Aya de Leon

author – activist – faculty – mom

Learning from Veteran Women Writers: BinderCon Report Back

IMG_4582The challenges of writing are nothing like actual combat, yet I found myself using metaphor after metaphor of warfare in describing BinderCon to my sisters on the Debutante Ball. So I decided to post it here, as well, for Veterans Day.

Everyone at BinderCon was SO GENEROUS. We took each other so seriously. It was for women in the trenches of writing, trying to advance ourselves professionally. And it had the foundation of it was about getting more women & gender non-conforming folks into the various writing industries. So it was like we were all on the same team. Or the same side in a guerilla war.

DAY ONE: Saturday, I heard the keynote by Jenn Pozner and Lizz Winstead (creator of the Daily Show) talking about women’s leadership, using humor to be effective, and impostor syndrome.

Then I caught a WONDERFUL talk by Veronica Chambers with great tips on productivity–even as a working mom.

Then a great panel called Lessons Learned: Published Authors Share Hard-Earned Insights. Which I couldn’t live tweet because the basement room had lousy internet access. I’ll try to delay tweet some of that…

Then I presented a workshop “As Long As You Can Write: How to break into online media/journalism even if you have no time and no training” with my editor from xojane, Lesley Kinzel. Which was so fun!!

We stayed late to answer questions. Then there was a mixer, where I pulled up my big girl underwear and boldly introduced myself to the folks I wanted to meet. Which wasn’t that hard, because people were really open and welcoming.

DAY TWO: Sunday, I looked on the website and saw that a spot had opened up to pitch Mother Jones. I took it and rushed over from Brooklyn, arriving two minutes late for my ten minute pitch appointment. The editor was understanding, receptive, and helpful, although I haven’t yet found the newshook for my pitch. Does anyone know of anything in the public record that either Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio has said about sex work?

Later that day, I pitched Bustle, and went to a FASCINATING panel on ghostwriting.

Finally, the panel “Hot…and Bothered: Exploring Sex/Sexuality/Desire in Creative Non-Fiction and Fiction.”

It included so many great women: Ashley C. Ford, Jaclyn Friedman, Anna March, LaShonda Katrice Barnett, and my Afro-Latina feminist chick lit invader homie, Sofia Quintero. She and I have been working together on various plots and schemes, mostly over email, so it was wonderful to sit and visit and plan our next guerilla moves.

DAY THREE: Monday, I took the train to my agent’s office and met her for the first time!! I also met her colleague, the agent I originally queried, who forwarded my query. We took the train to meet my editor for lunch, and they met for the first time. Lunch was lovely. We talked about TV shows we loved (all die hard Good Wife fans) and then talked a little business, as well. After lunch, we walked over to the Kensington Books offices and I met my publicist. We chatted for a few minutes, but then it was time for me to head to JFK.

It was a 4-day vacation from my regular life that I really needed. On the plane, I wrote up my Deb Ball post for the week, plus one of the pieces I had pitched to Bustle, and then rewarded myself with a pay-per-view movie: Spy with Melissa McCarthy, who is my new favorite action hero.

Some people go to Disneyland. Some people go to Mount Rushmore. Now I go to BinderCon. Best vacation ever.

See you at BinderCon LA in March 2016!

For a full twitter report, check the #BinderCon hashtag, or peep my live tweeting TL on twitter at @ayadeleon.

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This entry was posted on November 11, 2015 by in Uncategorized.

Upcoming Appearances

  • THE BOSS book launch NYC June 1, 2017 at 1:00 am – 3:00 am Sisters Uptown Bookstore in Harlem
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