Investment is a chancy undertaking. But I made an investment that, if I write well enough, will assist in publishing my novels long since written and those to come. The membership in Pacific Northwest Writers Association is no more than other organizations which do worthwhile stuff for members. Conference attendance was another thing. Not cheap.
What this conference does that has not been available to me anywhere else is the opportunity to submit written work to a publisher through an agent or editor. Now the Writer’s Market lists many publishers that accept unsolicited manuscripts. OK. Fine. I did that once and got nowhere. Because those places receive hundreds of manuscripts weekly, the chances of mine ever getting acknowledged, let alone read, may happen only after years moldering in a pile.
At this conference it was guaranteed that when the word on the submission envelope reads MATERIALS REQUESTED it is magic. The envelope will be opened and perused.
All manuscripts are opened by an assistant — for want of a better word for secretary — and this person will judge the opening letter for an unusual hook, something to peak their interest. Even if there is none, the first page of the manuscript is assessed for clean appearance, good grammar, and interesting first paragraphs.
You see, I have my foot in the door which I didn’t before, but the rest is up to me.
I have to get the reader’s imagination. Make her/him sit up and take notice. And if I do well enough for that person then my story line has to be different than thousands of others. At least it has to get the reader going in to the story itself.
Now here is where I had better know how to craft a good story. I think I do. I have three novels to submit.
So here goes.