Friday, December 30, 2011


Well, it is starting. We had an agent drop out. This happens all the time but the members just don’t know about it unless it happens at the last minute. This is one of the things that make the job of OWFI President challenging, well, budgets can be a headache too!  

The process of inviting speakers may be as easy as, “Would you like to?” and the answer being “Yes, I would love to!” But normally the answer comes packaged with, “Well, let me think about it. You pay how much? I have to have more. And I want a flight at this time, direct if possible, but if not no more than one stop, oh and I need baggage and taxi fare,” etc, etc, etc. The OWFI president must walk that fine line of budget and providing the most opportunity for the members. Decisions like this will keep you up at night. I know! And just when you think you've got it all sewn up and you can breathe, change happens. Just before Christmas, Christine Witthohn dropped out due to an ongoing illness in her family. 

Back at the proverbial drawing board, I had to consider the pros and cons of replacing her with another agent or another editor. The pro for another agent is he or she will get your work in front of a lot of editors. But, getting that agent to sign you that is the tricky thing. The pro for an editor/publisher is that you are cutting out the middle guy and speaking directly to the one who will buy your story.

After much deliberation, I decided to invite Normandie Fisher of Wayside Press: Why? Because she is actively seeking submissions and she likes most all genres. She is a delight to work with and very open and friendly. I think she is a good fit for the majority of our members and offers the greatest opportunity for publication as opposed to another agent.

Let me say that I am also excited about our agents. They are also actively seeking clients and I know they will not be disappointed by the caliber of authors they will meet at our conference.

My goal for you is to provide you with the best publishing opportunities and for your writing to be in the hands of readers all over the world. You have worked hard at weaving your stories and you deserve the opportunity to see your work in print.

Remember to get your contest entries in! February is fast approaching! And don’t wait too long to register for the conference. We only have room for 400!

Happy New Writing Year. Keep Weaving!


Tuesday, November 29, 2011


On December 1 the OWFI contest is open for entries. The rules and categories are on the website now and the category chairs and entry form should be listed on Thursday. Remember that each entry must be mailed separately to the correct category chair. One $20.00 entry fee allows you to enter as many categories as you want.

The entry deadline is February 1! Remember to get your entries in early.

If you have any questions about the contest, please contact Maria Veres, or Sonia Gensler,

This year you will notice a change made to the entry form. Below the space where you write your name, we have added a space for the phonetic spelling of your name. Of course if your name is something easy like Apple or Smith, there will be no need to add the phonetic spelling. However, if your name is Xenofon Kazantzidis, we may need a little help when we are announcing the contest winners. So, if your name is often mispronounced, please give us the phonetic spelling. After all, we cannot call you and ask. It may give away your big win!

A BIG THANK YOU to all who have volunteered to be shepherds. We still have openings. Just write Jim Davis at

Keep weaving your stories! May is just around the corner!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Great Minds Needed!

Great conferences are a melding of many minds. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I took the suggestions from last conference and made several changes for next year. That said, I’d like us to put our heads together about another thing I’ve been thinking about.

Each year we give out bags we stuff with post cards, bookmarks, pens, flyers, tablets, and sometimes magazines. I was wondering . . .

·      What do you do with all those postcards with book covers on them? What about the bookmarks? Do you use them or throw them away? Do these items encourage you to buy the book?

·      Since the hotel supplies pens and tablets in every session, do you actually use the ones in your bags?

·      Do you read the flyers advertising other conferences and contests?

·      Do you like the free magazines that are either in your bag or on the free table?

Another thing, I would like suggestions, within reason since we are on a limited budget, what would really be beneficial in your bag? Or maybe you’d just like it empty to use for all the stuff you brought?

Please email me: with your thoughts or post them to this blog.

Thank you for your help!  

Friday, September 23, 2011

Conference is Underway - BIG TIME

Even though our conference is 8 months away, there is so much happening NOW! We have seven agents coming, six are from NY. We have six publishers who want to hear pitches. I have speakers who represent almost every genre. New things are happening as well. As I said in The Report, we have a paranormal panel and a social networking panel.

I've been going over suggestions made from last conference and I'm listening. Some suggestions I'm implementing:

  • Sessions are to be more workshop oriented. I have increased the class time to 70 minutes, passing time is 15 minutes. I've asked the speakers to make their sessions "hands on" and include audience participation.
  • More on E-Publishing. Dan Case will be our Thursday night Pre-Con session. He does this for his publishing company AWOC. COM. He will be teaching us how. This is an "extra" session that will cost $20.00. But well worth it!
  • The book room is going to be in the glass Pre-conv room. That way it will be easy to access, open to other guests at the hotel and hopefully increasing sales. We will screen it off and have the editor/agent appointments in it as well. That way we can keep the hall where the presentations rooms are free. 
  • More Sci-Fi/Fantasy agents - got 'em
  • We had one suggestion that we'd already implemented, so when I read it I felt validated. The suggestion was for Bill Bernhardt to have a slot that is 2 hours long. After lunching with Steve Berry he suggested a 3-hour intensive teaching time. He offered to do it, but after checking his schedule he saw he was book. I immediately called Bill and he said yes! So on Friday, he will teach a 3-hour class.
Of course there are suggestions we can't take. Such as
  • Move conference back to Norman, next sheet says: Keep conference at the OKC Embassy. Each year the incoming president visits area hotels, including Norman, and gets bids. The best bid wins. AND the people of the OKC Embassy are impossible to beat in terms of service. The only hold back with the OKC Embassy is the limited accommodation which is 400 people. 
  • Have dancing girls. Right. No. :)
  • Rooms are too cold. We can't do anything about that. This is a problem in every hotel conference I've attended all over the country. I suggest you bring a heavy sweater with you.
  • Not on Mother's Day weekend. Since the beginning the conference is held on the first weekend in May. Sometimes it falls on Mother's Day weekend.
  • Get Nora Roberts as a keynote speaker. Simply put, we can't afford her. :)
  • More "big name" magazine publishers/ editors. We ask and they say no. Our hands are tied. So we make sure that there are plenty of teachers to help you hone your skill so you can submit superior work. 
  • More people helping. I couldn't agree more! Again, we ask . . . 
Will you consider helping? We need shepherds, category chairs, registration helpers, and new to this year, "Ask Me" people who will answer questions like where a class is, who to contact for different things, what time things start. 

If you want to help with category chairs contact Sonia Gensler at If you'd like to be a  shepherd contact Jim Davis at and put OWFI Shepherd in subject line. Our lovable web dudes, Dan Case and Brad Smith should have the list of our speakers and agents on the website really soon. Look through it and see who you'd like to have a lot of one-on-one time with that only shepherds can have. 

Last thought. This conference is going to be amazing. The opportunities are going to be incredible. We have very motivated agents and publishers. Don't wait too long to register. We have room for 400—max!

Keep weaving!!! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Hi Everyone,

I'm excited about this new feature on our website. This blog will enable me to keep you informed on the newest developments on the conference, any changes that had to be made, and needs we have for volunteers, etc.

It also gives me a platform to cheer you on in your writing endeavors. It gives you a platform as well to ask questions, makes suggestions, and comments.

I will post monthly, maybe more often depending on the news and needs of the conference.

Until September!

Linda Apple ~ 2012 OWFI Prez