Today I was a speaker at George Washington University on a panel discussing women's literature and chicklit. It was a great experience! Published authors always talk about the importance of networking and marketing yourself. I saw it first hand today. I met some great people who had ideas on how I could move forward with my writing projects.
The other speaker on the panel was a GWU teacher who did her dissertation at Delaware on Chicklit (although, her professor wouldn't let her use the specific term in her dissertation's title...) She is introducing me to her friend who's a published author and who is starting a writer's circle. A writer's circle is a group of writers who give each other constructive critism and tips on writing/publishing. I've been looking for a circle that includes authors focusing on women's fiction.
An audience member also gave me a great tip. She's the Director of Engagement at GWU's Hillel. She would like me to speak again with her specific contingent. I'm looking forward to that! She also said that Lilith Magazine is looking to do a story on Washington DC writers, so she is planning to give them my name. Lilith magazine features award-winning investigative reports, new rituals and celebrations, first-person accounts both contemporary and historical, entertainment reviews, fiction and poetry, art and photography--all with a focus on Jewish women.
Third, another audience member talked to me about Book Expo America. The next conference is in NYC on May 26th. Many authors, publishers, and agents congregate at the BEA to trade ideas and network. I hadn't heard of the conference before, but I'm looking into new avenues for networking, so it was a great tidbit of info.
All in all, the speaking engagement today was a fulfilling use of time...and fun! It was interesting to discuss favorite authors with other women. We also had an intellectual conversation about why the term chicklit is a bit dirty in the publishing world--why the genre went downhill after an influx of poorly written books in the beginning 2000's--an how chicklit writers are reinventing themselves under the term "women's fiction" or just plain "literary fiction" instead.
Thank you again to Erica for setting this up and inviting me!