I heard about this even through Rosemary (Two Trees), who was unable to go and extended the invitation to Sarah and myself. With one of my projects on the way, I thought it would be a good avenue to do a bit of networking.
So I went with Val and were quickly whisked away into an ice-breaker, where we met freelance writers, students, educators, and people who want to get started on creating. (Admittedly, I felt a little old in my group because most of them were students. LOL.)
And after we were all introduced, the kind folks at NAC introduced the speakers for the day – Firebird Communication’s Samantha De Silva, author of the Daywalker Chronicles, and Super Cool Books’s Don Bosco, also author of the Sherlock Hong series.
Both of them, together with Peixuan from NAC’s Literary Arts department, gave informative and entertaining presentations on writing, getting published, promoting themselves, and the grants available to help independent writers. Regardless, these were my key takeaways:
- Being a writer expecting to just write has become a thing of the past – self-promotion, enquiry, reader engagement, and collaboration are important in getting seen in a saturated market.
- At the same time, your attitude is important – you may be good, but shoving that into everyone’s face will make them less inclined to work with you, regardless of how brilliant you are.
- Always, always, always read the rules to submissions, query letters, and adhere to their formats – editors and agents read thousands of letters a day so something out of format will hardly be entertained.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help – financially, creatively etc…
- Sometimes, the best things erupt from making something you’d like to have but have yet to see in the industry.
After the talks, Jau Chern (from NAC’s Youth Arts) got us to head for tea, but not before introducing myself, a freelancer named Ju-Lyn, and Val to the rest of the audience. This triggered Samantha to tell Val, “Omgosh you became one of the special people” during our tea break. LOLOL.
The networking towards the end was highly enjoyable, and the positive energy felt from the ideas and passion around these other creators gives me a lot of hope for our creative scene.