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!!!