CHARLOTTE—At the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Fall Conference, Erika Marks will lead the session "The Perfect Pitch" alongside fellow novelists Kim Boykin and Kim Wright.
Fall Conference runs November 2-4, at the Hilton Charlotte University Place. Registration is open through October 26.
Erika Marks is the author of five women’s fiction novels for Penguin’s NAL imprint: Little Gale Gumbo, The Mermaid Collector, The Guest House, It Comes in Waves, and The Last Treasure—as well as several romance novellas for Tule Publishing. Having written and submitted over a dozen manuscripts before receiving her first contract, she knows that the road to publication can be both challenging and deeply rewarding. She has led workshops for writers on all aspects of the publication process, as well presented on topics of craft. Originally from New England, she spent nearly the last decade in beautiful North Carolina and has recently moved to Maryland.
This year, NCWN has been celebrating publishers based in North Carolina, so we asked Erika to answer the following prompt:
"Congratulations! You've inherited a large fortune, on the condition that you use it to start your own publishing house. What kind of books are you going to publish?"
Here's what Erika said:
"When I'm asked what books formed my early understanding of the craft of storytelling, I always answer—brace yourselves!—comic books. I was a card-carrying, comic book junkie, devouring them and the escape they offered on their wonderfully fragrant and flimsy newsprint pages.
"Now my daughters are growing up with an ever-growing collection of graphic novels, and if I weren't constantly digging into their stash, I would surely be bitter at their generation's good fortune. I am blown away by the diversity and ingenuity and all-around-brilliance of today's graphic novelists—the writers and illustrators who are expanding and reinventing the craft of story in ways that inspire me as a writer, and certainly as a reader.
"Which is why, with my windfall, I'd choose to open a publishing house for graphic novels, and continue to support this exciting and ever-changing genre."
It’s one thing to write a book—but it takes a whole other skill set to describe it, especially if you only have a single page to intrigue an agent or editor. Even if writers aren’t pitching this go-round, at some point everyone needs to ask themselves “What’s the major premise of my book?”
In The Perfect Pitch, novelists Kim Boykin, Kim Wright, and Erika Marks—who have collectively published twelve books with Big Five publishers—will give you tips on what makes an effective pitch and how to break your big idea down into a few potent paragraphs. Then we’ll divide into small groups to tweak and practice pitches. By the end of this session you’ll be able to describe your latest work in a concise and compelling way so that when it’s your turn at the Manuscript Mart or the elevator stalls, you’ll be ready!
Fall Conference attracts hundreds of writers from around the country and provides a weekend full of activities that include lunch and dinner banquets with readings, keynotes, tracks in several genres, open mic sessions, and the opportunity for one-on-one manuscript critiques with editors or agents. Master Classes will be led by Judy Goldman (Creative Nonfiction), Maureen Ryan Griffin (Poetry), Randall Kenan (Fiction), who, as a 2018 inductee into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame, also will give the Keynote Address.
The nonprofit North Carolina Writers’ Network is the state’s oldest and largest literary arts services organization devoted to all writers, in all genres, at all stages of development. For additional information, visit www.ncwriters.org.