|View of Times Square from my room|
The 2011 RWA National Conference ended days ago and yet my head is still spinning from the experience. I made a ton of new friends, learned invaluable information about the craft of writing, and received amazing opportunities to further my career. This was also the first time I had the honor to present a class for RWA. I offered a hands-on (or better yet, feet-on) workshop that demonstrated how dance has brought men and women together throughout time. The class was relatively small but larger than I’d expected, me being an unknown author and my class being held at the same time as several highly-desirable workshops. I’d brought chocolate to entice potential wallflowers but found bribes weren’t necessary. All the attendees were enthusiastic and brave. Everyone readily participated in the dancing, laughing all the while. Between the smiles, positive interaction, and after-class questions, I felt the workshop was a great success. I have every intention of proposing additional dance classes at future RWA events.
|Transformers premiere taking|
place below my window
|Gift books from RWA|
As for the RWA workshops, it would take an entire website to share what I learned this year. And I even skipped several sessions (to teach, to pitch and because I stupidly didn’t jump out of bed when the alarm went off on Friday – oops)! Instead of trying to summarize it all, here are some tidbits of advice from the pros:
- “Put your characters in your daily life (eating, answering the door) and visualize how each character would react in any situation you are in.” – Diana Gabaldon, Opening Session “People (readers especially) want to know secrets (about your characters, about you on your website or blog).” – Tess Gerritsen, Opening Session
- “I never stopped (even after 85 rejections), I stayed with it until the world changed (and was ready for his genre).” – Steve Berry, Opening Session
- “A website boils down to good judgment. Content is key. Professionalism essential. Simplify! And never, ever use music or Flash.” – Carolyn Grayson and Lois Winston, Building Your Author Website: What Agents and Editors Want to See
- “Use Facebook insights (a new feature) to determine successful posts then make similar posts. You can now convert an account into a fan page. Make sure to run a contest once a month. Facebook is a great way to get fans but you want them on your mailing list.” – Sheri Brooks, Stella Cameron, Cissy Hartley and Jayne Ann Krentz, Going Viral: How to Build your Brand using Social Media and the Web
- “YA book covers DO affect sales. Look to YouTube for followers. YA book trailers must feed the reader’s fantasy. Trailers must have a gimmick. Fan-made videos are a positive, they add directly to sales. Never sell a three book series without knowing where it’s going.” – Simone Elkeles and David Levithan, Writing the YA Bestseller
- “Romance readers want romance! Lose any part of the scene not pertinent to the story.” – Kerrelyn Sparks, Stand and Deliver
- “The dominant element should filter down into every nuance of a world (magic in Harry Potter or fear in a romantic suspense novel). Sprinkle the unfamiliar into the familiar setting (or visa versa). Setting can enhance dialogue, set mood, give clues or create metaphor (make a different meaning). Theme is built gradually through images and symbolism.” – Adina Senft, World Building through your Character’s Eyes (This was an amazing class!)
|Silvershade versus Poison Ivy at the FF&P Gathering|
"Fantastical Worlds, Romantic Adventures"