The UW Writer's Institute last week was, as last year, a treasure trove of information. Encouraging, overwhelming, and informative describes it well. One of my favorite moments from the weekend included the author panel featuring Michael Perry, Ken Krimstein, and Dale Kushner. They spoke on the topic "Publishing Your First Book." I especially appreciated the workshops and presentations that allowed for adequate question and answer time, and this one did. An obvious question asked was, "How long did it take you to get published?" It seemed like a question with a pretty straight-forward answer, right? However, there was a lot more to the answer than a simple, "Ten years."
Each of the authors on the panel shared their journey of how they became published. Three different experiences, but all three authors nodded in unison and agreement that the journey consisted of a great deal more "pluck" than luck. I respected when Michael Perry noted, too, that he gave a lot more credit to luck than was due. I believe many of us tend to do that. I think it stems from the fact that we are just so grateful to be where we are. In a way, I don't think that's a bad thing. It keeps us humble. Yet I deeply appreciated the acknowledgement that hard work (pluck) is really the basis for any success. The author panel did a great job in giving a real view of what it's like publishing one's first book.
Pitching to an agent for the first time was another gem from the weekend. I'll post more on that later after I've submitted my query. There were numerous other jewels from the weekend, but it can basically be summed up by saying it was a great weekend. I'm so thankful I got to go.