Blogger: Wendy Lawton
As this blog goes live the agents and a good portion of the clients of Books & Such Literary Management are attending the fifth biennial retreat at the gorgeous Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa on Cannery Row in Monterey, California. The hotel is built over the sparkling blue waters of the Monterey Bay. Seals and sea otters play right in the surf below our rooms.
Nearly twelve years ago, when we first began planning for a unique client retreat, we knew we didn’t want to mimic some of the amazing writer’s conferences that were offered. We wanted to do something different. Why not choose a world class setting, offer intense workshops and training in the morning and then leave the rest of the day for our clients to connect to the other writers, meet with guest editors and spend time with their agents? It’s been the perfect recipe. The first retreat was held at the Sonoma Inn in the beautiful wine country of California. After that we migrated down the coast to Monterey and have been loathe to leave this Forbes four-star setting.
So what are we doing right now? We’ve been having industry updates from David Horton from Bethany House, Alice Crider from David C. Cook and Pamela Clements from Worthy Publishing. We have a photographer on hand to do fresh head shots and we’re having sessions on social media, the writing craft, and marketing.
Several clients are venturing out on the bay to watch whales, others are bicycling through the town or kayaking in the surf. Some are walking a block down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, others are taking a literary tour of Steinbeck’s stomping grounds. Some groups will be knitting together, others will be plotting new novels. A few plan to retreat to the Plaza’s world class spa for facials or massages.
For lunch today we’re eating on the patio under sun umbrellas with a visit from a much-loved surprise literary guest. (Hint: In years past we had John Steinbeck and Robert Louis Stevenson.) Tonight is the popular Dine Around, after which the famed Dancing Cowboy will lead us in an evening of line dancing. Tomorrow is our Think Tank Day when we unleash our creative selves to plot and plan and come up with new ideas for each other.
So that’s what we’re up to. Sound like fun? What would be your dream location for a retreat? What are we missing? (Besides you!) I’ll not be able to respond to your comments but will read them all when I come back to the real world.
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s writing retreat.
(easier said than done).
Grinned at your comment, Shirlee. Matches my own heart. 😉
Amen, Shirlee. Makes me want to work, work, work harder. 🙂
Shawn D Brink
Sounds like.a good time. My hope is that someday in the future, I can be in that crowd. Your agency is certainly top notch.
Hope it is a great time! I think we all would love to be there!
I’ve heard wonderful things about the Books and Such retreats over the years. It sounds like such a fabulous time there! And your location? Peaceful is the word that comes to mind.
*A couple of other beautiful location ideas for a retreat would be Beaver Creek, Colorado, in the Rockies, or Glen Eyrie, which has gorgeous grounds and a tranquil setting. 🙂
“Tomorrow is our Think Tank Day when we unleash our creative selves to plot and plan and come up with new ideas for each other” … that is so wonderful. To sit and plot with brilliant writers … that is truly a dream. 🙂 Have a beautiful time.
It does sound like fun, though my choice for a venue would be the El Tovar Hotel on the Grand Canyon’s south rim.
* If you don’t have these, topics I’d suggest for workshops would be:
– How to Mentor Aspiring Writers
– Defining the Mission Statement for your Writing
* And a high-grade critique session modeled on the ones my mentor, marvin Mudrick, used to give. At the beginning of each three-hour session the participants would put a writing piece (short story or novel fragment) in his desk, and he’d read them aloud, anonymously. The floor would then be open for discussion, I learned more about writing in that kind of setting than anywhere else, and I would think that something similar, with Boos and Such staff and clients, would be pretty interesting.
Sounds wonderful, and yes, you’re missing me. 🙂 I’ve been watching the photos and videos on FB. Such fun and encouragement!
–That sounds like such a nice way to connect. And line dancing too? Perfection! Hope everyone has a wonderful time.
–Dream location for me would probably be Maui, minus the long plane trip. Eating the fruit and enjoying those breezes. Aah…
Sylvia A. Nash
Hmm. Another reason to wish for an agent! What a great way to have a family/community among the writers you represent. Is this typical among agencies, or is Books and Such unique in yet another way?
Janet Ann Collins
It all sounds good, but I’ll bet the best part is spending time with so many wonderful people.
So sad I missed the retreat, words to be written. Be blessed and enjoy.
This is lovely! It makes me smile looking at their happy faces. I can’t say I have a perfect place in mind. Ferndale is a quaint vintage/Victorian town that has artistic elegance, which I like for a change of pace. But Monterey is perfect. Enjoy all the positive energy!