On being discovered as the next Jean Auel

I am considering signing up for the Willamette Writer’s conference. It’s in August, basically a few dozen literary agents, and a surprisingly large amount of studio film producers convene at a Sheraton out by the PDX airport and for an exorbitant amount of money you can go and pitch them your book or film.

“I dig the Muppets crossed with Hunger games concept, but can you make it sexy?”

As an aspiring writer going to this should be a no-brainer, right? But I have long been wary and suspicious of the cottage industry that is designed to make profit off of hopeful writers. It’s huge and flourishing. If you walk into any library you will see more shelves of books on how break into the publishing industry and how to write a best selling novel than you will see books on literature that has already been written. Sure, there are a lot of books in the world . . . but if half of the how to get published books were half as effective as they claim to be, then pretty much everybody in the world would be published.

This WW conference’s poster art is so hideous it seems they are trying to scare sane people away. (But of course, you can’t be sane and want to be a writer to begin with.) It features some kind of smirking androgyne cowboy with a bird awkwardly photoshopped onto it’s hat. Shudder.


The conference costs something like $260 to attend for one day. Which I could stomach, but then on top of that you have to pay an additional $25 each time you want to sit down with an agent and chat with them. Which means if I wanted to pitch my novel to a dozen agents that’s about half a grand. Ouch! Aren’t these people familiar with the term “starving artist”?

However, this is the conference where the lady who published “Clan of the Cavebear” was discovered, that book sold about 5.8 billion copies.


So I will probably bite the bullet and pony up the cash. Hey it’s cheaper than moving to L.A.

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