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Making the Most of Mount Hermon Writer’s Conference 1. Freebies and Getting Acquainted 2. Why You Are At Mount Hermon… and Why You Came Early!  Focus on Jesus, not on getting published. Don’t measure your success by a contract  Trust God in all things… including your writing and your time at this conference  Make a difference. Make a friend. And make time for Jesus while you are here  Use tonight to get a head start. o Plan your strategy! Plan the conference and work the plan! o Remember the immortal words of famous fiction sooth Jim Bell, in The Art of War for Writers. “The writer who observes the battlefield before entering the fray will be better equipped to plan strategy and tactics.” 3. Your Strategy: Creating “The Pitch”  Understanding the importance of selling yourself and your idea in 30-45 seconds  How to build your pitch: Austin’s “Big 6” o What happens in your story or in your non-fiction? What is it about? o Who does it happen to? Who is the book written for? o Where does it happen? Where are you going with this concept? o When does it happen? When does this book apply and how? o How does it happen? How does it apply to me? o Why?  Why does it happen? Why did you write it? Why would someone choose this book over another? “Why do I care about you?” “Why do I care about this book?”  Features and benefits. What’s the key to this book? 4. Your Tactics: Presenting Your Message  The bottom line o Publishers print books to make a profit, not simply to deliver your message  Per Jim Bell, the Great One: “Publishers …. want to publish novelists, writers who can build readerships and make money for the company over the long term. You need to position yourself as someone who can deliver the goods.” (Art of War for Writers, p. 10)  Who am I? o People do business with people. You are the most important element of your pitch o Synopsis of your writing and your background. What makes you unique? o Do you have a “platform?” (You don’t necessarily need one). What is your passion?  The message o First… Write a synopsis in your own words o Second… Boil your synopsis into “back cover copy on steroids” o Third… Boil it again into a maximum of three sentences. This is your “elevator speech” o Fourth… Craft your “hook” in 10 words or less.  Deliver it in one breath. Make it “breathless!” o Fifth… Craft a “tag line”. Two to five words that complement your “hook”  Get Wet! (Austin Boyd’s tag line for H2O)  A Novel Approach to Truth (Austin Boyd’s author tag line) o Sixth… Practice!  Deal with the rest of the details after Mount Hermon. You have time. o Branding, color palate, logo, web presence 5. “Going Into Battle”  Read the Mount Hermon notebook. Learn the faces! Study editor interests, agent needs  “Hooking up” with an editor or agent o Sign-up sheets. Your second most important tool. Keep it with you at all times! o Don’t interrupt them during a conversation to get your appointment o No “button-holing” editors and agents at breakfast. That’s their private time

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Try out a different table at every meal. Meet lots of people Speak quickly when given your chance at a meal. Give others their time, too  Deliver the hook, then the elevator speech. Then SHUT UP!  Preparing for the pitch o Be on time! o Build a relationship with the editor or agent. They are people too  Don’t jump into the pitch too soon. Get to know them  Use your ears twice as much as your mouth. Practice this: SHUT UP! o Prepare ahead of time. Understand your “target” before you shoot at it  Be prepared to ask questions first, tailored to editor interests and agent needs  At last, it’s time… the pitch! o NEVER read your material out loud to the editor. She has eyes and learned to read years ago o Deliver the “hook” at a comfortable pace. One breath. o Take a breath. Then deliver your elevator speech o SHUT UP! Tailor your talk to the audience. Watch body language o Give them a chance to ask questions o Back cover copy, if they seem receptive o SHUT UP! Earn the right to be heard o LISTEN! It’s the most important thing you can do at this point o Finish with something personal. Compliment them, thank them, ask a question 6. Making the Most of the Conference  Worship! o Mornings before breakfast o On walks in the woods o Sunday on the mountain o Every evening… corporate prayer, beautiful music, fellowship o Palm Sunday Service and communion  Instruction o Your main track… a key time for learning o Evening assembly… incredible presentations and wisdom  Workshops… Pick a good “rounding” and learn something new  Get outside your comfort zone  The critique and a meeting with your reviewer. Some rules of the road…  Fellowship o Dave Talbott’s “special stories” at each meal o On the sidewalk, at a meal table, in the assemblies, at your room  Leave time for you o Don’t schedule every minute. Keep some free time in your schedule o Walk the beautiful trails. Visit the state park. Hike the mountain for Palm Sunday sunrise o Meet people and make new friends. There are a few dozen staff and hundreds of other people here who love to write, just like you. Meet your peers and learn from them  Get to the bookstore. Give yourself a couple of hours, over two or three days, to browse o Visit at the bookstore. You’ll meet other authors and fellow conferees. Enjoy that time o Buy books. Mount Hermon gets 20% of every sale. They need the revenue  Enjoy the food o Don’t miss the evening coffee and cider events. o Get up! Come to breakfast!  Try a “Night Owls” event at least once  Enjoy the last night… the grand finale. Don’t miss it!  Awards, and a chance to give back to Mount Hermon  Consider a tithe on any book you sell here, giving back to Mount Hermon