Jilly: Series – What’s Your Catnip?

Series - What's Your CatnipDo you read, write or watch series? What keeps you coming back for more?

Series was one of the buzzwords at this year’s RWA National. There were workshops with titles like Writing a Series That Sells Forever, Building the Successful Single-Title (or Category) Series and Payoffs and Pitfalls of Writing Connected Books; a quick look at Amazon.com’s romance bookstore is enough to explain why. Here’s a selection of their top twelve editors’ picks for this year so far, in best-selling Continue reading

Jilly: Dreaming Big in Texas

2014RWAEverything really is bigger in Texas.

Last Sunday I wrote about my plans and expectations for this week’s RWA National. I borrowed a quote from the 2013 conference in Atlanta, where Jennifer Enderlin of St Martin’s Press encouraged us to dream big and have unrealistic expectations, because if we don’t, who will?

I set out my Big Dream, which is to follow the traditional publication route – find an agent who loves my writing and buys into my career goals, an editor who will help me make my books as good (and as marketable) as they can be, and a publisher with the marketing know-how and commercial clout to help me develop a readership and build a career. Sounded pretty ambitious to me.

I don’t know whether it’s something in the water here or Continue reading

Justine: The Evolution of an Elevator Pitch

eight ladies writing, elevator pitch, RWAWell, it’s nearly conference time (I’m likely en route as you read this…or getting ready, anyway) and I’m eagerly looking forward to RWA Nationals. In preparation for my agent appointment on Friday (and the inevitable question from strangers, “What are you working on?”), I’ve been honing my elevator pitch (also knows as “describe-your-book-in-about-45-seconds-or-less”).

The (dreaded) elevator pitch (also called a log line) is a short blurb about your book that you can spew out in the time it takes you to go from the 35th floor to the lobby, and that’s not talking like a radio announcer who does all the legal jargon at the end of a car commercial. Your elevator pitch should be short, descriptive, and include the basic GMC for your main character, as well as setting and, if you have time, what sets your book apart from others. Save the discussion of your other characters and subplots for when your new elevator friend invites you to join them for a drink at the bar.

While my pitch may not be perfect, I thought it’d be helpful to show you its evolution. (Ya’ll know I’m not afraid to show you my work in progress — see Continue reading

Jilly: Dreaming Big, Planning Small

Dreaming Big, Planning SmallFor me, RWA National is a natural time to take stock and set a plan for the next twelve months. A year ago I’d almost completed the McDaniel Romance Writing Program and had decided that my manuscript needed re-writing rather than revising. In Atlanta I was thinking about the changes I planned to make, and I charged my batteries by attending lots of great writing craft workshops and inspirational talks by my favorite authors.

I also went to a Spotlight presentation by St Martin’s Press, and I made a particular note of the introductory remarks by Jennifer Enderlin, who said: “Dream big. Have unrealistic exectations. Think as big as you possibly can.” I took that advice to heart, and it’s locked in there. After all, if I don’t believe in my abilities, why should anyone else?

The last twelve months have whizzed by more or less according to plan. On Friday morning, I’ll Continue reading

Justine: No Stressing at Conferences

Conferences are the perfect place for introverts like me to get stressed out. Who to sit with? What workshop to attend? Of course there’s that darn agent/editor appointment, or, in my case, the stress of learning if I won the contest I entered. However, being stressed out isn’t a bad thing, and in fact, can be quite helpful. Continue reading

Jilly: An Introvert’s Plan for RWA14

An Introvert's Plan for RWA14Yesterday Michaeline introduced the concept of the Stay-Con, a time and cost-efficient, individually tailored one-person conference held at home or a convenient location of the writer’s choosing. I’m a fan of this idea for many reasons, not least of which is that it doesn’t require interaction with other people.

I’m not shy or anti-social, but I’m definitely an introvert according to the Jungian or Myers Briggs definition. I get my energy from ideas inside my head, in my own inner world. I enjoy the company of others, but I much prefer to know a few people well rather than a wide range of people casually. So it goes without saying that a conference made up of half-a-dozen friends (thank heavens) and more than two thousand complete strangers is not my natural milieu.

The least stressful way to approach RWA14 Continue reading

Elizabeth: Conference Countdown

2014RWAAs Justine mentioned yesterday, the RWA National conference in San Antonio is just two weeks away. In preparation, I went through the list of workshops that will be offered to decide which ones I want to attend so I can make the most of my time there.

At the first RWA conference I went to in New York a few years back, I wasn’t sure what to expect, so I had no real plan of action other than making it from the airport to the hotel without getting lost (and maybe making time for a quick trip to the Empire State Building). My goal was to see as much and learn as much as possible. I tried to fit in as many workshops, signings, and events as I could in three short days. It was a great conference, but not the same kind of experience I’m looking for this time around. Continue reading