The SDSU Writers’ Conference has a long history of launching careers by opening doors. This annual conference was among the first to pioneer 1:1 appointments with agents and editors, giving writers unprecedented access to top-tier publishing professionals — many of whom interact with unpublished authors only through conferences.
Among the more than 300 writing enthusiasts/aspiring authors who descended upon the 2015 SDSU Writers’ Conference was Doug Generoli, a lifelong small businessman who recently sold his tax preparation/bookkeeping business. He wanted feedback on his San Diego-based crime novel, Days of Gibeah, so he scheduled an Advance Reading appointment with Chip MacGregor, president of MacGregory Literary.
Advance Reading appointments require submitting the first 10 pages of your manuscript to be read prior to the conference. Attendees also have the option of scheduling a Consultation appointment, which is a Q&A opportunity to pitch your project as a whole and discuss its viability in the marketplace.
Every year, each editor and agent chooses their favorite project(s) for a Conference Choice Award, and Generoli’s was chosen by MacGregor. We trace Generoli’s SDSU Writers’ Conference experience, and where he is today on his journey to publication.
What is Days of Gibeah about?
An ex-politician turned private investigator searches for a missing person and finds himself in a world of betrayal, murder, and corruption.
How long have you been working on it?
Two and a half years.
Care to share the opening line (or paragraph)?
Carson and I were meeting at Big’s for coffee Tuesday morning.
Could you tell that Chip was pretty excited about your 10 pages or was it a complete surprise when you heard your name announced as a Conference’s Choice winner?
Chip said it was one of his best submissions, but I wasn’t aware of the Conference Choice awards. I wasn’t there for the award presentations and was surprised when I received the award in the mail.
Did he give you any suggestions on reworking the first 10 pages? And did he ask to see your complete manuscript?
Yes, Chip gave me detailed suggestions and very good suggestions. I was very impressed with his feedback.
What was his response to your complete manuscript?
He liked it. He asked how many other publishers had seen it.
Was 2015 your first time at the conference or have you attended before?
I had attended one other year, perhaps 2012 or 2013.
What do you think is one of the greatest strengths of the SDSU Writers’ Conference?
Networking with other writers and writing professionals; hearing of their trials and tribulations, and successes.
What’s the first book that spoke to you as a young reader?
Amazon Adventure by Willard Price. I also enjoyed the Tom Swift adventures.
Who’s your favorite author (or top three if it’s hard to choose one)?
Scott Turow, John Irving, Graham Greene.
What keeps you going in the pursuit of your writing goal?
I like writing. The more I write, the more I like it, and the easier it becomes.
Will we see you again at a future conference?
What’s the current status of Days of Gibeah?
Since the conference, Chip and I have exchanged many e-mails and spoke on the telephone. He requested a bio, hook for the novel, and comparable titles. He said he would be sending a proposal out to various publishers.