Thursday, my father and I went to a "Talking Books" meeting with Brandon Sanderson, Mark Buehner, and Lisa Mangum. It was a wonderful and informative evening. All three of these individuals are funny and talented people.
Brandon related his hate of reading as a child until one of his teachers gave him an adult fantasy novel with dragons and a witch having a midlife crisis. He realized stories could be more interesting than the lower level children's reading he was being fed by everyone else. He now teaches writing, writes incredibly imaginative books, and co-produces an excellent podcast on writing called Writing Excuses. This podcast has been pivotal in shifting my writing from just something for myself to something I could sell to others.
Mark is a professional illustrator who does children's books, including one that my Mother got for the grandkids and tending kids to read called Fanny's Dream. He illustrates for many of his wife's books and others. My only regret here is not realizing that he was the illustrator for that book, otherwise I would have grabbed my mom's copy to be signed by him.
Lisa was particularly informative and helpful to both me and my dad. She helped explain the publishing house's side of things. Although I went Indie for my first two books, I would love to have partners in the creative process. Being independent, I found that I can write, get professional editing, do covers, sales, and promotion. But wearing all of the other hats in a publishing house takes away from my time to wear the author hat. My only regret in meeting Lisa was that I didn't have my own business cards ready yet to give her and get my foot in the door on a personal level with Deseret Book. I will likely send her a thank-you note as that is the courteous and professional thing to do... and maybe still open doors in the future. Good karma works.
I hope our local library does more of these Talking Books events. They're amazing.