Countdown to Cupcakes: The Writer’s Conference

19 days. That’s how much time is left until the Boston Writing Workshop.

It will be my first writer’s conference. I’ve been to teacher training conferences, church conferences, parent conferences, writing classes, painting classes, computer classes, college classes, Sunday School classes–just no writer’s conferences. Yet. But now I’ve signed up and there’s no turning back.

On top of that, I’ve signed up to pitch my children’s book, Justin’s Cupcakes, to three different agents at that conference. For those of you not familiar with the publishing business (which, let’s face it, pretty much includes me, too), an author often needs an agent to get a book published through a publishing house. Of course, some people succeed with self-publishing, but I’ve decided to try this route first.

The conference offers a variety of informative sessions such as

–Everything You Need to Know about Query Letters

–Picture Book Intensive: Advice on Selling Your Children’s Book

–A Writer’s Guide to a Successful Book Launch

That’s just a few of the choices, and I’m really excited about all I’ll be able to learn. In addition to the structured courses, I’m looking forward to spending time with other writers and learning more about “the business.”

As far as the pitch appointments I’ve scheduled, each one is just ten minutes long. Ten minutes seems short, right?


In that 10 minutes, I am expected to:

  • Introduce myself
  • Give a synopsis of my book
  • Convince an agent why they want to sell my book to a publisher
  • Be ready to hand over or send a completed manuscript
  • Present a business card
  • Be ready to describe other projects I have in the works
  • Confidently say “I have other completed manuscripts available upon request”
  • And man, I have no idea what else

And none of the above includes anything that the agent might say or ask. I have researched for these meetings more than my 10th grade research paper on Silas Marner. OK, fine. I didn’t research at all for that. What? I got an A.

Anyway, learning the business of writing is almost definitely harder than writing.

Right now, my pitch includes some of the following:



The town of Butterville might be known for its traditional cupcake, vanilla with pink frosting, but Justin, tired of all that sameness, is determined to bake his own extraordinary ones. Just when it seems no one will even taste his different-looking desserts, he convinces his friend Ruby, who is visually impaired, to try a limeberry dazzle cupcake. The verdict: delicious! Word spreads that doing things your own special way makes for some spectacular, prize-winning pastries. Ruby’s brave taste test proves the truth about cupcakes and people — it’s the inside that counts!

Incidentally, I did paint this pink frosted cupcake, but the book won’t include my illustrations. Unless you’re an illustrator (an experienced one), publishers would rather match your manuscript with an illustrator they represent. Fine by me–it’s all I can do to get the words going for now.

No matter how much I prepare, it’s the first writing conference, so it feels like this:


It is little bit scary, but so is pretty much every awesome thing that’s ever happened to me. So in just 19 days, the bandage comes off.




I feel like I’m climbing up the giant ladder toward the high dive–and I’ve only had a couple of swimming lessons.



So if you’re willing, wish me luck, or cross your fingers, or pray, or send positive vibes, or whatever you’ve got. I’ll take it.

Here goes nothin’–or everything!

6 thoughts on “Countdown to Cupcakes: The Writer’s Conference

  1. This will be a piece if cake for you. (Instead of cupcake or pie). You are one of the bravest people I know. You stepped out and when through what you had to do to get Max. You did what you had to do for the wellfair of you family and moved to Connecticut. You are an amazing woman. This will be the beginning of a new chapter (literally) in your life. Proud of you for going for it. Also love you lots.


  2. I will soon say to friends, “I know that author.” You will be successful due to the joy you put into your writing. Your “Pie” stories were just the beginning. I could taste them as I read.
    Regarding your interviews I looked for a whimsical quote from one of my favorite authors, Mark Twain, to encourage you. Go into your interviews with as he wrote, The calm confidence of a Christian with four aces.”


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