“Some people think publishing is a business, but it’s really a casino.”

This was one of the memorable quotes and ideas I jotted down while attending a panel of published authors, agents and editors produced by Sue Shapiro, an award-winning writing professor, last Friday night. My friend arrived early and got us front row seats at the New School facility where it was held.

My first photo didn’t include the fabulous Renée Watson in the capture. Here she is on the right side, the proud and successful author with a 5-book deal ahead of her.

It was a lively discussion followed by a Q+A with the audience. Here are my take-aways:

  • Laura Esther Wolfson segmented her chapters For Single Mothers Working as Train Conductors not by chronology but by her failures.
  • Arthur Miller was quoted: The only thing worth writing about is the unspeakable.
  • A hot topic these days (from an editor/agent) is reckoning with masculinity.
  • Questions Sue posed to the panelists:
    • What are people doing wrong (in their publishing endeavors)?
    • What mistakes have your made?
    • What’s the best advice you can give?
      • Answers: Writing is a craft that takes time to master. Practice! If you want to be a good writer, READ! Revisions, revisions, revisions. It’s a business. Enlarge your reading universe.

I bought a couple of the authors books which were on sale after the event. I’ve already read This Is How I Save My Life, a deeply inspiring memoir by Amy B. Scher. 

Writing my memoir has already consumed (happily) four years of my life. Attending this event re-invigorated me on my own journey.

Share This