If you’ve been writing for any length of time, chances are you’ve heard of Chuck Sambuchino. You know, Writer’s Digest dude, Guide to Literary Agents blogger, editor of the tome The Guide to Literary Agents, and author of numerous books including When Clowns Attack which will be released on September 29.
Even though we’d never met, Chuck was the guy who taught me to ride a two-wheeler through the maze of getting a book published. So when I was presented with the opportunity to volunteer at the Michigan Writing Workshop I jumped at the chance (excuse the cliche but it’s pretty much what I did). Chuck was scheduled to give a series of workshops throughout the day and seven agents (more on them later) would be hearing pitches from attendees during the conference.
I arrived early the day of the workshop to help set up. Chuck was easily recognized—he’s one of the few people that actually looks like his photo. We introduced ourselves and I was finally able to ask the question. “How exactly do you pronounce your last name?”
For the record, it’s Sam-boo-CHINO (like the pants) or\ˈchē-(ˌ)nō\ for those of you who are phonetically inclined. Now I can stop referring to him as, “Chuck Sambu-you-know, the Writer’s Digest guy.”
Let me just say, he was amazing. He greeted people, helped with registration, handled a few small crises (one initiated, unfortunately, by yours truly) and that was all before the conference began. Then he spent the next 2 ½ hours enlightening a room of silent writers (an amazing feat because writers love to talk) on the complicated, confusing, daunting task of getting their book babies published.
After an hour lunch break, he got right back into catechizing the masses. For the record, I didn’t get to attend any sessions, but from the excited comments and energized writers I knew it was going well.
It was after 5 p.m. when the last writer strolled from the conference room. The other volunteer and I (shout out to Jen Rumberger, who kept the pitch sessions on track) helped him pack up and cart his luggage to his car.
I was exhausted, and all I’d done was registration in the morning (kind of harrowing), make lunch reservations, and help Jen manage pitch sessions. I couldn’t wait to get home and veg-out for the rest of the evening but first I had to make the forty-minute drive home. Ugh.
Chuck, on the other hand, had to drive to Cincinnati before he could unwind. And the guy seemed just as “on” as he had at the beginning of the day. It was eye-opening to learn that the guy who’s helping writers all over the internet is a real person. And an awesome, energetic one at that.
Chuck, thanks for bringing the Writing Workshop to Michigan. You gave Michigan writers, myself included, a much needed shot of encouragement and sent us away tired but enthusiastic about our craft.
Don’t be a stranger to Michigan.
Links to some great resources at Guide to Literary Agents: