After hearing about it from friends and peers over the past several years, this was the first time I had the chance to attend the SuperStars Writing Seminar, held in Colorado Springs, CO. Haven’t heard about this event? It’s not your typical writing conference or convention, that’s for sure.
Many writing conferences out there focus heavily (if not exclusively) on the craft of writing. There may be some panels on agents and editors, how to pitch and whatnot, but the truly business side of the industry can easily go overlooked. SSWS was designed by a group of bestselling authors to eschew the craft of writing entirely in favor of the business elements, giving writers the knowledge, perspective, and insights necessary to build and sustain a long-term writing career. Attendees get to hear not only from a variety of bestselling authors, but also from numerous industry pros that include editors, technology developers, social media pioneers, and many others.
This year’s instructors and panelists headlined with: Kevin J. Anderson, Rebecca Moesta, James A. Owen, David Farland, Eric Flint, Toni Weisskopf, Mark Leslie, Jodi Lynn Nye, Ashleigh Gardner, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Dean Wesley Smith, Todd McCaffrey, Lisa Mangum, Peter Wacks, Allyson Longueira, and M. Scott Boone.
Many others came along for the ride, and the topics were as diverse as the faculty.
Let me just say this: If you’re serious about truly being a professional writer/author and want to be equipped with decades upon decades of experience-driven wisdom and strategies, give attending SuperStars Writing Seminar serious consideration. Even if you only attend once (and some people have been coming 5-6 years in a row), you’ll leave empowered and inspired, plus forever connected to people who will likely impact your writing career in surprising ways.
It was an incredible experience, to say the least. Just over 100 people attended (up from 60 in 2014), but it felt like a surprisingly tight-knit community–partly because many of us had interacted heavily online building up to the event itself. The people at SSWS (instructors included) focus intensely on being there for one another, being open and transparent about their triumphs, struggles, mistakes, and motivations, while simply supporting others who are trying to chart out their own unique path to writing and publishing success.
SSWS offers some hard realities, not shying away from the many challenges writers face in the current publishing environment, but also being quick to point out the many opportunities available if you’re willing to invest the time and energy to do it right. There was a large message of taking control of your own career, learning everything from protecting your intellectual properties, negotiation tactics, detailed understanding of contracts, what it’s like to work with Hollywood as an author, market research and analysis, indie, traditional, and hybrid writing options, and so much more.
On top of all that, the people you meet at the various dinners, minglers, or just hanging out in the lobby playing Cards Against Humanity for 3+ hours will have an equal–if not greater–impact on you. Even with people in different phases of their careers, it’s rare to be in a place full of so much talent and brilliance, not to mention the unquestioning welcoming attitude everyone possesses. I know for certain that folks I met here for the first time will still be around years down the road, and I look forward to being there for others in whatever manner I can.
I also look forward to applying much of what I learned to my own career as I launch two novels in my “debut author year” and start wrangling with the logistics of marketing, selling at cons, and connecting with new fans.
So. SuperStars Writing Seminar 2015 is over, sadly. A few of us lingered in the lobby into the wee hours, clinging on to the experience by our fingernails until exhaustion finally forced us to admit we had to shuffle back to our separate lives. The hard work of writing continues. Many stories wait to be told.
But I’ll gladly venture forward knowing I have this Tribe at my back along the way.
(Oh, and registration is already available for 2016.)