Mount Crested Butte, Colorado (Part IV)

6-24-2012

This morning I am out on the living room deck (second story) eating a really good apple and watching a hummingbird watching me.  As I take a bite I try to remember what it was I meant to do before I leave for the conference this morning.  I know it had to have been important, but I don’t remember.  The hummingbird takes leave.

It is cool this morning, and the sun comes up really early.  I have missed the mountains and the smell of cedars and pines, the blue skies, the want to get some summer outdoor time.  Texas summers these days drive me into little rooms with cold air conditioning.

There is still a little snow left on the highest peaks and even this early in the morning there are vehicles moving down the valley.  A few early morning hikers pass by and wave.  Birds are really singing, many people seem happy here and why not.  Flowers are beginning to bloom and I hope my writing does the same.  The hummingbird is back and that thought is back in my head…what was it I was going to do before the conference today?

Lessons from:  Create Your Writer Platform – Chuck Sambuchino

  • Figure out where your platform stands on a scale, 0 being starting out and 100 being Oprah.
  • You must network to reach your audience, constantly create visibility, have an ability to sell books, create communicative channels, have authority on what you have written and establish a brand (yourself).
  • Creating an instructional website is a big plus.
  • Constantly promote your product.
  • The goal of a platform is to sell books.
  • A good platform equals money.
  • A platform is not publicity, advertising, or credentials.
  • A platform is word of mouth.
  • A platform is ultimately about connecting with people.
  • Write articles for newspapers/magazines.
  • Provide value for your customer.
  • Do favors before asking for them.
  • Find partners for your blog.
  • It is about what you are able to do, not what you are willing to do.
  • The more difficult something is, the more value it has to others.
  • Make your blog unique, find your niche.

About half way through the workshop I raised my hand to ask a question.  Mr. Sambuchino answered my question as well as asked me what my book was about.  Silence in the room, fellow authors, and a few other agents turned around.  You know I had never experienced stage fright before, but in the seconds that began to pass without an answer I remembered what it was I had forgotten this morning before the conference.  That one-sentence pitch I was going to “craft”…that opportunity I had hoped to present it?  Another second passed by and my heart jumped from inside my chest into my throat blocking anything from coming out.  My brain raced trying to craft the two-paragraph pitch I had practiced into a one-sentence answer.  “Well, doesn’t matter,” Mr. Sambuchino replied.  I was out of time and he went with the rest of his speech about creating a writer platform.

I can’t imagine I am the first person at their first writer’s conference whom has written their first novel and not gone through some kind stage fright.  Upset with myself for blowing such a wonderful opportunity I spent the next minute crafting out a single sentence pitch:  “My book is about an introverted child genius who grows up in the middle of advanced interspecies politics.”  I had hoped to apologize for not being more prepared but perhaps there was no need to do so.

7-31-2012

I hope others get the chance to attend this conference next year and that maybe you will find some useful tidbits from my trip.  Spend a week if you get the chance.  My family went river rafting in Almont, some went biking and on a zipline tour, some went to Adventure Park and all of us went to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison as well as the Gunnison Valley Observatory.  Be prepared for some outings to take a full day, and others to take a half of a day. 

Is there really such a thing as failure if one learns how to respond to it?  Learning is the reason I went to the Crested Butte Writers Conference in the first place.  It is also the reason I write.  Going to places with family, the town, the food, the people, the setting; imagining that little hummingbird trying to do its best to remind me about that one-sentence pitch early that morning…all that was the bonus.