A Writer’s Conference in the Mountains

I have been a fan of many Hay House publications for a number of years. Writers such as Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer dot my bookshelves and have often inspired me to move out of my comfort zone and reach for my goals, such as with a writing career. This year, when the opportunity came to attend The Writer’s Workshop in Ashville, NC, sponsored by Hay House, I knew I had to attend.

I drove twelve hours down to Ashville early last month to attend this weekend workshop and spend two additional days driving around the Blue Ridge Parkway. The weather was a little stormy, but I still enjoyed the journey down and the time alone driving through the woods in the Park, catching a breath-taking glimpse of the mountains here and there among the clouds. It was a very inspirational setting for a writer!

One-hundred and seventy new and wannabe writers from various states congregated at the Crowne Plaza Resort for this event. More than anything else, this was an inspirational workshop. I came out of there actually believing I could write an excellent book even if Hay House couldn’t publish it. New York Times best-selling author, Cheryl Richardson spoke of her humble beginnings and her journey to successful publication.  She was, in many ways, just like those of us dreaming to publish a book—simply armed with a story to tell that drove her passion. Reid Tracy, President and CEO of Hay House, spoke at length about the publishing industry, writing a book proposal, and what it takes to get published during these fast-changing times in the industry. I was struck by the realization that they are both everyday-kind-of people who are doing extraordinary things. No pretense, no self-importance, just genuinely real people. Videos of Louise Hay, Doreen Virtue and, Wayne Dyer describing their early writing experiences and tips for success were also quite enjoyable and helpful for new writers.

Hay House generally publishes non-fiction, self-help, inspirational books. To be successful in getting published with this genre, I learned that you need to show a publisher that you already have a following and that you are willing to do (or already doing) workshops, lectures and anything else it takes to sell your book. Gone are the days when the publisher does all the marketing. With fiction, the platform is not as important, but it definitely helps to have one. Series fiction, such as a trilogy, is popular now and can lead to greater success as an author. In these workshops, Hay House offers the unique opportunity to attendees to submit a book proposal directly to them without going through an agent. The lucky winner will receive a $10,000 book advance. The proposal is due in December, 2012. Since Mr. Tracy said they will consider any genre for this competition, I am planning to finish my novel and submit a proposal to them. I figure the worst that can happen is that I will have a novel almost ready to submit to another publisher or to self-publish. To me, that seems to be a win-win situation.