Success Story: Patricia Skalka on CWC 2012

As the 2013 Chicago Writers Conference approaches, we’ve asked a few 2012 attendees about their accomplishments since the conference. Turns out a lot can happen in a year. Take native Chicagoan Patricia Skalka who attended CWC 2012 and applied strategies she learned through our panels to her writing goals. Patricia was kind enough to tell us more about her experience, and shared some exciting news!

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CWC: What have you accomplished since CWC 2012? 

I’ve landed a publisher for my first novel, a literary mystery set in Door County, Wisconsin. Death Stalks Door County will be published by the University of Wisconsin Press in spring 2014. The book introduces a new series, The Dave Cubiak County Mysteries. The conference motivated me to keep writing even as I was slogging through the discouraging process of trying to secure an agent or publisher–in fact, by the time I signed with UW Press, I had completed a rough draft of the second book in the series.

CWC: What are you doing differently since you attended CWC 2012? 

The panel on Publishing in Chicago was one of the factors that motivated me to look closer to home for a publisher and to consider small and independent presses that would be willing to consider un-agented material.

CWC: What tip or suggestion from our panelists/speakers really stuck with you?

Robert Elder’s talk “Blackmail Yourself into Success” opened my eyes to the need to immediately and aggressively stake out social media territory for my as-then still unpublished work. After the conference I secured the domain names for the working title and several variations. Though this seemed superfluous at the time, it turned out to be a very good move.

For a complete list of panels, talks, and scheduled speakers at CWC 2013, check out our schedule here.

Registration is open until September 13.