2016 SDSU Writers’ Conference: Five Questions with Senior Editor Cara Bedick

Cara Bedick

Cara Bedick

If you’re a writer with a dream, get one step closer to being a writer with an agent. Learn how to hone your craft, your pitch, and your query, at the conference with a long history of launching careers.

The SDSU Writers’ Conference was among the first to pioneer 1:1 appointments with agents and editors, giving you unprecedented access to top-tier publishing professionals — many of whom interact with unpublished authors only through conferences.

The 32nd annual conference is Jan. 22-24, 2016 at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley. Register now for three days that could change your writing life.

Meet Cara Bedick, a senior editor at William Morrow, at the 2016 conference:

1. What’s the best advice you can give to writers who are currently polishing their pitches and query letters in preparation for the upcoming SDSU Writers’ Conference?
Coco Chanel once said “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” The same approach can be applied to material for a writers’ conference. Take a last look at your material and remove that one item that’s overselling it. For example, a line that compares your book to the latest bestseller in its category. Trust me: If it’s a comp title, I’ll know.

2. Can you share one of the best/worst opening lines from query letters you’ve received?
Good question! For nonfiction, it’s less that specific opening line and more the whole package. The general concept, the author’s approach to it, and their platform. But I did once have an agent call and say, “You don’t have a book like this and you need a book like this on your list.” She was right, and I acquired the book.  

3. What’s the first book that spoke to you as a young reader?
Since this is conference is affiliated with a college, I’m thinking back to those times. Adrian Nicole LeBlanc’s Random Family was an incredible portrait of a part of New York I didn’t know much about. Around that same time, I was introduced to Joan Didion via Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I’m sure that there are plenty of editors out there for whom it also inspired the search for the elusive collection of essays that becomes a classic.

4. If you had to choose only one, what’s your favorite book?
Too hard! Can’t do it!

5. What do you hope to find at the 32nd Annual SDSU Writers’ Conference?
A project that I know exactly what to do with. With the right writer-editor partnership, sometimes you just know.