information into that 50 minutes, Karen. I learned a lot about cover design, and since I have no skills in this area, I’ll be in touch when I get my little anthology ready to publish.

      Reply
  3. Julie Kazimer

    I wish I could’ve gone to all of those. I’m so jealous now. Thanks for the excellent recap, and rubbing it in that I missed some great stuff, especially Karen’s workshop. I had no idea that was the latest trend. Next conference I’m just going to follow you around.

    Reply
    1. Patricia Stoltey

      Hi Julie — I wish I could say I caught the best of the best, but I’ve heard a lot of great things about the sessions I missed too. If only we could clone ourselves and attend all the workshops… Ordering the CDs is a great option, but being there in person is even better.

      Reply

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