Friday, October 8, 2010

The Geniuses of WriteOnCon: Jamie Harrington

We've got another special interview treat from our heroes at WriteOnCon! Those of you who follow her on Totally the Bomb have been waiting for this day, I know. 

Jamie Harrington (bio and pic from
Jamie Harrington is a Young Adult Fiction writer represented by Mary Kole of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc. A former kindergarten teacher turned stay at home mom, you can find her online at her websiteor on Twitter.

Katrina Lantz: 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?

Jamie Harrington: No way! It was a total shock to me. I still sometimes look at the stats thinking I misread them! Really, we owe the numbers to the conference attendees. They did everything they could to really get the word out. It was totally one of those Field of Dreams moments.

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

Jamie: Well, I was asleep. We decided last minute to change up a bunch of stuff in the forums, and I stayed up until four in the morning getting it all organized. You know, until my phone started buzzing with all the frantic text messages from the other girls. :)

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

Jamie: I think it was the not knowing. Here we were asking all these super important industry professionals to participate in this big conference, and we had no idea if anyone would show up or not. Plus, if the conference was a bust, not only was I going to look silly, but so would the other girls. It's one thing to put your own name on the line, but when you're putting your friends out there, too, well that's all sorts of stressful.

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

Jamie: I learned lots of technical stuff about how to do it better next year that I won't bore you guys with, but something else I learned was that writers actually wanted the conference. It was something the kidlit industry really needed, and next year I will make sure there's more opportunity for the participants to bond and network, because that's a really cool part of attending offline cons.

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

Jamie: We're hoping to have a few live discussion panels, live query blogs, and things like that to keep people interested in the Con. We want to offer writers tools and resources they can't get from other sources--which is hard, because there are a LOT of sources out there! 

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?

Jamie: Yes. Next year's conference will absolutely be free. That was such a big deal to all the WriteOnCon girls, and has never been up for debate. All of us owe many of our career successes to the online writing community, and WriteOnCon is our way of paying it forward. We have been asked by several people if we'd open up to donations, and we're thinking we might do that, but only to pay for the costs associated with running the site.

Update: You can donate now to support the 2011 WriteOnCon, which is sure to be even more epic than the last. But the donation button is provided guilt-free, meaning you can come and participate even if you don't donate. 

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

Jamie: I have heard a few requests, but I haven't heard of any official offers yet. (If that does happen, though I hope they email and tell us all about it. That would pretty much be the coolest thing ever!)

Katrina: And what do you think it is that makes a writer awesome?

Jamie: I think the thing that really makes a writer awesome is their willingness to try again and again (and again). Nobody writes an amazing first draft, but an awesome writer realizes that and is willing to spend hours editing and revising to turn every word of their book into something amazing. 

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. 

Jamie: No, thank you guys! We had a blast putting on the Con, but it wouldn't have been near as much fun without everyone!

Find Jamie Harrington on the web:

We have more WriteOnCon interview goodness to follow next Friday (our last one *sniff*), but if you missed the other organizers' spotlights, be sure to check them out. And don't worry, WriteOnCon isn't going away! Their monthly live events have already begun, and they are awesome!!

Psst! Don't forget to whip up a little something for our fan fiction contest to win the All White for Twilight limited edition books!! The deadline is October 31st at midnight.

And get warmed up for NaNoWrimo with Kristal's 1k a day writing challenge. Save the adorable buttons from our sidebar to post in yours as a daily reminder of your goal. 

One more thing: top sidebar holds an important poll (at least it's important to our owl). Orange owl needs a name, and he's counting on you to provide a good one. Don't let him down. ;) 


Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Hey... what happened to the pink hair? ;) Can't wait for the next year's conference, and all of the other stuff before then! Thanks for taking the time to do such a wonderful thing for your fellow writers! We appreciate it! =)

Katrina L. Lantz said...

I know (about the pink hair)! I was shocked in one of WriteOnCon's chats when she said it was fakely added in. Fakely! I'm so surprised I'm making up words. I like the natural color, though. Looks all professional and pretty.

Jessica L. Brooks (coffeelvnmom) said...

Sometimes fake words are the best words :)

~Jamie said...

heh, yeah--it's TOTALLY fake. Remember when everyone was changing their twitter green for that Iran thing, well--someone did mine for me, but they just did my hair.

Then we all got to laughing about how I don't even LIKE green, and someone else changed it pink--because I LOVE pink. Well, that was like a year ago, and it just sort of became my twitter avatar, so--now I have pink highlights in my REAL hair because I love the way the pink looks so much, but I still have to take my daughter to school and stuff. :)

Kelly Polark said...

Thanks for the great interview with Jamie! WriteOnCon was amazing and I'm so glad they are doing it again next year!