What I Learned at the Pennwriters Conference

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Hi Friends, I’m back from the conference and this is some of what I learned.

  1. To have fiction or nonfiction piece for display for contest “Words on the Wall”
  2. To have enough cash for raffle baskets
  3. To be ready for a large crowd
  4. To have atlas map so if get lost can find way to conference
  5. To have extra bag for author signed books
  6. To have comfortable T shirt to relax in after hours

There was a lot  more that I learned but it would take too long to explain so without further ado here are some of the skills:

I took five or six (haven’t really counted) classes or workshops at the conference. The potential would have been ten if I had no other volunteer duties and had not pitched and if I’d  had a butt of steel. The sitting done warrants a gold medal. I ran to the treadmill every chance I had.

My volunteer activities of timekeeper kept me from one class and doing two pitches kept me from taking two other classes. Over all I am very happy with my experience of the Pennwriters Conference. I loved the classes I took and the networking meals with keynote speakers were thrilling and informative.

The classes I took on Friday were “Twitter is for Twits” and “How to Make a Low Budget Book Trailer”. I took classes in promotion because that is what I will be doing once my book is released.

I already have a twitter handle, @Cbojahn, and I have followers, I just didn’t know how to carry a conversation or what the hash tags meant. I learned about both. The hash tags are a sort of filing system like #asks agent or #pennwriters. And all those tweets with that hash tag would come up on my screen. Now I also know how to do that.

Many  people in the class were just beginners so a lot of them were just setting up a profile. I have one already so I was ahead of the class. I tweeted after the conference about who gets your tweets, the followers or the people you follow and got answers back. Now I also know that I can see my tweets or mentions by clicking on that screen. (The word below my tweet). So cool. I am more proficient in twitter and will probably use it more than I have been.

The second class I went to was the one on how to “make a low budget book trailer”. A book trailer is a short movie to advertise your book. The sample book trailer was done by novelist Gwyn Cready and film maker Mike Marsh. She did hers for under $500.00.

A lot of the class was too technical for me; using software I had never heard of like, key frame, adobe actor, and final cut pro and editing software. I did however learn to do a storyboard vision of how I wanted to go and when that was finished, hire a student in film making. Talk to film and studio students ask for a demo reel and from there get a price range. Believe me I picked up his card and if I decide I want a book trailer will not hesitate to call him or find one more locally.

Once you have your book trailer give it as much publicity  as you can by posting the site on your blog, on face book on your friends face book pages , your twitter account and your publisher’s web site. They even said Amazon would post it. And of course you can play it silently at book signings. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a book trailer for a children’s picture book. It seems to me that you would give away a lot of the illustrations.


About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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11 Responses to What I Learned at the Pennwriters Conference

  1. SuziCate says:

    Writer’s conferences are exciting and exhausting. I found some parts of the one I attended informative, where others didn’t offer much at all. Glad you learned much. BTW, I’m a twit since I don’t know how to tweet!


  2. I bet ‘twit’ means something else.LOL. But I did learn a lot. Thanks for stopping by.


  3. nrhatch says:

    Sounds like an information packed conference! So glad that you were able to attend and get so much out of it.

    Sorry that you didn’t have cash for the raffles. 😉

    Next time, make sure your remember a comfy t-shirt for “evening wear.” I always pack my pj’s first . . . the comfier, the better.


  4. i loved your post today. thx for the practical give-aways from your meeting. i especially appreciated the tip on student-help. i’m looking forward to “reading” yours soon! 😉
    keep on.


  5. widdershins says:

    Sounds like you had a great time. 🙂

    One thing I’ve learned from conferences of all stripes, is that I need some down time afterwards to re-integrate the new me into my old life, take a day to just sit and watch the world go by, that sort of thing.

    A trailer for a children’s picture book wouldn’t have to give away the pictures, just use other images to hint at the storyline, with one or two of the originals to whet the appetite.


  6. jannatwrites says:

    Sounds like you learned a lot – thanks for sharing the tips. I hope you got your time to relax after all of that…I think you earned it 🙂


  7. Pingback: Pennwriters Offers Another Great Online Course « The Schizophrenic Writer

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