Below is a press release about an international letter writing contest that one of my clients is holding.
Her first book, DEAR MOM, I ALWAYS WANTED YOU TO KNOW was published by Perigee in 2002.
And this is one of my favorite writer/agent stories, so listen up.
I was invited to the Maui Writers Conference which I had heard was a very serious, prestigious conference (and it is). I didn't know that agents who went were required to meet with something like 60 writers in 4 days who pitched them their books in 15 minute intervals. I was exhausted and the last thing I wanted to do was meet more writers.
I had brought my son, who was about 8 at the time. We were eating sushi at a Japanese restaurant so expensive I couldn't afford to sit anywhere but the sushi bar (there were $4000 Samurai suits of armor on display). A woman sat near us, with one seat open. My son leaned over and asked, "Are you here for the writer's conference?"
She said, "yes."
"Would you like to join us for dinner?," he asked.
She nodded and moved one seat over.
I was shocked and gave him an awkward look. He answered, "Mom, you always tell me how hard it is to travel and eat alone?"
So that's how I met Lisa Delman, who was working on a self-help nonficiton book. It was good, but didn't knock my socks off, so I told her to keep on meeting with the agents she had interviewed but to contact me if she had any questions about the business.
We kept on running into each other throughout the conference, and we ended up flying half-way home together, so we kept in touch (we were about the same age and both single).
My son and I were traveling to DisneyWorld and I asked her if she wanted to see us. She agreed and picked us up and drove us around that day. We had a great time, and as she was chauffeuring us, she asked "Did I ever tell you about the time my mother almost died, went into a coma and the letters I wrote her that changed our life?"
"No," I said. "Show me those letters?"
After I read them, I said, "This is your book."
And that's how the idea for DEAR MOM was born.
She then did a proposal, which I shopped around, and all the editors said she needed the sample letters she hoped to include in the proposal.
So Lisa said, "I believe in myself and this book," and started her contest through Writers' Digest Magazine. She got thousands of letters.
I sold the book on the next submission round.
In all it took five years from the day we met at The Maui Writer's Conference, and she never met with me to represent her.
So this is a really good example of why you should go to Writer's Conferences and be open to what the writing universe has in store for you. And it's also a good example of What Comes Around, Goes Around.
So, if you can link this press release to any writer's groups you belong to, or just pass the word, we'd appreciate it.
“Dear Daughter” Contest Celebrates Special Bond Between Mothers and Daughters
ATLANTA (June 2007)— Lisa Delman and Robyn Freedman Spizman are giving mothers the opportunity to communicate their most intimate thoughts and feelings to their daughters by writing letters. To celebrate the strong foundations and lasting memories that are created and shared through letter writing, they are holding a contest for the most meaningful letters from mothers to daughters.
Lisa and Robyn believe that every woman is a mother in that she gives birth to something bigger than herself. For that reason, the contest is open to mothers writing stepdaughters, daughters-in-law, granddaughters, (legally or spiritually) adopted daughters, unborn daughters, deceased daughters, and “daughter” ideas. Judges will be looking for candid, honest letters that evoke strong emotion, and offer insight and depth. They encourage entrants to share their personalities, lessons learned, wisdom and reflections. The most original, well-written, poignant letters will be featured in the upcoming book Dear Daughter, On the Day You Were Born…
The Grand Prize Winner will receive $1,000; ten other winners will be awarded cash prizes and gifts from sponsors of the contest. Sponsors include Red Envelope, Photofiddle, ProFlowers, and A Perfect Pear. Submissions must be original, written in English and between 500-1000 words. Entries must be postmarked by September 31, 2007.
For more information, including inspiration questions to help you get started on your letter, visit www.lettersfromtheheart.com. www.lettersfromtheheart.com/deardaughter.htm
Lisa R. Delman turned to letter writing as a form of release when a massive heart attack left her mother on the brink of death. She gave the letters to her mother telling her everything she needed to say. Because of her mother's miraculous recovery and their healing process together, the Letters from the Heart Project was born to help women express themselves to their mother alive or passed on. An invitation for women to open their hearts by writing a letter to their mother, the project received thousands of letters from around the world. Dear Mom, I've Always Wanted You to Know...Daughters Share Letters from the Heart, a book of poignant letters, was born. The Letters from the Heart Project has been featured in national media such as The Hallmark Channel, Womens World, The Leeza Gibbons Show, NY Daily News, and the National Examiner. Lisa is an experienced public speaker and leads her own “heart-shops.”
Robyn Spizman is one of the most recognizable gift-giving experts today. A well-known media personality, she has appeared extensively on television and radio including, CNN, Headline News and NBC’s Today Show as a gifting expert. She has authored many how-to books including The Giftionary: An A-Z Reference Guide For Solving Your Gift Giving Dilemmas…Forever!, Make It Memorable: An A-to-Z Guide to Making Any Event, Gift, or Occasion…Dazzling!, The Thank You Book and When Words Matter Most. She has also appeared for over two decades on the NBC affiliate WXIA-TV as The Super Shopper and Super Mom in Atlanta and heard on Star 94 with a popular radio show titled The Giftionary, based on her book. Visit Robyn and check out her other books on the Web at www.robynspizman.com.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to interview Lisa Delman by phone nationwide or other arrangement.