More DFW Conference

We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.

Wednesday, I talked about some of the people I met at the DFW Writers’ Conference. Today I want to tell you a little more about some of the sessions and their presenters and a couple of the special events.

My first session was a presentation on networking at conferences by Brenna Smith.


Since I’ve confessed in earlier blogs that I’m one of those people who come to conferences and find an obscure corner to sit in while all the other attendees mingle with one another, this was a particularly important session for me.

One of the things Brenna told us was that everyone else there is just as scared as we are. I find that difficult to believe—I mean, look at them—they’re all talking and having fun. They all know one another except me.

No? Well, maybe not, but . . . do you think they are really as reticent as I am to walk up to strangers and start conversations? Are you? I guess I’ll just have to take Brenna’s word for that.

I don’t want to say too much about what this delightful young lady told us, because she has consented to write a blog on the subject for me to post. Watch for it in a couple of weeks.

Another delightful lady I met was Cheryl Ammeter.


In addition to her website, you can find her on IMDB, since she used to write for Barney & Friends and other television shows.

Cheryl has self-published her own book, and she talked about that experience and some of the pluses, as well as the extra work involved. She and others like Kait Nolan and Jillian Dodd were very encouraging about the prospects of success in self-publishing. Jill was not a presenter, but she has two highly successful YA novels on the market.

James Rollins took the other end of that stick. He firmly believes in the traditional publishing industry and has been extremely successful in his endeavors there.

Hard to argue with success. In his keynote address, he told us he only received forty-nine rejections before getting an agent to represent his first novel—including one from an agent who took the trouble to handwrite a note telling him it was unpublishable. I think there may be a message about perseverance somewhere in there. He also managed to put a lot of humor into his presentations—both in the keynote and in his sessions.

If you’ve ever attended a writers’ conference, you probably know what a gong show is. We had one on Saturday afternoon in which the moderator read query letters until three of the agent-panelists hit their gongs to stop him, after which they would explain their objections. Sunday afternoon, it was first pages instead of queries. It was both fun and informative to listen for the gongs and then hear what the agents said.

One impression I had as I left is one I’ve had for some time from all the writer friends I’ve made both in person and in cyber space. We writers are all interested in finding readers willing to spend money to buy our works. That could make us fierce competitors, but it doesn’t work that way. At this conference, just as on social media and in blogs, we all stand ready—even anxious—to help one another. That speaks very well of all of you out there.

What has another writer done to help you in your journey to authorship?

Have you attended a writers’ conference? What was your favorite part.

What do you do when thrown into a room full of other conferees? Come on, ‘fess up. I know you’re not ALL perfectly at ease.


Every Wednesday and Friday one of our Life List Club members posts a blog on the LLC Website. Today, Sherry Isaac, will post on that site.



After you comment on my post, be sure to come back here and click on the LLC Website so you can read hers also.


imageDavid N. Walker is a Christian father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years as a health insurance agent. Most of that career was spent in Texas, but for a few years he traveled many other states. He started writing about 20 years ago, and has six unpublished novels to use as primers on how NOT to write fiction. He is currently putting the finishing touches on his non-fiction Web Wisdom: Godly Thoughts and Inspiration from the Inbox and starting his new fiction work—a series of novellas set during the period from 1860 to 1880.

Contact me at or tweet me at @davidnwalkertx


About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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15 Responses to More DFW Conference

  1. Hi, David –

    I just discovered your delightful article tonight and I have to tell you that the DFW Writers’ Conference was a real eye-opener for me too. I accepted the invitation joyfully, but still, I wondered what in the world a writer with all of one book to her name was doing at such an event. The answer was somewhat mind-blowing. I truly have arrived at the right place at the precise moment in the history of publication to grab the reins and bring my story to life without the support of a big publication house. I came away from the conference knowing that I still had to master “The Twittersphere” as part of my indie efforts. Please stay in touch as you continue your journey and I will do my best to bring “Ivey and the Airship” and the rest of the Aether’s Edge series into this brave new world!

    Cheryl Ammeter


  2. Thanks for all the nice observations about the conference! I’ve also found that writers go out of their way to help one another. By the way, I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award:


  3. Barbara Estinson says:

    The writers’ conference sounds really great. I am a lot like you when I attend a conference or workshop, David. I’ve been to many, and unless I’m with someone I know, I sit off by myself and wonder how come everyone else seems to know each other well. I think we are both basically introverts who have learned how to act in an extroverted manner when necessary.


  4. Marji Laine says:

    Sounds like a great conference! I have been saving for my very first conference in September. Wish I could do more! So glad you enjoyed yourself!


  5. I was in Brenna’s class too! She’s amazing. Sorry I missed you, though, Would have loved to say hi and get to know you in RL (as opposed to twitter). Great recap and I look forward to Brenna’s future post 🙂


  6. Karlene says:

    Excellent recap. I had to smile on James Rollins’ comment… about traditional publishing. I suspect his great success gives him reason to love traditional publishing. I told students last week that I love my career and love where I’m at. And… to succeed with anything we watch what a successful person did, and do exactly the same thing. “But….” In my case… don’t do what I did. Eight airlines helped me to make it, but in today’s world, and the changing times… it’s not necessarily the path to follow. It’s all about perspective.


    • Whatever you’ve been doing seems to work. When our Fort Worth Star-Telegram features a big article about a writer from Seattle, that’s a pretty big deal in my opinion.


  7. Hi David! I would have pulled you out of that corner. 😉

    I haven’t been to a conference, but it is on my to-do list for 2012. I need to make sure I’m catching a good one. Sounds like I missed a great one. I will say my writing partner, El Farris, has helped me in real life and on the phone and as a critical eye. She just finished her first draft, and now I feel a little left behind. I have to hurry to catch up so we can start our edits together!


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