The Ragged Edge Conference – A Review (and Extras)
Posted by Ben Erlichman on August 18, 2011
I recently returned from Ted Dekker’s Ragged Edge Conference, which I described a bit in my post last week here on Reflections. What follows is a review of my experiences there.
For the most part, I really, really enjoyed the conference. The only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the fact that I had to pay $649 plus airfare, a rental car and gas to get there. I found out later that the pricing for the conference was intentional: Ted and his team specifically wanted to weed out those people who weren’t totally serious about writing so that their message would reach only the most committed, most dedicated people. I guess I can’t be too upset about that.
The other thing I didn’t like was that for whatever reason, I didn’t receive any of the preliminary emails once I registered for the conference. I actually had to email one of the organizers to get an itinerary, and then I found out once I got to the conference I learned that I had missed out on a second, subsequent email that the other attendees received. What’s more, when I tried to check the itinerary via a link in the email when I arrived in Nashville the page had been removed from Ted’s website. These were little things, but they got on my nerves enough to mention them.
All of that aside, the conference was not only helpful but also very entertaining. Despite what he said about being introverted and how he enjoys isolation sometimes, Ted Dekker is truly an entertainer. He loves his audience, and he loves to be the center of attention. When it’s your conference, though, I suppose that makes sense and isn’t a bad thing.
I should add that all of the authors were clever, witty, and fun to be around. They were also very knowledgeable in regard to the craft and the struggles of writing. I enjoyed their approach overall–they focused more on what it really takes to be a writer, what it really takes to succeed, and what that looks like real-life situations. They didn’t focus on the craft of writing for very long because, as they correctly stated, we can learn about the craft of writing at any writers conference or from books on craft which are much cheaper.
The first day consisted of the authors putting into words a lot of what I already knew with regard to the lifestyle and sacrifices of a writer: lots of isolation, even loneliness, fewer friends, and having to claw your way through the muck and mire of publishing a book. The second day focused on a bit of craft in the morning and then ended with a long discussion about marketing and talking with agents/editors (or seducing them, as Ted put it).
What I really benefitted from the most was meeting and re-meeting the authors who were presenting. I met best-selling authors Eric Wilson and Steven James for the first time, and I now have signed copies of one book from each of them so I can start reading their work too. Robert Liparulo and I reconnected in person for the first time since 2009, which is also where I met Ted and Tosca for the first time as well. I strengthened ties with all of them, which certainly can’t hurt when it comes time to publish.
When I re-met Ted, I was in line to have him sign one of the free books we were given. He saw me and then did a double-take as if he recognized me. I explained that I had met him in 2009 at the ACFW Conference and that I was literally sitting shoulder to shoulder with him at a bar/restaurant in Denver for the better part of the night because we all went out in a big group.
He remembered, and he asked me how I was progressing in my writing, and when I told him I had completed three novels and had a meeting on Monday (the 15th) with a local big-name publisher, he was a bit surprised but happy for me as well. The next day as the conference was wrapping up, he passed me as he was cruising through the crowd and he did another double-take. Then he said to me, “I think you’re one of the ones who is going to make it.”
Wow. That’s huge, coming from Ted Dekker.
Then I asked him to endorse my first book and he said he probably wouldn’t. (HAHA) I’m going to try anyway. ;)
Overall, the conference was definitely worth my time and the money, even though it was pricy. Then again, I already talked about how persistence and money are exactly what it takes to get published, so I know the investment was sound.
How about you folks? Did any of you go to the conference? What were some of your experiences?
This entry was posted on August 18, 2011 at 11:16 AM and is filed under Authors, Encouragment, Happiness, Life Experiences, Uncategorized, Working from home, Writing. Tagged: Ben Erlichman, Christian fiction, Eric Wilson, fiction, Forbidden, In the Fray, marketing, money, persistence, Reflections in Hindsight, Robert Liparulo, Steven James, Ted Dekker, The Books of Mortals, The Ragged Edge, Tosca Lee, writers conferences, writing, writing fiction. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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