I recently attended the American Library Association Conference in Chicago. While there I had the pleasure of enjoying the parks along Lake Michigan. I also enjoyed the Chicago Art Institute, the Field Museum, Soldiers Field, and Navy Pier. I highly recommend all of them.
As for the conference, I attended the Literary Taste Breakfast. Each year, the Reference and Users Services Association creates a list of Notable Book authors, and a list of recommended reads for adults. Four of these authors are invited to give a talk at the Literary Taste Breakfast. I have attended the breakfast for several years and always find it enjoyable.
The authors in attendance this year were Peter Manseau, Toby Barlow, Nick Taylor, and Mark Harris. Peter Manseau discussed his book, Songs for the Butcher's Daughter. Toby Barlow talked about his book Sharp Teeth. Nick Taylor and Mark Harris provided insight into their nonfiction books. Taylor wrote American-Made: the Enduring Legacy of the WPA: When FDR put the Nation Back to Work, and Harris discussed his book, Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood.
While the authors briefly describe their books, and possibly provide an excerpt, it is their discussion of the behind the scenes activities that makes the breakfast so enjoyable. The hours spent on the computer, and trying to pull the truth from interviews with historical figures that may not remember things accurately. Barlow, a first time author, discussed his character road blocks, and journey to publication.
If you are an aspiring writer, you should take advantage of opportunities that provide you the chance of listening to successful authors and their insights towards the act of creative writing, and getting published. Generally the Literary Taste Breakfast is a small enough venue that you have the opportunity to access the authors, ask them questions, and get an autograph. Also take not that getting published is only half the battle. You also have to market the book, and public appearance are a most for any new writer.