Superstars Writing Seminar Review
Superstars Writing Seminar Review
Okay, folks it’s time for the Superstars Writing Seminar Review. Crack your knuckles. Bun that hair. Get those glasses situated. Take your pants off . . . wait. Wrong blog, hang on.
*1 lifetime later*
ALRIGHT, we’re in the right one now. Y’all ready for a review? I’m slowly getting there. Good golly Molly, one wrong sentence in this post and I’ll lose half my friends on Facebook. This is touchy stuff we’re digging into today. Not only am I reviewing a conference that’s built up confidences, raised bestsellers, and made people rich . . . I’m criticizing it too.
Now, if you’re impatient you can scroll down to the highlights of this blog. If not. . . we’re about to go on a journey.
Here we go.
Superstars Writing Seminar (SSWS)
Superstars Writing Seminar is a conference held in Colorado Springs that was built up by, none other than, Kevin J. Anderson. Yeah yeah, the Star Wars and Dune dude. Millions of books sold. Millions of dollars made. Millions of lives forever altered by his words . . . you get it. It was also founded by Kevin Flint, David Farland, Rebecca Moesta, and James A. Owen. They also have millions sold, millions made, and millions changed. All around just an epic concentration of greatness.
Dates and Cost
Dates: February 8-11th or 9-11th if you don’t do Craft Day
Cost: $799 if you register now, plus additional costs for add ons like Craft Day and the VIP Dinner where a host like Kevin J. Anderson sits with you and get to pretend you’re famous for two hours . . . it’s really cool.
If this is your first time, VIP dinner over Craft Day anytime.
The Meat and Potatoes
Their main schtick here is that by joining the conference, you’ll be a member of the ‘Tribe’.
Now, if you’re like me, this is where it gets tricky.
Tribe. Family. Cohort. Friends. All are promised if you attend their conference and they hit this HARD. 'Tribe' is in all the promotions, all the Facebook posts, all the conversations about SSWR . . . And it’s a little hokey in my opinion.
But is it true?
Never mind my distaste for strangers accepting me like family, that’s something I can work out in therapy.
Is. It. True?
Well, kind of. Yeah! I’d say it’s completely true.
I made some great contacts, got taken to dinner by some presenters, got my first pages read, and pitched my novel to a real, live agent. The last one went horribly, but that’s a story for another time. And stay tuned, because it’s a good one.
I actually met people that weren’t just there to critique my writing, look out for themselves, or tear their way to the top. Everyone there wanted to help. Genuinely. It went overboard sometimes.
The point is - 5/5 star friendliness factor.
Was it Helpful?
Now, was it informational?
I learned 4 major facts at the conference that apply to people in very different ways, so if I say something that doesn’t apply to you, well, it doesn’t apply to you. Keep truckin’ honey.
1. Traditional publishing doesn’t have a great payoff in the beginning, even if you get a six-figure deal right out of the gate.
2. According to an esteemed agent, Urban Fantasy is dead to Traditional Publishing. Guess what I write, I dare you.
3. Hybrid publishing is best for making money and supporting yourself through writing.
4. A solid self-published book release costs around $1200 (Publishing cost, marketing, cover art, ISBN numbers, etc.)
Want more context for these facts? WELL SO DO I.
Just kidding, it’s coming, I swear.
I was angry at learning these things so we’re giving it 4/5 stars out of principle. AND for the fact that they had a “How NOT to Hurt while writing: ergonomics for writers” presentation. I thought they were talking about the emotional turmoil of writing. 45 minutes later and knee-deep in images of back pain and carpal tunnel, I found I was sorely mistaken. I don’t know how they could have made the topic clearer but DAMMIT it should have been clearer.
Kate, None of This is Good News.
EXACTLY WHAT I THOUGHT
Now, how much of what I learned is true? It probably varies from person to person. I know that is such an overly nice answer, but it’s accurate.
For me, I’m confident that hybrid publishing is the correct way for me to go (at this time). Now, if I were to land the Big Five and consistently get six-figure deal after six-figure deal . . . well, things would drastically change on my part.
The point is, no matter what your goal is, you want to keep the options open.
But is Urban Fantasy really dead? I have no idea. My gut tells me there’s a huge audience for it, but the agent said publishers aren’t picking it up right now. Again, it could totally change. If you’re in my boat, don’t give up. If it’s meant to happen, it’ll happen . . . which, yes, is an annoying phrase I like to throw out. Let go, Let God.
There was good news about the price of releasing a self-published book. $1200? That’s way less than I was thinking. My brain was in the 5k range and that was . . . unacceptable to say the least.
Now how to have a successful launch?
Girl, I ain’t got a clue.
But that’s what this blog is! I’m figuring it out and taking you along with me. We’ll laugh, we’ll cry, and we’ll question what fresh hell is this every single week. It’ll be awesome . . . ly painful, but I’ll go through it so you don’t have to.
Was it a Fun Conference?
Uh . . . yeah. Some of them are wild. They closed out the bar every night and woke at the crack of dawn, the only torch lighting their way being coffee and altitude sickness.
Plus, something I was not expecting, it’s actually kind of nice to be around writers. I’ve been trucking it alone so long that I didn’t expect to enjoy the camaraderie. The commiseration. The friendships. I prayed for a very long time about this conference, and it was more than I could have hoped for.
Now, I’m not going to say I’m fueled up and even more excited to write than I’ve ever been. If anything, I’m exhausted from talking to people for four days.
But some people had life-changing experiences, job offers, books sold to agents and publishers, and ideas for their next book.
Now, I will say that I got the idea for my next series on the plane ride home. And that in itself was pretty cool.
Also, the material was always delivered in the most interesting way possible. I only yawned twice and that’s saying something!
Did This Conference Build Writing Skills?
Honestly, I’m going to say probably not. This isn’t a conference that’s built to make you a better writer, they kind of just assume you’ve got that going on already. This conference teaches you the business of being a writer.
How to pitch to agents.
How to write a query letter.
How to make multiple streams of income as a writer.
This is what they teach you.
If you’re interested in their writing presentations, you need to add on Craft Day for another $200. Here you get to hear from people like Lisa Mangum and Jim Butcher on how to build character relationships and how to create great protagonists and antagonists. But no, I wouldn’t say these workshops were life-changing.
Not yet at least, let me put some of these things into practice and I’ll update you.
Rating: 2/5 stars. Not in a shady way, just in a they-don’t-specialize-in-this way.
Was there a chance for connection? Dude, I met Kevin J. Anderson. I met James A. Owen. I was taken to lunch by Ken Bebelle and Julia Vee who had their book Cold War: Alien Storm picked up by an agent in eight query letters.
I met an authors' assistant who’s teaching me to create graphics. I met Malorie Cooper who owns the Writing Wives and offered to consult with me on self-publishing my book.
I met a woman that helped me hone my pitch before going into the lion’s den.
Yeah. The chance for connectivity is beyond anything. This is why you go to SSWS. Tribe. And if you don’t want to call it that, then pick another word, ‘cause these people are going to have your back, and you’re going to have theirs.
Rating: 5/5 stars.
Was it Worth the Price?
Great conference. Great people. Great Time.
Personal rating? 5/5 stars.
The average star rating came out to a whopping 4.3/5 stars.
Anything above 3.5 is a go for me.
Totally and completely WORTH IT.
Aight. Stay saucy sunshine.