Saturday, May 26, 2007

CAPA University

4th Annual CAPA University a Success
by Peggy Gaffney

On May 12 authors and potential authors gathered at the Hartford Steam Boiler Conference Center for an exceptional professional development day. The sellout crowd had the rare opportunity to hear from keynote speaker Marcella A. Smith, Director of Small Press and Vendor Relations for Barnes & Noble. Her talk and the questions she answered in the follow-up session dealt with the specific nuts and bolts of getting your book onto the shelves of Barnes & Noble.

This was followed with a panel of 14 agents and marketing experts who took questions from the group with topics on how to get an agent and what will an agent do for them. They were informed that bribes and unannounced visits to their homes are not the way to get an agent to read your book. They were also told that in today’s market, before an agent even sees the work it had better be polished to perfection.

The face to face, one on one 15 minute meetings between agents and participants where writers could pitch their books followed. Those agents attending were: Lauren E. Abramo from Dystel & Goderich Literary Agency, Marilyn Allen from Allen O’Shea Literary Partners, Kathi Paton from Kathi J. Paton Literary Agency, Rebecca Strauss from McIntosh & Otis, Regina Brooks from Serendipity Literary Agency, Katharine Sands from Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency, Rita Rosenkranz from Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency, Gina Panettieri, Exec. Editor (owner/founder) Talcott Notch Literary Services, Jack Scovil from Scovil Chichak Galen Literary Agency, Maya Rock from Writers House, Dr. Uwe Stender from TriadaUS Literary Agency, Mary Beth Chappel from Zachary Shuster Hrmsworth, Eric Kampmann from Midpoint Trade Books, and Brian Jud from Book Marketing Works.

Small group breakout sessions were held throughout the day. Each speaker covered a different genre or approach. They were: Building Worlds and Making Magic with Annie Kelleher, RX for a Healthy Plot with Kristi Petersen, Don’t Murder Your Mystery! With Roberta Isleib, How to Write an Irressistible non-Fiction Book Proposal with Rita Rosenkranz, Writing for the Op-Ed Page with James Smith, Writing on Spec for Hollywood: Screen Writing Dos and Don’ts with Peter Fox, Getting it onto the Library Shelf panel with David Garnes, Jim Benn & Mary Etter, A Little Help from Our Friends panel discussion, Publishing in More than one Genre with Lauren Baratz-Logsted, Working with a Book Printer with Tom Campbell, Working with an Agent with Gina Panettieri, To Market, To Market: Finding Freelance Markets with Patricia D’Ascoli, Create a Buzz and Make Money Using Amazon. Com with Dennis Schleicher, Positioning, Positioning, Positioning! with Deborah Werksman and a last minute addition Writing the Graphic Novel with Mark Ellis and Melissa Martin Ellis.

With all these sessions plus good food and good company, the day was declared a success by all.

Peggy Gaffney serves as co-editor of The Authority and is the author of several knitting books in The Crafty Dog - Knits series published by Kanine Knits. She has spent almost 40 years showing dogs and has had a knitting design studio specializing in dog portraits in knitting since 1995. She is a former columnist for both the AKC Gazette and the Samoyed Quarterly.

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