What I Learned at my First Writer’s Workshop

Thank you immensely to Andrea Kuhn Boeshaar, Lisa Lickel, and Shellie Neumeier for the free workshop in West Bend, WI. It was well worth the drive!  Here are the things I learned . . .

About Conferences & Publishing:

  • Before a conference, find and read 5 books similar to yours and target those publishers and agents. Be sure and find what your uniqueness is, however, and don’t just pitch that you are “like so and so.”
  • Have business cards and maybe post cards or a one sheet about your work, but realize most people will not want to take more than the business card.
  • Make your ACFW conference appointments early and carefully.
  • When a group of editors or agents are sitting together at a conference, leave them alone to talk shop.
  • Keep your pitch and book description down to 30 seconds, no rambling.
  • Large publishing houses require agents, but mid and small sizes houses will work with writers directly.
  • Research Sites about Agents — Guide to Literary Agents,  Predators and Editors

About Writing:

  • Use “What If” questions to expand your writing ideas. Then define Character, Setting and Conflict. Then flush out the Character by defining Goal, Conflict and Motivation.
  • End your scenes and chapters with hook elements that lead to page turning such as deception, worry, betrayal, and unanswered questions.
  • Keep your character sketches on file in case of sequels.
  • Don’t forget to braid internal, external and spiritual conflict into your plot line.
  • Recommended Books —  James Scott Bell, Plot and Structure / Randy Ingermanson Writing For Dummies

About Small Business:
(I am not an accountant. This is not advice. Please check all this info with a CPA or IRS before taking any kind of action).

  • There is a very small chance you will be audited.
  • Don’t deduct your home office until you talk to your accountant.
  • It’s mileage or a gas deduction, not both. In an audit, the IRS will also want to know non-business mileage totals.
  • Credit card rewards are taxable.
  • Royalties are subject to double FICA.
  • Every receipt needs to identity who, what, where, when, why and how much to satisfy an auditor (credit and bank statements are not sufficient).
  • If a receipt is missing during an audit you will lose the deduction.
  • Don’t bother with Corp status. Sole Proprietor or LLC is fine.
  • The IRS can go back farther then 10 years.
  • You cannot post a loss for over 3 years and take deductions (it is then considered a hobby).
  • Create a business plan because your book proposal requires it anyway.

On a Personal Note:

  • Being a writer is very possible, but will take hard work.
  • This industry has many generous people.
  • I am grateful for sage advice.


  1. It was a treat to see you (behind the way cool glasses). I’m glad you took something to build on, and you know I’m already a fan of your essays. Keep ’em coming! I love to see your work.

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