Justine: Conference Fun

calidreaminI’m currently attending the Orange County RWA’s California Dreamin’ conference and am having a great time, learning a lot, and connecting with other great writers. I’ll have more to report in the coming weeks about such things as ACX/Audible, great ways to advertise your books for free, and other marketing and selling ideas. For now, though, my best takeaway is this, from Caitlyn O’Leary:

Consider your book a brick-and-mortar store

  • Your cover is the storefront
  • The blurb is looking in the window
  • The sneak peek is going into the store to make a buying decision
  • The ads get the reader to your store. (yes, the ads come last, because if your store is a mess, there’s nothing to get your reader in the door)

I’ll have more on this soon.

What are some of the best conferences you’ve attended?

Elizabeth: Golden Heart® Public Service Announcement

RWA’s Golden Heart necklace, awarded to each Golden Heart winner.

As you may have noticed if you’ve been reading the blog recently, several of the 8Ladies buffed and polished up manuscripts and entered them in this year’s RWA Golden Heart Contest.  It’s the last year of the contest, which may been just the extra motivation they needed to get those words flowing and stories finished.   Best of luck to all who entered the contest.

I have been a Golden Heart contest judge since my earliest days in RWA.  In addition to supporting the organization, contest judging can be a learning experience for the contest judge as well as the entrant.  I have often found that mistakes I don’t see in my own writing, or concepts that just don’t make sense in my own head, can be startlingly clear when reading someone else’s entry.  Plus, you get the chance to read some really good stories that you might otherwise never have seen. Continue reading

Jeanne: Contested Decision

award-155595_640Last month, I was elected President of my RWA Chapter, Central Ohio Fiction Writers (COFW). After a couple of years of very little income, it’s imperative that our annual Ignite the Flame contest do well this year.

The contest coordinator sent me the contest description for a listing to be placed in Romance Writers Report, a print magazine sent out by RWA to all members. The copy felt dated to me. In light of the organization’s efforts to update their image and embrace diversity, I decided to try my hand at a rewrite. Continue reading

Elizabeth: RWA Conference Post-Mortem

This is pretty much how I felt by the end of the conference.

Okay, technically the recent RWA conference in Denver is just over, not actually dead, but the blog title felt somewhat appropriate, given that one of the first events I attended was a murder party hosted by forensic expert Geoff Symon.  Billed as, “an interactive whodunit evening where the attendees are the detectives”, it included Leslie Kelly and various members of her family acting out a murder while we enjoyed desserts and then later uncovered clues to the crime.

It was great fun, possibly helped by the cash bar.

The murder “victim” was an obnoxious aging writer who, it turned out, was bludgeoned with a RITA by her husband. The event provided a great way to both interact with other conference attendees and to learn some basics about forensics and murder investigations; important information for anyone who happens to be writing a murder mystery. Continue reading

Elizabeth: The Fate of the Golden Heart

RWA’s Golden Heart necklace, awarded to each Golden Heart winner.

One of the clearest memories I have about the very first RWA conference I went to was the Golden Heart award ceremony.  I hadn’t known what the contest was all about before I attended the conference, but afterwards, entering the contest (and winning, of course!) went on the writing project plan, somewhere between “finish the manuscript” and “find an agent” – and seemed a sure stepping-stone to “see my book on the shelf at the local bookstore.”

The woman I sat next to in several workshop sessions, as well as at the awards dinner, turned out to be the winner in one of the contemporary categories.  When she accepted her award, she confidentially ended her thanks with, “all you agents out there, have I got a book for you.”  I was sure that, had I remembered her name, I’d have found her book out in the bookstore in short-order after her win.

Oh, for those wide-eyed innocent days. Continue reading

Michille: Preparing to Attend a Writers’ Conference

RWA 2018RWA National Conference is fast approaching. So it’s time to start prepping for it. Well, time for you to start prepping for it. I’m not attending this year, unfortunately, because I’m going to miss the huge jolt of inspiration and motivation that I get from it. I may look into getting the recordings so that I can experience it at least a little. Continue reading

Kay: Going Long at the Berkeley Book Festival

Last weekend, our Elizabeth, who lives just down the road from me, and I decided to go hear Catherine Coulter interviewed at the Berkeley Book Festival. This annual event, held in downtown Berkeley, California, attracts thousands of visitors, who can hear famous and not-as-famous writers talk about a wide variety of topics and, between panels, browse the many booths that crowd Berkeley’s Civic Center Park and the surrounding streets. This is the third year I’ve attended, and I’ve always enjoyed it, but this year the weather was cold and blustery, so lingering over intriguing new titles in gale-force winds was not in the cards. Elizabeth and I pretty much steamed our way through the booths in an effort to keep warm.

I was interested in hearing Catherine Coulter speak because she started her career writing shorter, category-length Regency historicals, Continue reading