Editor’s note: Our Tall Tales contributor, Mark Stevens, is the author of “Antler Dust” and “Buried by the Roan.” Both books are on the shelves at Telluride’s own Between the Covers Bookstore, 224 West Colorado Ave, Box 2129. Mark is also president of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.

It’s raining books.

Like the transformation that music went through in the early 1990s, the gap between artist and audience has completely eliminated the need for the middle man, the middle woman, or the middle corporate everything.

Self-publishing is a snap, e-books are a breeze, and there are “independent” publishers everywhere who will gladly make you a famous author.

You pound out your story and join the novel-writing masses, right?

(Insert sound of needle being scratched across vinyl….rrrrrrrrp!!)

Uh, not so fast.

Good writing is still good writing. Good stories are good stories—because they work.

Great characters stick in your head for a reason—because they work.

Reading a book can create utterly pure moments of complete escape—because the story sucks you in like quicksand and gets its sticky stuff deep inside your head. You can’t put it down.

You find yourself with the flashlight under the covers to find out what happens next.

What’s up with that?

Why do some books grip you like a vise and others leave you flat?  How did the writer do that—put such clear pictures and scenes in my head that make me forget I’m reading words on a page?

If it’s true that “all good writing is swimming under water and holding your breath” (F. Scott Fitzgerald) how do you learn to do that?

Hello, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and, in just a few short weeks, Colorado Gold conference in Denver (Sept. 7-8-9).

If you have a book you’re working on—if you have a gleam in your eye about wanting to write fiction—the Colorado Gold conference and the entire RMFW network provides an accessible portal into the world of writers, editors, agents, and publishers.

Writing is a craft; it can be learned. You might be born with a little storytelling talent, but shaping your stories into a readable novel is something that (in the vast majority of cases) takes a bit of practice, effort and then some more practice.  E.L. Doctorow: ‘There is no way of writing well and also of writing easily.’

The Colorado Gold conference is one intense three-day class—a whirlwind blender of tips, techniques, insights and inspiration.  Over 60 workshops, master classes, pitch appointments, networking opportunities, editor and agent critique workshops and keynote speeches from top writers.

Keynote speakers this year include Jodi Thomas, best-selling author of Welcome to Harmony and Somewhere Along the Way and Debra Dixon, vice-president of the Romance Writers of America and a well-known writing teacher who has won numerous national awards for her work.

Agents attending represent Writers House, the Maria Carvainis Agency, The Unter Agency, the Nelson Literary Agency and The Knight Agency. Editors are attending from a variety of publishing houses including Midnight Ink, Kensington Books, Baen Books, Entangled Publishing, and Savvy Media Services.

This conference has been running for decades and is known as a top-notch writers conference—many big publishing houses and agencies come to Denver every year looking for fresh talent. Yes, it’s true.

So, yes, it’s raining books. You might have a drop to add to the storm.

But make sure it’s the best book you can write and do everything you can to make sure the story and writing work.  You owe it to yourself—and your potential readers.

More information about RMFW and the Conference: www.rmfw.org

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