Notes on LDStorymakers Conference-Part 2

To continue yesterday’s report on classes at the 10th annual LDStorymakers Conference, I attended two good classes regarding the industry. In the class on small vs. Big 6 publishers, taught by bestselling authors James Dashner and J. Scott Savage, we learned that the often-feared phrase “right of first refusal” that is in nearly all contracts regarding future books the author will write, is not all bad. You don’t have to accept the deal they offer you on future books, if you don’t want to be tied to that publisher. However, it is always a good idea to have an attorney go over your contract before you sign, to be sure what you are getting into.

Big 6 publishers have much more capability in their editing departments. All authors, no matter how experienced and successful they are, will receive many pages of edits and revisions to work on. And with much bigger promotion budgets, big publishers can do a lot more advertising for you. That doesn’t mean they will, just that they can if they so decide. Still, though, word-of-mouth is the very best advertising you can get, no matter who your publisher is. So yeah, that’s why you learn, practice, and work hard, so you can be the best you can be and earn that word-of-mouth advertising. And the presenters assured us, you can expect to be able to quit your day job, if that’s what you want, but it will take a long time, and you do not quit until you have to.

Silver Pages to Silver Screen was taught by Bob Conder, who has over 30 years in the film industry. According to him, here’s what you need to make your book appealing to Hollywood: A great logline, great title, great characters, great dialogue, great concept, and a three-act structure. Every story should end where it begins (in situation, not necessarily location). Write visually because remember, movies are visual. You want the gatekeepers to be able to visualize it on the big screen. And here’s a good one I’ve always believed in—write for yourself first. If your heart is fully into the project, that’s going to show on the page.

Thanks, LDStorymakers, for a good conference. I look forward to next year.

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