"It's impossible to discourage the real writers; they don't give a damn what you say." Sinclair Lewis

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 Writers' Conference Resource Guide

If you think you’d like to attend a writer’s conference this year, but need a little guidance on finding the right one for your writing needs and budget, you might want to check out Shaw Guides.

It lists conferences in all fifty states as well as worldwide.

Here is a list of conferences in Idaho to get you started:

1. Granite Creek Ranch Fiction Workshop
Workshops, reading of western writing; cattle drives & trail rides on the ranch.
Ririe, ID

2. Idaho Writer's League Annual Conference
Speakers and workshops with emphasis on websites, marketing, and publishing.
Coeur d'Alene, ID

3. Lost Horse Writers' Conference
Workshops, readings, panel discussions, master classes & recreation. Classes offered in poetry, fiction, or nonfiction.
Sandpoint, ID

4. Murder In The Grove
Workshops & panels, Q&A, master class.
Boise, ID

5. Payette Lake Writers Conference
Friday: all-day fiction workshop (separate enrollment); Sat & Sun: presenters & workshops.
McCall, ID

6. River's Edge Retreats
Lectures, entertainment, group interaction, writing time.
St. Anthony, ID

7. Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators - Utah/So. Idaho Chapter
1-day workshop featuring lectures, writing exercises, discussion and critique.
Long Beach, CA : Boise, ID

8. Sun Valley Center for the Arts Writers Workshop
Memoir writing workshop
Hailey, ID

9. Sun Valley Writers' Conference & Workshop
Small group breakout sessions, panel discussions, readings, talks.
Sun Valley, ID

Friday, February 10, 2012

Left at the Hitching Post

By Bill Corbett

One of my favorite forms of entertainment as a kid during the 1940s was the Saturday matinee at the local movie theater. These matinees usually consisted of B Western movies. In order to add a bit of comedic drama, those films usually had a scene where either the bank robbers scurried out of the bank with their loot, or the posse mounted up to give chase, and in every case someone for various reasons was left behind at the hitching post scratching his head while the others raced away. In this age of modern technology, I’m the guy left at the hitching post scratching my head.

As they read more of this blog post, many will wonder why I make such a big deal out of all this. The fact is, I was born fifty years too early to grasp all this computer stuff. My three and a half year old grandson has to show me how to use his i-pod. I can be doing something that isn’t going right, and he takes it out of my hand and says, “Not that way, Pa Pa. You have to do it this way.”

"Oh,” I say, which brings me to the point of this blog. I’m a computer illiterate. If it’s possible to make an i-pod crash, I can do it. My computer IQ is somewhere between 25 and 50. Hell, I received a Kindle reader for Christmas, and it took me until last week to figure out how to charge the battery!

I have been tuning into a number of teleseminars this winter focusing on Internet marketing, and I have to say the whole concept boggles my mind. “You need to be on Twitter,” they say, “Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest,” they say. “Know about RSS feeds, blogging, get Google alerts, have a social media, campaign,” they say, in order to draw people to your website. I don’t even know what a tenth of those things they talk about are, let alone find the time to use them. Geesh!

Then they go on to say you need to have some sort of gimmick to pique your customers’ interest and draw them to your website. “Throw in a gift or something if they purchase your book,” they say. As I read or listen to all this my mind immediately goes on tilt. And the worst of it is, it doesn’t matter whether you self-publish or go with a trade publisher; you are still expected to do all this. E-publishing is taking over the publishing world, and this is the new way of marketing our books, or any other wares for that matter. “The ‘old fashioned’ bookstore signings are a thing of the past,” they say. “The Internet is where it’s at.”

So as I stand here at the hitching post scratching my head, I come to the conclusion there is only one solution for a computer imbecile such as me; either I enlist the services of grandson Aidan to show me around the Internet, or I hire a professional marketer. Alas…woe is me.