Friday, September 3, 2010

The Geniuses of WriteOnCon: Elana Johnson

*deep breath* We have literary rockstars in our midst. 

Hello, Awesome friends! Today, and every Friday for the next month, Operation Awesome brings you…


First of all, if you missed WriteOnCon, the world’s first and only completely free and completely epic online writers conference, then run—do not walk—over to WriteOnCon’s conference schedule. It’s linky, so you can view anything you missed, totally free. 

And now, I present to you Elana Johnson, the most mysterious* of the WriteOnCon peeps (*this may or may not be true).


Katrina: WriteOnCon was seriously epic, historic, unprecedented! As one of its organizers, did you expect WriteOnCon to garner as much industry support as it did? To what do you owe this?

Elana: Totally not. I mean, WE thought it was cool, you know? But that’s not always a guarantee that someone else will.

We owe this to Casey McCormick for having the vision we all lacked.

And of course, to all the industry professionals, from authors to agents to editors, for their time and expertise. No one wants to listen to us, right? Right.

Katrina: What were your thoughts on opening morning when thousands flocked to the site to participate in the first free online writer's conference?

Elana: Well, I knew I wasn’t getting up at 4 AM, so I was hoping someone would. And they did. By the time I dragged myself out of bed at 7:45, 403 had infected the site for about 30 minutes.

The first thing I thought was, “Oh, crap.”

The second? “This is awesome! So many people came, we crashed!”

Third: “OH CRAP!!!”

Then I called LiLa, and they talked me off the ledge, and we rerouted the content to our personal sites.

Katrina: What was the hardest part about WriteOnCon's organization?

Elana: Holy time investment, Batman. That’s all I’m gonna say about that. Okay, one more thing: We’re talking hundreds of hours, people. And that’s time away from the other things in our lives.

Katrina: What was the most important thing you learned this year that will help with future online conferences?

Elana: Um, have a reliable host? Never to use the numbers 403? Get up at 4 AM and then go take a nap later?

But seriously, the most important thing I learned is that the children’s writing community is frawesome.

Katrina: What's next for WriteOnCon? The discussion forums remain active. What role do you see WriteOnCon playing between annual conferences?

Elana: The forums will remain open, and hopefully, active. If I told you what else we were cookin’ up, I’d have to kill you. Just watch the site for deets. *wink*

Katrina: We think it's amazing the work you all did to put on such an amazing conference, and for FREE! Will next year's conference still be free?

Elana: Yes. We got some feedback during our feedback chat about offering merchandise and putting up a donate button, and we’re investigating those options further, but the conference will remain money—and guilt—free. If you can’t donate, no problem. Come anyway!

Katrina: Do you know of any success stories (agents and authors who found each other during the conference)?

Elana: Yes! Becca's story

Katrina: I think I speak for the online writing community when I say THANK YOU! And we want to show our appreciation by spreading the word about WriteOnCon, as well as its organizers. You have a book coming out next Summer. We love shiny new books! Could you tell us a bit about it? 

Elana: Aw, *blush* thanks. Yeah, I do have a book coming out. POSSESSION is about a teenage girl who’s tired of being brainwashed, tired of following all the (lame) rules, tired of belonging to someone else. So she does something about it. Of course, chaos ensues. In the end, she’ll have to decide if what she was tired of all along is really so bad…

Oh, yeah, and there’s boys! Kissing! Danger! Mind control! Leaping off of tall buildings! Evil…wait. No, not gonna spill that.

POSSESSION comes out next summer from Simon & Schuster in both hardcover and e-book formats. 

Katrina: And last of all, what makes a writer Awesome?

Elana: Awesome writers are those who recognize awesome when they see/feel/hear/smell/taste it. And then they do their best to replicate it, whether in their writing or in their attitude or in their lives. 

Other places you'll find Elana: 

She is represented by Michelle Andelman of Regal Literary.
Her popular ebook, From the Query to the Call, is also available for download.

Say hello to Elana in the comments!

Contest Update: The Mystery Agent Pitch Contest winner will be announced Sunday. Don't worry if you didn't post in time, we'll have another contest like this one, and many more chances for you to show off your Awesome! 


Matthew MacNish said...

There aren't really words to describe how awesome Elana is or how amazing WOC was and shall continue to be year in year out.

Thanks so much for featuring this and her here today Katrina!

Today's guest blogger is Emilia Plater!

Stina said...

I love Elana, and the rest of the WriteOnCon crew are freaking awesome, too. I can't wait to see what they've cooked up for next year.

Unknown said...

Hi, Elana! Great interview, Katrina! I'll definitely need to check out WriteOnCon. :) I hadn't realized Elana's book had a new title. Exciting! I am definitely looking forward to it!

Elana Johnson said...

Hey! Thank you SO MUCH for hosting me! You guys truly show your awesome every single day. And if anyone has any questions about WOC or myself (no, I didn't type that without laughing), ask me! I'll check in throughout the day to answer. :) :)

Annie McMahon said...

Thanks for doing this interview, Katrina. I always wondered how Elana was able to keep her sanity during this awesome-epic-amazing conference. Now I know. "Holy time investment, Batman." I bet she put everything else on hold for three days. Or three months? ;)

Kell Andrews said...

Great interview, Katrina. Thanks for doing it, Elana!

Amie Borst said...

hi elana! *waves* hey to all the folks at operation awesome. can i just say, this is awesome? and yeah, elana, she's awesomesauce.

Shannon Messenger said...

Aw, Elana gave SUCH a better interview than the one I sent you. This is why I should never be a spokes person. :)

But seriously, thank you SO much for your awesome promotion of WriteOnCon. Helping us spread the word is the greatest gift you can give us. We want to make sure no one misses out next year!

Amparo Ortiz said...

Great interview, Katrina! And a big, huge, awesomesauce bowl of THANKS to Elana and the WriteOnCon team for their hard work.

And yes, that includes you, Shannon!!! I'm sure your interview will rock just as hard :)

Anonymous said...

Great interview to know what went on behind the scenes. I knew it had to be insane with all of the content : ) Thank you all organizers!!!

Lenny Lee said...

hi miss katrina and miss elana! nice to meet you guys. this was a real cool interview. i love interviews cause i can learn more about being a good writer and meet real neat people. i didnt got to that write on con but maybe next year i could go. i saw so much comments about how it was soooo cool. i hope you have a happy weekend.
...smiles from lenny

Julie Musil said...

Elana and ALL the organizers, and ALL the authors, agents and editors were amazing. What a generous thing to do, and yes, we are ALL grateful. A big ginormous thanks!

ali cross said...

Great interview Katrina and Elana (Hi E!)

(I LOVE the owly background and badge. LOVE owls! YAY!)

WriteOnCon was amazing and such a gift to the writing world. Thanks so much for it!

Tessa Quin said...

Hi Elana! You were awesome at WriteOnCon. You're a legend in my books now.

I definitely think you should have WriteOnCon merchandice with the slogan: WriteOnCon 403

Jamie's gonna hate it, but the rest of us will love it ^.^

Katrina L. Lantz said...

LOL Tessa! Love the slogan 403 instead of the year! It will never be forgotten. Thank you to Elana for sharing your awesome with us yet again! I'm so excited for your book!

Everyone, stay tuned because we have perspectives from more of the WriteOnCon geniuses yet to come!

Jemi Fraser said...

Elana is amazing. WriteOnCon was amazing too. I can't even begin to imagine the hours and hours and hours these lovely ladies spent on organizing this for us. They're wonderful. :)

Anonymous said...

WriteOnCon was too awesome, and so chock full of valuable information I still can't believe it! Thanks for the interview Elana, Katrina, and OA.

Casey McCormick said...

Every time I read a post by or an interview with Elana I think, HOLY VOICE BATMAN. Man, I love her attitude. I could pick her out anywhere on the net. I must work on my awesome detection/replication, apparently. Great interview, girls!