And Then It Was Over

MICHAEL GLASSFORD writes petitions by day and adventure stories by night. He majored in English at B.Y.U. before obtaining his Head Shot 2J.D. from Washburn Law. For the last eleven years, he has practiced law in Missouri and Utah.

Michael’s exciting debut Y.A. adventure, Fog of Fortune, was self-published in 2014. Book two in the Silversword Chronicles, Quick Silver, is due to be released as early as the Fall of 2016.

He is currently working on a Y.A. Fantasy, Uncommon, and two legal non-fictions dealing with divorce and business. Michael’s firm, Legal Ink, focuses on helping writers form and run their businesses.

He also does freelance editing for Rockword Editing and Heather Moore at Precision Editing Group.

If that is not enough, Michael also operates Oregano Italian Kitchen, in Provo. They received Best of State Italian 2016 and are located on Center street, Provo.
Books:

1. Fog of Fortune (Paperback) (Winner of the 2014 Best Young Adult Manuscript  LUW Contest. )
Fog of Fortune Part One (e-Book)
Fog of Fortune Part Two (e-Book)
2. Quick Silver – Draft stage
3. Uncommon – Draft stage

  1. You Failed at Marriage, Don’t Fail at Divorce – Draft stage
  2. So You Wrote A Book: Legal Questions to ask between “The End” and “The Sale.” – Draft stageGenres:
    Y.A. | Middle Grade| Adventure | Fantasy | Flash Fiction | Non-FictionLinks:
    FacebookTwitter. Subscribe to my blog and website. Connect on LinkedIn.

LDStorymakers 2016 has come and gone. It was an amazing conference, as usual. For three days we basked in each other’s company; remembering that we are not alone. We learned from mentors, peers, and friends. Some of us even got our groove on out on the dance floor while others connected with their fellow writers in other fun ways.

Then it was over.

Afterward, we zealously thanked the committee and the volunteers for their hard work. They deserve it. Thank you. For days and even weeks, my Facebook feed was filled with post-conference excitement and “love for the tribe.” But now a month has gone by. We have returned to our families, to our daily lives and hopefully to our works in progress.

So what did we learn from Storymaker’s this year? What was our take away? Storymakers pic

Like the practice of law, writing is an amazing process and there is always something more to learn or perfect.  When we write, most of us turn inward. And from that safe place, we create fantastic worlds, interesting characters, and equally wonderful pros. We lavish in the writing experience, we struggle through the editing process, and then our book is ready for general consumption.

Today’s writer also needs to be a businessperson, a marketer, a publicist and so much more.  As an attorney, I spend a lot of time helping authors build their businesses. Part of a successful business plan is assembling a publication team that will help accomplish our goals, whether that is traditional publishing or self-publishing.

At the heart of your business, is your brand, which is essentially you, or the message that you wish to project to the public. Your brand is the product of relationships you form with family, friends and ultimately your audience. I was recently told that, “Your net worth is only as strong as your network.” This is crucial.

Storymakers, and conferences like it, are the perfect place to form your network, to make new friends. Each year we come to the conference not only to learn from one another, but to be with our tribe. Hopefully, the experience is rejuvenating and you leave the conference with your batteries charged.

This year I came to Storymakers with the additional goal to make new relationships and strengthen the ones I have. Spending three days with like-minded individuals is the best time to come out of our shells, to smile and to make new friends.

For those of us who struggle with this. Start small. Most of us like to people watch. So do that. Take some mental notes. What are other authors doing to form relationships? How are they projecting themselves? What are they saying? Of the many authors present, whose style is most like yours? Then try it out.

Part of any successful marketing campaign is your “Why?” Why do you do what you do? The most successful business achieves that success because their “Why” is genuine. The message does not matter as much as whether they believe it. Have you spent time considering your “Why”? Have you written it down? Can you drop it, like a motto, at any time? If not, you have some work to do. Once you decide what your “why” is, share it. Mine is to change the world with a smile. Everything I do is based off that simple premise. The same concept works in forming relationships.

Believe it or not, it is hard for me to open up. For that reason, I appreciate all of the different venues that the organizers of Storymakers give us to do so.  Critique sessions, classes, activities, and meet and greets give us the same opportunities in slightly different ways.

On Thursday, I participated in Charlie Holmberg’s Critique Session.  I enjoyed listening, reading, giving and receiving feedback. I learned charliesomething from each writer at the table. How they presented themselves, their business and their work. Working together is always a great way to form relationships as long as you engage.

Each class is another opportunity. Not only do we get to learn stuff, but we get to watch the experts. Our mentors and peers are teaching these classes, not only for their wisdom but because they have practiced and proven themselves as good communicators. Note how they teach. Is it effective? What messages did you take away? And what did the presenter do to make that part of the message resonate within you? I attended a class by Michael Young. It was early in the morning, but Michael was pleasant and cheerful, as he always is. That is a part of his personality; it is a part of his brand.

Meal time is also a great opportunity too. Why not come out of your comfort zone to try something new? You really have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Try sitting with people you don’t know for a change. We miss opportunities if we sit with the same people each time. It is hard to get to know a stranger so be prepared with things to talk about.

I am not suggesting being fake or unnatural. Be yourself. Take note about what worked for you and what did not. Did you express a genuine desire to get to know who you talked with? I made a friend at dinner during one of the keynote. He knows who he is. I am excited to get to know him better. Part of starting relationships is LDSstorymakers Conf. 2010follow up. What is your plan to re-connect? If you don’t have one, that is another missed opportunity. Take a business card, or write a name down, and then reach out. The relationships that we form with each other are important. They motivate us and help us do what we do best; write. More importantly, we get to do the same for others.

It was said at a past conference that, “We are not inspired by God to write.” Whether that is the case or not is debatable. However, we can be the source of inspiration for our fellow writers. A smile, a conversation, and a friendship can change the world. It defiantly can change our imaginary worlds we call fiction.

True success at a convention is leaving enriched. That includes the knowledge you gained and the relationships you formed. These make us stronger as writers. The experience is not the same without it. Remember meaningful relationships are hard to come by, unless you build them yourself.

Jennifer Bennett

About Jennifer Bennett

Jennifer J. Bennett was born in Southern California as the youngest of six children. Her imagination began to develop as a child creating worlds in her backyard. Books have always played a big role in her life; favorites growing up were “The Country Bunny” by Dubose Heyward, “The Light in the Attic”by Shel Silverstein, and “Island of the Blue Dolphins” by Scott O’ Dell among many, many others. She also enjoys music, theater, travel, and cooking.

Jennifer moved from Southern California in 1989 and finished high school in Southern Utah where she met her husband Matthew Bennett who currently works in educational administration. They reside in St. George, Utah with four amazing kids: Haylee, Chase, Conner, and Libby. After her father was diagnosed with cancer, she began writing her first novel, “The Path”. Her father encouraged her to move forward with her writing and she has continued since. He passed away in 2009.

Jen, as her friends call her; can be found buzzing around California from time to time in search of magical elements from the past. She tries to balance fun, being a mom, and trying to be a grownup (which she really isn’t sure she ever wants to be).

Visit Jen’s blog at: http://www.jjbennett.com/

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