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               Burn the Wagon Chapbook Series Our city’s official logo proudly proclaims El Monte’s place at the “end of the Santa Fe Trail.” The white covered wagon at the center of the logo places white Americans as El Monte’s “pioneers.” Indigenous people that occupied these lands before and the Mexican, Latino, […]

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Comadres & Compadres Latino Writers Conference

It couldn’t have been a more beautiful Saturday in Brooklyn, and I couldn’t have had a better reason to make the trek to Medgar Evers College.  September 27 was the day of the 3rd Annual Comadres & Compadres Latino Writers Conference!

The organizers are three amazing women that I just adore: Adriana Dominguez, literary agent at Full Circle Literary actively seeking children’s and adult works by Latinos; Marcela Landres, editorial consultant  who helps writers get published by teaching them about the business side of publishing; and Nora Comstock, President and CEO of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, an international networking organization that cosponsors a national book club. Check them all out online. They are each doing so much to get works by Latinos not only published but read!

I wore my Editor cap that day.  I read pages in advance and got to meet with writers one-on-one to discuss their work. The writers came from all over the country, even London! It’s so interesting to hear about their different projects and the breadth of what’s being written. There were a number of other editors and agents hearing pitches too, many of them Latino but not all; all of us have an interest in finding work by and about Latinos. There aren’t very many Latinos working in publishing (a recent survey by Publishers Weekly says Latinos make up 3% of the industry), and so I love catching up with the folks I know and meeting new people.

These wonderful and diverse authors were in attendance: Chris Campanioni, Suzan Colón, Alina Garcia-Lapuerta, Daisy Hernandez, Luis Jaramillo, Meg Medina, Karen E. Quinones Miller, Lila Quintero Weaver, Sandra Rodriguez Barron, and José Luis Vilson. I feel I get added benefit from this conference because, as an author, I’m so inspired and excited by the panels and by what the authors have to say. The keynote speaker was Esmeralda Santiago, who is so lovely! She had great advice for writers struggling to find time to write. She suggested writing for just 10 minutes a day and slowly increasing the time. Having so short a time frame should mean that you come to write more efficiently, and you’d get in the habit of writing every day.

This writers conference is special for the talent and publishing professionals it draws, for the practical information and opportunities it gives writers, and for the atmosphere of support and enthusiasm.

If you want to help Las Comadres become self-sufficient, while also buying supplies you need, consider buying Skin Clinical lotion and Bella Flor feminine products at Target. A portion of the proceeds from these sales go to Las Comadres.

And in the meantime we can look forward to another conference next year!

NYT bestselling author Esmeralda Santiago gives the keynote speech.

Bestselling author Esmeralda Santiago gives the keynote speech.

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