One of the most interesting changes at this year’s RWA National conference was the increased focus on indie publishing. For me, the timing was excellent.
Four years ago, when I attended my first Nationals, I was only vaguely aware of self-publishing. I fully intended to pursue a traditional publishing career and I found plenty of workshops to help me understand the role of agent and editor, to perfect my pitch, and to polish my query letter.
As I started submitting to agents and entering contests with my dream industry judges, I also began to seek out sources of information to educate myself about the industry I was planning to join. To my amazement I found a freely available treasure trove of solid, actionable information and over the last couple of years I’ve gradually come to believe that independent publishing will be a better match for my personal priorities, timelines and ambitions.
I attended a number of the indie-focused workshops in Orlando, and I was surprised to discover how much I already knew. So instead of recapping my learnings from the conference, I thought perhaps I should share the online resources I find most valuable: Continue reading
How do you handle enforced inactivity? Do you have any tips for making the most of it?
I’m more than happy to spend a few days on the sofa with my TBR pile, or working on a puzzle, or soaking in a tub of bubbles, as long as the downtime is my choice. It might be a long-scheduled holiday or a spontaneous mini-break because I’m feeling shattered—either is fine, so long as the break isn’t forced on me. When that happens, I’m not good at making the best of it.
I had a fabulous time in Orlando with Jeanne, Kay, Elizabeth, Michille and Kat. I loved brainstorming, especially playing the Damon Suede game of choosing a verb to describe each of our main characters (see Elizabeth’s post for more about this invaluable trick). I attended a few excellent workshops, heard a brilliant keynote speech from Susan Wiggs, posed for an author photo, made new friends, had a great discussion about Alexis with Jeanne’s editor, listened to a hilarious Q&A from Ilona Andrews, Gordon Andrews and Jeanine Frost, and returned to the UK tired but inspired.
After a couple of good nights’ sleep I was feeling refreshed and raring to get to work—and I couldn’t, because I’ve somehow tweaked my shoulder and it hurts like hell when I write or type. It’s my own stupid fault. Continue reading
Last week’s RWA Conference in Orlando was a bit unusual for me. I’ve been to writing conferences before and I’ve even heard some of these same speakers speak before, but what was different this time around is that, when the end of the conference rolled around on Saturday afternoon, I was actually a little disappointed that it was all over.
That never happens.
A number of things made this conference a little different, not the least of which was that Michille and actually I got to meet one of our blog followers live and in person. Writing here on the blog can feel pretty anonymous, so it was very exciting to have a follower recognize us and seem so pleased to meet us. We only wish we had had the presence of mind to take a photo.
My primary reason for attending this year’s conference was to spend some quality time with the rest of the Eight Ladies, and we definitely did that. Over the course of almost five days together, there was plenty of time to talk story, to brainstorm, and to plot and plan. As I had hoped, that left me re-motivated to get back to work on my current mystery draft. It was also nice to get some confirmation that the story seems to be heading in the right direction, especially since I was starting to feel like I was losing my grasp on the plot.
Equally helpful Continue reading
How was your week?
I’m writing this post in advance, as today is the day after RWA Nationals. If all has gone to plan, I’ll have spent a day with Jeanne, Kat, Kay and Elizabeth being dazzled by the Louis Comfort Tiffany exhibits at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Then we’ll have joined Michille to take turns in brainstorming some aspect of our current or planned WIPs.
I’ll have attended workshops on writing craft, writing life and the business of being an author. I’ll have heard presentations by publishing industry experts, glammed up for at least one party and awards ceremony, had my photograph taken, swapped stories with lots of new people, and fueled my body with seafood, ice cream and cocktails 😉 .
If all has gone well, I’ll be fried. I’m sure I’ll have much to report. Later. Today my plan is to sleepwalk to the airport, board the nine-hour flight home, close my eyes and let my mind wander.
While I’m decompressing, here’s a neat piece on the value of allowing time for ideas to incubate. I linked to it after last year’s RWA, but I think the subject is well worth revisiting. Continue reading
I made it to my mostly annual homage to RWA for a hefty shot of fiction-writing craft. I, however, made it late as my flight was delayed for three hours. (Note to self – come a day early next year.) I missed the session I really wanted to hit today (Writing Emotion: Opening a Vein with Virginia Kantra) which was a double whammy because it isn’t a recorded session. But my first and only session for today was worth the price of admission. Michael Hauge’s Seducing Your Readers in Chapter 1 was exactly what I needed in the here and now for two reasons. The big reason is that I’m rewriting my first manuscript, which sucks because I wrote it before I had taken any craft classes. The bones are good, but it needs work and I’ve been working on the opening with some success. Today’s session gave me fabulous ideas and motivation and confirmation that I’m on the right track. Woot! The second smaller reason is that I’m reading an old Christina Dodd, and when I came back to the room tonight for some much needed down time (this conference is extremely intense), I picked it up and found a passage that is a good example of one of the things Hauge talked about. Continue reading
Have you made a major step change recently, in your writing, or your work, or any other part of your life, big or small?
Shortly after this post is published, I’ll be packing my bags ready to fly to Orlando for my fifth RWA National conference. I’m really looking forward to it, but I’m also expecting it to be my last, at least for a little while.
Partly it’s the expense. I think the conference itself is excellent value at $500 for three full days of quality workshops, keynotes, pitch sessions, awards and so on. Likewise, hotel costs of just over $100 per night for a shared room is reasonable. The problem is that when I add on a transatlantic airfare, plus an extra night or two for recovery time, plus meals, transfers and other incidentals, I’m looking at a fairly significant investment, and I feel as though I’m now at the point where I could make better use of that kind of money.
If you’d told me four years ago that by July 2017 I’d still be unpublished and unagented, I don’t think I’d have believed you. The biggest lesson I’ve learned Continue reading
Hope you’re having a lovely summer’s weekend, especially if you’re in the US, celebrating independence from we pesky Brits. Enjoy! 😀
There’s no time to party at Casa Jilly. We’ve now survived three weeks of building repair work, complete with regulation noise and mess. Many of the bathroom fittings are in the garden, looking like postmodern statuary. Everything inside the house is coated in plaster particles, including us. I have to clean the sofa each day before I sit on it.
I’d love to take a few days off until the dust settles (ha!), but there are only three weeks left until I fly to Orlando for RWA National, and I’m already behind schedule. I have to get my draft finished, and I want to spend some time planning how best to use my brainstorming session with Jeanne, Kay, Elizabeth, Kat and Michille.
Have you ever been to a signing or other author event at a bookstore? Would you recommend it?
As I may have mentioned 😉 I’m a huge Ilona Andrews fan, and I especially like the Hidden Legacy series, because the books are romance in an urban fantasy setting, rather than urban fantasy with strong romantic elements. All Ilona Andrews books have the same basic components: lashings of imagination, fabulous world-building, characters to care about, strong community, sparkling dialogue, underpinned by kindness and humor, but I love them most when there’s a double helping of romance in the mix.
I was already excited about the upcoming release of Wildfire, the third and final (maybe) book in the series, which will be on sale next month, on 25th July. Then I discovered Continue reading
Looking for your weekly dose of Writing Sprints? Head on over to our Wednesday post for this week’s words and resulting stories. There’s still plenty of time to play along.
As Michille mentioned in her post yesterday, the annual RWA conference is fast approaching. In going through the proposed schedule of workshops this afternoon I was amused to see that the session about “Optimizing Writers Conferences” is being offered on Friday afternoon – more than half-way through the conference. Somehow that seems less than optimal.
Every year the conference seems to have several sessions focused on a particular theme or topic. At the first conference I went to it was “self-publishing” (that was quite a while ago). Other years have addressed forensics, the military, and crime-scene processing. The last conference I was at had a number of sessions talking about how to increase diversity in writing – both from the stand point of diverse characterizations and attracting diverse writers – a topic that is still being talked about and worked on in the writing community.
There appear to be several new topics on the schedule this year and one workshop that caught my eye was “Creating Authentic Characters with Disabilities.” Continue reading
This summer, Romance Writers of America (RWA) will be holding their national conference in Orlando, Florida. I had initially intended to skip this conference, planning instead to be in studying in Oxford at that time. Regrettably however, the class I enrolled in was cancelled (gasp!) and my second choice – “Lovers and Libertines, Spinsters and Spendthrifts, Radicals and Reformers: The Treatment of Love and Money in Selected 19th Century Novels” – was full. Who’d have thought it?
Oxford’s loss was Orlando’s gain and I was able to register for the RWA conference and, amazingly, book a room at the conference hotel. This week the preliminary list of conference workshops was released, so I’ve been going through them, deciding which ones I want to attend so I can make the most of my conference investment. Continue reading