Monday, February 04, 2013

Win a free registration to Backspace!

 Backspace is offering three scholarships to attend the upcoming May conference!

The contest to win the scholarships is called

(click the link for further info)

The deadline is March 1.
Voting commences March 5 (will I be watching? yes indeed!)

The conference itself is May 23-25 here in NYC.

Last time we carried on despite Hurricane Sandy.  I can only imagine what the Writing Deities have in store for this time.

I cannot urge you strongly enough to attend this conference if you think a conference is the next step in your career.  Backspace is well-run, gorgeously organized and managed with a great deal of care and consideration.  I participate in this conference pretty often (though not this particular time) and each time my respect and admiration for the organizers increases.

Invest your hard earned money wisely.  If a conference is the next step, this is a good place to go.


Karen Dionne said...

Aw, thank for the nice words about the Backspace conference, Janet! We think you're the cat's pajamas too! We definitely saw the shark's softer side last November - she BIKED into the city to help out at the seminar both days, when she was only scheduled for one; sat on panels she wasn't scheduled for to fill in for other agents who couldn't make it, and just generally saved the day. We couldn't have done it without her! (Sorry if this comment ruins your sharkly reputation, but facts are facts!)

As for this: "I can only imagine what the Writing Deities have in store for this time." -- only good things, of course! They owe us. BIG time. :)

Janet Reid said...

Karen Dionne is clearly having some sort of hallucinatory experience right here on the blog.

A.S. King said...

Karen is right.

A.S. King
(The BKSP 2013 Conference Keynote Speaker who no longer smokes thanks to Janet Reid who is the nicest shark I ever met.)

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Shark's cover is blown . . .


AuthorVanessaShields said...

THIS IS AWESOME!!! Sharks rule!

NotaWarriorPrincess said...

Question: if I already have (ahem) representation (and it's the best on this or any other planet), is this still a good conference for me at this stage, or is it mostly for those seeking to hook an agent? I am assuming that the CONTEST is for unagented projects only, but IF I were to spend a metric ton of bucks on travel to a writing conference, is it this one? I have heard nothing but good stuff about Backspace, but if it is mostly about getting to know agents, maybe I should squander my copious discretionary funds on a retreat, instead? What are your thoughts re: that, please?

HollyD. said...

Is is okay to enter a contest like this if you have several agents already reading your full manuscript?

Karen Dionne said...

Hi, Violet -

Sure! If you get an offer of representation before the conference (wouldn't that be wonderful!), there's still lots to learn at the conference. (See my answer to NotaWarriorPrincess above.)

Karen Dionne said...

Sorry - doesn't look like my answer to NotaWarrior Princess went through - sending again -

To NotaWarriorPrincess

Thanks for your question! The Friday and Saturday portions of the conference would definitely benefit you - the Thursday Agent-Author Seminar day would not. (Though Lane's workshop on Thursday evening would definitely be helpful! She did this workshop for us last fall, and it was really terrific.)

Normally don't split off the Agent-Author seminar day from the rest of the conference until just a few weeks before the event (if the Thursday Agent-Author day is not sold out) because the typical conference registrant is most keen on attending that day, since most are hoping to interest a literary agent in their work. But they really need the full conference experience to balance out what they hear from the agents (sorry, Janet, but it's true!), and to teach them about the industry and to help them reach their publishing goals.

However, if someone would like to attend only on Friday and Saturday, we'd be happy to give them a price now for those two days without the Thursday Agent-Author Seminar day attached. You can email Chris Graham at for more information.

Regarding the Friday and Saturday portion of the conference and what an agented author would get out of it, I have to say that if you've never attended one of Donald Maass's workshops, you're in for a treat. He's a fabulous teacher, very insightful and inspiring, and his workshop is worth a trip to New York all by itself. The first time we offered it, even the published authors in the audience grabbed their pencils and started furiously taking notes!

Jonathan Maberry has taught at our events before, and he's very very good. So between the two of them, Saturday is going to be packed with good stuff for authors at all stages of their careers.

Friday's program also has plenty for an agented author. (At Backspace, we teach to a high level, and skip the basic things that a person could learn online, so that even the published authors on the faculty can take something useful away.) The Friday program includes panels on craft taught by published authors, and marketing and social networking by experts in the field. (Don Lafferty, for instance, does social networking for major corporations.) You can see more on the agenda here:

And of course, meeting some of the published authors on the faculty in person puts you in a good position when your novel sells and it's time to ask for a read with a view to an endorsement - "We met at the Backspace conference, and I was wondering . . ."

I know the conference is expensive, and anyone who comes has a fair amount invested in attending - but we work very hard to craft a really top-level program. And while you're in town, you can always have lunch with your agent!

I hope this helps - if you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask -

Rachel said...

Hi! First time poster, long time reader. I was wondering if anyone could tell me whether or not posting an excerpt of my work for this contest is a risky move, career wise. I'm guessing not, but some writer friends have expressed concern and I wanted to make sure before I make the leap.

Karen Dionne said...

Hi, Rachel -

Strictly speaking, anything that's posted on the Internet can be taken and reposted by someone else, even though you own the copyright to your excerpt by having written it.

Ideas, however, can't be copyrighted, and if yours is a killer concept, you might think twice about posting it on the Internet.

That said, if your book is finished or nearly so (which I'm assuming it is if you're interested in coming to New York to meet with agents), the risk of someone taking your idea and running with it as their own diminishes considerably. It takes a year or more to write a book, and by the time they finish, yours will be sold! :)

Rachel said...

Thanks, Karen! I think that's what my friends were concerned about, but I'm not too worried about my work or ideas being stolen. I've been working on this puppy for quite awhile now, so I know it can take years for a solid book to manifest :) I think for my part I was more concerned with posting my work online (when I was sixteen, I put my silly vampire novels online for free and then announced plans to publish them. Ooo boy), but I realize that 500 words isn't going to hurt anything. Just wanted to make sure. I appreciate your reply!

NotaWarriorPrincess said...

Thanks Karen; looks like my last comment didn't post--your answer was the info I was looking for!

french sojourn said...

Sorry to jump topics; Being new to this comment aspect of Mz Shark's environ.
Question: How often does the predator we know as Shark hold her Flash Fiction contests?

Enjoyed my first foray, will do better hopefully next time.

Any insights?
Thanks Hank