Small 2015 Kauai Writers Conference a Big Success
Category : Book News
The second annual 2015 Kauai Writers Conference exceeded expectations. Much smaller and more intimate than the former Maui Writers Conference, the May 1-3 event on Kauai’s legendary Coconut Coast attracted twice the attendance as the inaugural conference last year and more than three times as many presenters.
The faculty authors included Priya Parmar (historical fiction), Colson Whitehead (fiction and memoir), Jill Landis (fiction & mystery), Laura Moriarty (historical fiction), Vanessa Diffenbaugh (literary fiction), Lynne Cox (true adventure, memoir and children’s), and Kristin Hannah (fiction and women’s fiction).
The faculty also included literary agent Elizabeth Kracht (Kimberley Cameron and Associates), literary agent Andy Ross (Andy Ross Agency), literary agent Julie Barer (Barer Literary), and associate editor Silissa Kenney (St. Martin’s Press). Linda Sherman (The Courage Group) discussed building a social media platform. I gave a talk on independent publishing on behalf of the Kauai Independent Authors and Publishers Association (KIAPA).
The conference featured two “Read-A-Palooza” sessions that allowed writers to have one page of their manuscript read aloud to the panel of agent and editors. The experts then raised their hands at the moment they would stop reading, followed by why they would have rejected the book or asked for more pages if it had been a genuine submission.
The conference also featured private critique sessions with the faculty along with one-to-one pitch sessions with the literary agents and editor.
Each attendee likely had her or his own special moments. For some, this might have been the Friday night beach bonfire. For me, the highlight was a humorous yet sensible talk by Laura Moriarty about the foibles of book reviewers. She cited B.R. Myers’ criticism of the critics in his controversial essay, A Reader’s Manifesto.
The group behind the conference, a nonprofit called Writers on Kauai, promise the 2016 conference will be bigger and better, but not too much bigger. Registration this year was limited to 150 people.
The sprawling Maui conference eventually outgrew its usefulness by becoming more of a “meat market” than an educational event, said organizer Dave Rothenberg. He announced plans to keep the Kauai conferences intimate enough that attendees always have easy direct access to the authors, editors and agents.
Apparently, the plan is working. AAR literary agent Andy Ross, who for 30 years owned and ran the world famous Cody’s Books in Berkeley, said the Kauai event was the best writers conference he has attend since he closed his indie store in 2008. High praise, indeed.
You can learn how to publish your book at future Kauai Writers Conferences. For more information about the third annual 2016 Kauai Writers Conference, visit www.kauaiwritersconference.com.by