We would like to thank the Florida Writers Association for inviting us to participate in their annual conference. This year the conference was held at the Disney Coronado Hotel and was a wonderfully organized event with a variety of opportunities for writers in many different areas. Our thanks go out to Lori, Marsha and their hardworking committee members for all their dedication to the art of writing and for inviting us to join them.
One humorous side note is that we got lost a number of times the first day or so because we arrived at the massive resort complex after dark (and got lost) then left our room in daylight (and still got lost). If you have ever been to this huge hotel, then you will know what we mean by massive (and about getting lost). If you haven’t been there, then you’ll have to take my word for it—it’s massive!!! However, we did lose weight, which is the first time that’s ever happened at a conference. On one of our breaks, we had the chance to sit in the Florida sun for a few minutes and watch lizards, leatherback turtles, and a huge bass. We also shared our lunch with some sparrows who wouldn't take "no" for an answer. We loved that!
What we found intriguing is that the writers at this conference were very open to the many possibilities in publishing, as opposed to just focusing on the idea of taking the traditional path to publication, of which there really isn’t one. Ask several authors to describe how they got published, and, although there will be a few similarities—like great writing, for example—it will vary tremendously. The path may be different, but the end result is usually the same. What was nice is that most of the writers seemed genuinely curious about the industry, what it is and what it is not. They weren’t critical about the different possible approaches to the final goal and wanted to explore options without the pre-conceived notions that inhibit many writers. They could explore traditional venues, self-publishing, and e-publishing, for example, and we got the feeling that writers who were interested in these ideas very aware of the perils and possibilities of each or were intent on getting enough information about them before deciding what would be their best route to getting their work out to readers. It was a very balanced and enthusiastic approach to a frustrating and sometimes truly exasperating endeavor.
Again, thanks to all the participants for having us and for an invigorating experience. We really appreciate it!