8 Reasons to Go to the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference

If you want to write with pride, passion, and purpose, here are eight ways the Third San Francisco Writing for Change Conference can help you:

1. Be inspired. You’ll hear inspiring keynotes from million-copy sellling authors. Dan Millman and John Robbins will tell you about their experiences as authors and what it takes to succeed.

2. Team up for success. At the last Change Conference, Cami Walker brought the manuscript for a book about giving 29 gifts in 29 days to help heal herself. She met her agent, Rita Rosenkranz, and her editor, Katie McHugh of Da Capo Press, and 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life spent several weeks on the New York Times extended bestseller list. Cami, Katie, and Rita will discuss how they did it at this year’s conference.

3. Learn from top-notch professionals. Authors, editors, and agents from both coasts will discuss writing, marketing, publishing, harnessing the power of the Web, and a wide range of books about change from the personal to the planetary. You’ll have the opportunity to network with them and pitch your book. You can see the program and the speakers, and register for the conference at www.sfwritingforchange.org.

4. Start a movement. Kirk Boyd met Jeevan Sivasubramanian, Executive Managing Editor at Berrett-Koehler, at the 2007 Change Conference. They’ll talk about how they made Kirk’s book, 2048: Humanity’s Agreement to Live Together, a San Francisco Chronicle bestseller for four weeks, and how Kirk is using his book to build a movement to create an enforceable agreement of human rights around the world.

5. See how pros do it. Mitch Horowitz, the Editor-in-Chief of Tarcher/Penguin, will wear two hats. He’ll give advice and listen to pitches as an acquiring editor. He’ll also do a session with his agent, Laurie Ann Fox, and his editor at Random House, Ryan Doherty, as the author of Occult America: White House Seances, Ouija Circles, Masons, and the Secret Mystic History of Our Nation. Occult America just received the 2010 PEN Oakdland/Josephine Miles Award for Literary Excellence.

6. Use your articles to sell your book. Tim Reiterman of the Associated Press, author of Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People will discuss how to write articles and use them to sell your book.

7. Go viral. Documentary filmmaker Vanessa Workman will show how you can use YouTube by making videos, book trailers, and documentaries to spread the word.

8. Enjoy the city. You can stay at the eco-friendly Hilton Financial, which is on the edge of Chinatown and North Beach, at the special conference rate of $119, so you can browse at the nearby landmark City Lights Bookstore and relax in North Beach’s coffee houses. You’ll also have the chance to spend time in San Francisco, America’s second largest writing and publishing center, one of the most beautiful, progressive, creative, literary, and inspiring cities in the world.

Another Opportunity! On Friday, November 12th, our brilliant colleague, Laurie McLean, will be opening the doors of San Francisco Writers University with “All About E-Books,” a comprehensive all-day symposium on the fastest-growing part of the book business. Information is on the website.

The Third San Francisco Writing for Change Conference: Writing to Make a Difference / November 13-14, Hilton Financial/Chinatown / www.sfwritingforchange.org / Keynoters: Million-copy selling authors Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior) and John Robbins (Diet for a New America).

Query Letters: The Hook, the Book & the Cook

A query letter should be like a skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to keep it interesting.

–Anon.

Agent Katharine Sands believes that the writing you do about your writing is as important as the writing itself. A query is a one-page letter, single-spaced, with a space between three or four indented paragraphs, and without sounding self-serving–it describes the why, what, and who: the hook, the book, and the cook:

  • The hook: whatever will best justify publishing your book

            * (Optional) a selling quote about your book (or a previous book) from someone whose name will give it credibility and/or salability. The quote could also be about you.

            * (Optional) the reason you’re writing the agent:

                        –the name of someone who suggested you contact the agent

                        –the book in which the author thanked the agent for selling that inspired you to write the letter

                        –where you heard the agent speak

                        –where you will hear the agent speak and hope to have the chance to discuss your book

            * Whatever will most excite agents about your book:

                        –the opening paragraph

                        –the most compelling fact or idea about your subject

                        –a statistic about the interest of people or the media in the subject or the number of potential readers

  • The book: the essence of your book:

            * A sentence with the title and the selling handle for the book, up to fifteen words that will convince booksellers to stock it. The models for it: one or two books, movies, or authors. “It’s Harry Potter meets Twilight.”

            * A one-sentence overview of your book, and if appropriate, what it will do for your readers

            * The book’s biggest market(s)

            * Its actual or estimated length

            * The length of your proposal and how many more pages of manuscript you have ready to send

            * (Optional) The names of people who have agreed to give a forward and cover quotes, if they’re impressive

            * (Optional) A link to illustrations, if they’re important

            * (Optional) Include the subjects or titles of the next two books, if you’re proposing a series

            * (Optional) Information about a self-published edition that will help sell it

  • The cook: Why you’re the right person to write the book

            * Your promotion plan: the four or five most effective things you will do to promote your book online and off, with numbers if they’re impressive

            * Your platform: the most important things you have done and are doing to give yourself continuing visibility with potential readers, with numbers if they’re impressive: your online activities, published work with links to it, and media and speaking experience with links to audio and video

            * (Optional) Your credentials; experience in your field; or years of research; prizes, contests, and awards in your field

Include anything else that will convince agents to ask to see your proposal.

A fothcoming post will tell you how to speed up the query process.

 The Third San Francisco Writing for Change Conference: Writing to Make a Difference / November 13-14, Hilton Financial/Chinatown / www.sfwritingforchange.org / Keynoters: Million-copy selling authors Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior) and John Robbins (Diet for a New America)

Two Bestselling Authors Who Are Making a Difference

In Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace…One School at a Time, Greg Mortensen recounts how a villager in Pakistan helps him in distress after he fails to climb K2, so he decides to build a school for the village. Starting with no money, connections, job, or place to live, he goes on to be responsible for building more than 145 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. This irresistibly inspiring book has been on the New York Times bestseller list since it was published in 2007 and led to a bestselling sequel: Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Education in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance which spent more than two years on the Times list, Barack Obama tells the remarkable story of growing up and his odyssey to Hawaii and Kenya in search of his roots. His life enlarges the sense of possibility for what someone born in about the least likely circumstances to become President can accomplish. His is one of the greatest personal triumphs in history. He followed it up with another bestseller: The Audacity of Hope.

Dreams and Three Cups are remarkable books that are changing lives. The authors prove Thoreau’s belief that the greatest advantage is to have no advantage. If Greg Mortenson can start with nothing and establish more than 145 schools, and Barack Obama can become President, what can you accomplish?

Thousands of writers have successful books every year. If they can do it, you can. It’s time for you to start fulfilling your potential. How the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference can help you is the subject of the next post.

The Third San Francisco Writing for Change Conference: Writing to Make a Difference Time / November 13-14, Hilton Financial/Chinatown / www.sfwritingforchange.org / Keynoters: Million-copy selling authors Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior) and John Robbins (Diet for a New America)

Writing for Change: From Passion to Publication, Part 2

Here is the rest of the road from passion to publication:

Give Voice to Your Ideas

Speaking to groups enables you to get feedback on your ideas and connect with supporters and potential readers.

Endow Yourself With a Higher Form of Authority

When you have a book’s worth of information, and the visibility and plan to promote it, you’re ready to sell your book. Write a proposal with an overview about the book and you, an outline, and a sample chapter. Find an agent or sell it yourself.  A published book will give you instant credibility with anyone. It will bring followers to your banner and opportunties to speak and write.

Communicate with Your Communities

Ask your communities of writers and people in your field to help you write and spread the word about your book. Reciprocate.

Stay Committed to Your Goals

Relentlessly communicating the change you want will help make it happen. You must  persevere and continue to grow in your ability to help your cause.

Expect Resistance

People and institutions tend to change only when the promise of more pleasure or less pain convince them it will be worth the effort. The greater the change you propose, the greater the resistance it will encounter and the longer it will take. But the fall of the wall, the peaceful revolution in South Africa, and the irreversible drive to clean energy prove that anything is possible.

You can accomplish far more than you think you can. Can your life serve a better purpose than trying bring about a change you believe in?

The next post describes two bestsellers that are making a difference.

The Third San Francisco Writing for Change Conference: Writing to Make a Difference / November 13-14, Hilton Financial/Chinatown / www.sfwritingforchange.org / Keynoters: Million-copy selling authors Dan Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior) and John Robbins (Diet for a New America)

Writing for Change: From Passion to Publication

The world desperately needs solutions to the problems it faces. If you want to create any kind of change from the personal to the planetary, how can you go from passion to publication? Here’s how:

Feed Your Passion

Writing about change starts with a driving passion for helping people with their personal development or being a catalyst for change in your community or beyond. Your passion and belief in the need for change will enable you to meet whatever challenges you encounter.

Choose Your Goals

Using agents of change who have made a difference, such as Al Gore and Ralph Nader, as models will help you clarify what you want to accomplish and how to do it.

Find Out What You Need to Know

Learn enough about your subject so you can write about what the change is, why it’s needed, its effects, and how to bring it about. Events; organizations; experts on the subject; the communities of people you know online and off; and print, broadcast, and electronic media will help you acquire the knowledge you need.

Develop the Craft of Combining Vision, Passion, and Information

  •  Be active in social media that relate to your subject.
  • Post to blogs on your subject.
  • Start a blog of your own.
  • Write articles, letters to the editor, and fan letters to authors and other authorities on your subject.
  • Review books on your subject.
  • Create videos and podcasts to help spread the word.

Using the Web will also enable you to test-market ideas as you build visibility, credibility, and communities of people to help you.

            The next post will tell you how to tranform your passion into a book.

The Third San Francisco Writing for Change Conference: Writing to Make a Difference / November 13-14, Hilton Financial/Chinatown / www.sfwritingforchange.org / Keynoters: Million-copy selling authors Millman (Way of the Peaceful Warrior) and John Robbins (Diet for a New America)

2048: From a Bestseller to a Movement

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

–Eleanor Roosevelt

Kirk Boyd is a visionary. He’s an attorney who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law where he is executive director of the 2048 Project. He’s also a client and the author of 2048: Humanity’s Agreement to Live Together.

Kirk met Jeevan Sivasubramanian, executive managing editor at Berrett-Koehler, at the San Francisco Writing for Change Conference. BK published 2048 last April, and it spent four weeks on the San Francisco Chronicle bestseller list.

Kirk wants 2048 to change the world, and he’s using the book to help build a movement. He is a passionate advocate for his dream of having an enforceable International Convention on Human Rights, signed by every country by 2048. The date will be the hundreth anniversary of the signing by the United Nations of Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which Eleanor Roosevelt helped to write.

Kirk and Jeevan will discuss how to make a book a regional bestseller and build a movement at the Third San Francisco Writing for Change Conference, November 13-14, 2010, at the eco-friendly Hilton/Financial, www.sfwritingforchange.org. Berrett-Koehler is a conference sponsor, www.bkpub.com.

Kirk wants everyone to help write the declaration by contributing to it by mail or by email at www.2048.berkeley.edu. You’re welcome to help him change the world by participating. Kirk is a perfect example of how one writer can make a difference. If you have a dream about creating change, the conference can help you make it a reality.