Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance

Insights from the Writer’s Conference: A Self-Published Memoir Can be a Winner


one view from room (2)

The view from my room at the conference

Greetings from the final day of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writer’s Conference. We’ve been blessed with perfect weather since Sunday, and it looks like that blessing will continue this morning. I’ve been thankful for the opportunity to strengthen my leg muscles as I climb the steps to different buildings and for the evening serenades from a soothing diversity of frog voices. I’m thankful for the support of new friends and for the enrichment of friendships that encouraged me to come here.

I’ve learned a lot this week. A 15 minute critique packed with suggestions revealed that I still have plenty of “show don’t tell” details to add to my memoir. The fact that publishing companies are not fond of memoirs, unless you’re famous, was confirmed by brief meetings with faculty. More than one conversation reminded me that traditional publishers  want writers who already have huge platforms and marketing plans.

Hope came during last night’s banquet where awards were presented to authors in a variety of categories. It’s always fun to see the smiles of people recognized for good work. Most of the awards went to authors with traditional publishers, but I was pleasantly surprised to hear Create Space named as the publisher for a few of the winners, indicating that some of them were self-published. Caged Sparrow, a self-published memoir, won the Director’s Choice award for non-fiction. It’s the story of Joseph Tuttolomando, an undercover narcotics chief facing a 7 year prison sentence, as told to Rosemarie Fitzsimmons. After the ceremony, I was lucky, blessed, and destined to speak with  Rosemarie who shared about self-publishing as a reasonable route for memoirs. I won’t be surprised if self-publishing becomes more accepted over time.

There are many “take away” points I carry home this week. One that stands out  from Wednesday morning’s opening prayer is this:

No man or woman can derail us from our calling. We need to look to God for our confirmation.

I’m looking forward to reading the award winning memoir, Caged Sparrow and getting back to work on Perfect Timing, the memoir God is calling me to complete.

garden creek close up


Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

8 thoughts on “Insights from the Writer’s Conference: A Self-Published Memoir Can be a Winner

  1. Wow, Joanna, so much to process. I’m glad you had the opportunity to dig deeper and look forward to hearing more about your journey!

  2. Sounds great, JoAnna! Seems like you got a lot out of the conference. It gave you some juice or energy for your calling. Looks like such a beautiful place too. So glad you went!

  3. “No man or woman can derail us from our calling. We need to look to God for our confirmation.” Thank you for these wonderful words of encouragement!

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