Today was a fantastic day. I woke up, got in some exercise along the waterfront of the Colorado river that runs through Austin, and came back to shower for the day.
We then headed downstairs to get registered for the Smarter Artists Summit, put on by the Sterling and Stone guys.
“The guys”, in case you aren’t in the know, are Johnny, Sean, and Dave. All three are a pleasure to be around, and yes, Dave hated us all and he was great. I’ve been following them as indie publishing trailblazers for a while now, years in fact. I heard about SAS last year, but since it was the first year they put it on, combined with the travel and the cost I ended up not going.
I regretted not going as soon as I started seeing all the blog posts and tweets from last year, so I knew I needed to sign up as soon as I could for this year.
A lot has changed for me since SAS 2016. I went from listening to the guy’s weekly podcast, to really following them with a focused intent. When they mentioned there was going to be a BootCamp, I signed up and attended every one of the daily events in June of last year.
During the BootCamp, they mentioned the Apprentice, which I have to admit, I was seriously giddy when they mentioned it. I signed up, got accepted, and dove in head-first to an eight-month program with the guys, learning their process on publishing, and opening my eyes to the wider world of indie publishing. Even better than that, I found a wonderful group of people who went through the experience with me, and I’ve spent time with them nearly weekly since mid-summer.
I found my tribe, and it was good.
Since then, I’ve published my first book and a handful of short stories. I’m editing book #2 in the series, and I’m just starting on the first draft of another series with ambitions to have both published by year-end.
The last year has been a whirlwind of activity with my writing, and I’m grateful to the guys from Sterling and Stone to have been at the center of it all, encouraging, doling out advice, and giving face-time throughout. I finally launched my career after years of wanting, and that is why I’m here this year.
I’ve spent the last few days meeting the people who helped me get to where I am today. I’ve met new friends, and I’m establishing deeper bonds with people I’ve known for the last year.
The conference itself is great. Good speakers and I took a fair amount of notes. But the people are the reason you come. Writers at the top of certain categories are here, sitting around and chatting about their experiences. People I want to emulate, people I want to stay in contact with. It’s awesome, and it’s only half-way over.
Can’t wait for tomorrow!