2017 SDSU Writers’ Conference: Seven Questions with Editor Erin George

Erin George

Erin George

Whatever your writing level, whatever your genre, there’s something for you at the SDSU Writers’ Conference. The 33rd annual conference is Jan. 20-22, 2017 at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley, with award-winning, best-selling, and thrilling keynote speakers R.L. Stine, J.A. Jance, and Jonathan Maberry. Learn from their insights, and the expertise offered in 40+ workshops on the craft and the business of writing.

Best of all, get direct feedback on your writing (Advance Reading) and pitch (Consultation) with up to five agents or editors of your choice. The SDSU Writers’ Conference was among the first to pioneer these 1:1 appointments, giving you unprecedented access to top-tier publishing professionals — many of whom interact with unpublished authors only through conferences.

The distinguished faculty this year includes Erin George, senior associate editor at Henery Press.

1. What’s the best advice you can give to writers who are polishing their pitches, query letters and first 10 pages of their manuscripts in preparation for the upcoming SDSU Writers’ Conference?
First, have your pitch prepared and rehearsed. Pitching is nerve-racking and we know it, so practice until you have it down. The sessions are smoother and less stressful when you feel ready and don’t have to read from a sheet of paper.

Second, do your research. Familiarize yourself with the agents/editors in attendance – what events they’re doing at the conference, what they look for, authors they work with, what they’re saying on social media.

Third, get excited! Writers’ conferences are a blast. You have the opportunity to surround yourself with writerly people, make industry connections, and work on your craft, all in one weekend.

2. Can you share one of the best/worst opening lines from query letters you’ve received?
I find it off-putting whenever a query opens with something like “this is your next bestseller” or “the best book you’ll read this year.” Conversely, I’m a huge fan of using comps in a query (ex. my book is Covert Affairs meets The Bachelor).

3. How many unagented submissions do you receive daily?
We receive anywhere from 5-10 unagented submissions daily.

4. What’s the first book that spoke to you as a young reader?
The first book that spoke to me was A Circle of Time by Marisa Montes. Before finding it in middle school, I’d never considered myself a reader. I laughed, cried, time traveled, stayed up on a school night to finish it, and undeniably fell in love with the characters and story. It was the book that first made me want to go into publishing.

5. If you had to choose only one, what’s your favorite book?
I know I’m meant to choose one, but I just can’t do it. I’ll narrow it down to one forever favorite series: Harry Potter.

6. What do you hope to find at the 33rd Annual SDSU Writers’ Conference?
At Henery Press, we’re open to all types of mystery/suspense (from cozy to PI to crime capers) and chick lit. I’m personally very interested in light paranormal (think Practical Magic or Sarah Addison Allen’s The Sugar Queen). I’m also on the hunt for something centered around sorority life (with or without a dead body).

7. What behavior best illustrates the spoiled-rottenness of Wesley, your Maltese?
Wesley Cameron (yes, my Maltese has a middle name…) is spoiled to the core. From the high-end food and treats to the sense of entitlement he feels in our home (i.e. running the place), he always comes first. There are a million examples, but I’ll give just one: if he needs a grooming, my haircut comes after. That’s just the way it goes.

For more information about the SDSU Writers’ Conference, visit neverstoplearning.net/writers