My Ideal Book Conference

August 21, 2017 at 9:48 PM | Posted in Books, Writing | Leave a comment
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Are you a bibliophile? Have you ever gone to book launches by your favorite authors and lined up for hours just to get an autograph? How would you react if you meet your favorite author in person?

I was lucky enough to meet my favorite local author Jessica Zafra years ago. I used to work for a company before and we had to organize a book launch for her latest book. Of course as a fan, I was excited – and also nervous. I admired her for years and loved her writing. I have her Twisted book series in my collection. It would be my first time to see her in person. And so I did. It was a thrilling experience.

Unfortunately, since I was part of the team that organized the book launch, I wasn’t able to get an autograph from her. I remember being caught up in a flurry of activities during that time, basically just making sure that the launch ran smoothly. I didn’t even get to thoroughly enjoy watching her read passages from her new book nor was I able to fully listen to the Q & A portion where she answered questions from the fans. I was backstage most of the time. The opportunity to come up to her and ask for an autograph didn’t happen.

All the same, that was still an enjoyable experience for me. It’s rare that you get to meet your favorite author in person, much less organize a book launch for them.

Wouldn’t it be nice, though, to see your favorite authors gather in one roof? If I were given the opportunity to plan a book event myself, it would be a gathering of authors, editors and publishers. I think it would be interesting to have a mix of experts in the industry as part of the conference so that the learning is not limited to the field of writing only.

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For the panel, I would imagine my favorite authors to be part of it. It would be awesome to see Anne Rice there in the panel. I know she often gives writing tips on her Facebook page but I think seeing her talk in person would be an immersive experience. It would also be interesting to see Neil Gaiman talk about his writing process, especially when he’s writing the TV or movie adaptation of his books.

Gaiman has already been in Manila twice but back then, I never read any of his books or comics and wasn’t a fan. But I heard he was super nice to his local fans. Now that I’ve read some of his books, I’ve become a fan. If he ever comes back to Manila, I would definitely want to meet him in person.

As a book writer wannabe myself, I know there is much to learn when it comes to publishing your work. That’s why my ideal panel for a book conference would involve editors from major and independent publishers. It would be good to hear tips from them on their editing process, or how they pick fresh material to publish, what kind of stories they think readers would want to read, etc.

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I’m particularly interested to hear people from Quirk Books. I think they attracted quite an attention with their Quirk Classics line. Did they ruin the classics by injecting humor and horror into them? How did that idea of reimagining the classics come about?

My ideal book conference would be in a casual and informal setting. I think it would be great to have a Mad Hatters Tea Party as a theme for the conference. Imagine authors and editors sitting next to fans and interacting with them at a long and lavish table in an al fresco setting. I think that would be more fun and lively than the usual traditional conference set up. Throw in other notable authors like Pablo Neruda or Umberto Eco (yes, I know they’re dead but they can always appear as ghosts!) in that panel and you have an interesting mix of people. And who would be perfect as moderator in the panel than the Mad Hatter himself? I think he can share his nonsense poems and riddles with the authors.

Of course, these are all just wishful thinking. I’ve had enough experience organizing corporate events myself and some conferences can be pretty boring. This imagined book conference would be my take on how I would want an interesting event to go.

Organizing events can be fun but it can be stressful too. It’s a good thing that there are helpful online tools out there such as Eventbrite that make an event planner’s life easier. And there’s nothing more satisfying than to see your events turn out to be as successful as you hope they would be.


The Power of Writers

November 8, 2007 at 12:15 PM | Posted in Current Events, Movies, TV | Leave a comment
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It’s now Day 3 of the ongoing writers’ strike in the US involving the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. From what I’ve seen in the news, it seems like it won’t be over soon.

Members of the Writers Guild of America — a union that represents TV and film writers in the US — walked out and started picketing last November 1 after their contract with the said alliance expired. According to reports, the writers (some of which are actors themselves like Tina Fey) are demanding shares of revenues from DVD sales and Internet downloading of the TV shows and movies that they’ve written scripts for.

In my opinion, these writers deserve to receive additional revenues for profits made from DVDs and the Internet. As a writer myself, I can empathize with what they are going through. In fact I’m amazed how very well writers are represented in the US. They can easily cause an uproar among TV executives and producers and put a stop to productions of major TV shows. Just last night, I saw Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the news picketing outside an ongoing shooting of Desperate Housewives. And The Tonight Show with Jay Leno didn’t show a fresh episode this week and instead showed a rerun.

Watching these writers picketing outside studio lots made me think how different things go for writers here in the Philippines. How I wish Filipino writers are also well represented and protected by such organizations. Generally speaking, as far as Filipino writers are concerned, we have always been underpaid and at times underappreciated for our efforts, especially when it comes to writing for magazine and book publications (as I have no idea if Filipino screenwriters are paid well). It’s a fairly common story among magazine writers that there are times when we don’t get paid for the articles we write. If we ever get paid, we would receive a very minimal fee. Most payments are even delayed for several months.

In certain cases, when a magazine publication decided not to publish the article, writers are not even paid a kill fee. Or if there is ever a kill fee, it’s a very small amount. It’s really unfair how writers are sometimes treated by these big magazine publications. And sometimes the editors themselves are such pain in the ass. They don’t treat their writers very well and don’t care if they get paid or not. Writers are a major force in this industry. Without us, there would be no magazines and books out there. And the entertainment industry would be nothing without the screenwriters. If only there is such a union for writers here…

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