Friday, April 29, 2011

Eight Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Writers Conference/Convention

For most of us, money is always an issue. These days, even more so. If you’re going to spend your hard-earned, scrimped and saved cash to attend a conference you’ll want to get all the bang your buck can hold. Here’s hoping these tips will help.

1. Know why you are attending – Be selective. What can the conference offer you? As writers oftentimes we attend to sell books. But that’s not enough anymore. Are there business/craft/educational opportunities available? Not things you’ve already done, but new fresh subjects that pique your interest, and spark your creativity. Are there editor/agent appointments available? Are they representing publishers you are interested in working with?

Find out beforehand how well the conference is attended. Some people prefer larger conferences while some are more at ease with a smaller group.

2. Address your fears before you go – Don’t let fear keep you from achieving your goals. Crowds make some people very nervous. Talking to total strangers makes other people ill. Have an action plan in place so when you find yourself in what may have been an uncomfortable situation in the past, this time you’ll be able to work through it, or at the very least, make positive steps toward your objectives. Remember, these people aren’t your enemies. More often than not, it’s your own fears that make them seem so. Most of them are here for the same reasons you are, and are dealing with similar issues.

3. Have a plan – Familiarize yourself with the schedule, so you’ll always be on the way to an event, or coming from an event. Have a destination in mind. That way you don’t find yourself aimlessly wandering, not knowing where to go, or what to do with yourself. This is when those monster fears find a foothold. If you run across friends, plans can always be changed.

4. Dress appropriately – Business casual is always a good bet. Even the most bohemian of us need to make a good impression. Yes, you are a creative person at heart. We know you don’t want to be one of those awful, greedy, corporate types. Still, this is business. If you don’t play the game, you can’t win. I’m not saying don’t wear what you are comfortable with, I’m saying just make sure it represents the best of who you are, not who you are when you’re doing laundry. Dress with care, and self-respect. You are worth it.

5. Be prepared to network –We all know writing is solitary. Conferences are about people! Old friends, new friends, acquaintances, and people we’d like to meet. Be sure to have business cards, bookmarks, postcards, something to give people so they will either remember you, or be able to contact you after the conference is over. Not everyone will contact you, but those who want to do business with you will.

6. Volunteer –this is a great way to meet people and make lifelong friends. It’s a safe way to get you out of your comfort zone. You can share an activity with others, and help at the same time.

7. Smile – This sounds crazy, true? But it works. If you’re waiting in line to register for something, smile at the people around you. Be brave, make eye contact. This will make you feel better, and will put them at ease also. And one of you will speak. It will happen. Viola! Instant networking. Even if you’re nervous, or insecure, it will make people think you are enjoying yourself, and they will want some of what you are having. Even if it’s only airspace.

And here’s the last, and what I feel is the most important tip.

Share your passion.

We attend these events because of books. We love them. We are passionate about genres, stories, characters, and authors, all of it. We each have that in common. It’s what gets us out in the first place. And that’s a lot of ground to cover.

Now. Go enjoy yourself. Fill the well. So you can come home and write.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Calling All Judges

Permission to forward granted:

Call out from EPIC, the Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition™:

EPIC eBook Award Competition™ is looking for industry professional judges:

Published authors, publishers, and/or editors. If you are interested, please go to: and complete the form.

If you are an author and enter the competition, you will not be assigned to judge in any categories you enter. You will be contacted during the last two weeks of May to confirm your continued judging availability.

EPIC thanks you in advance for your willingness to participate.

EPIC's eBook Award Competition™ opens June 1 and closes July 15. The time frames for judging are:

Preliminary Round judging, June 5 through July 22

First Round judging, July 27 through September 7.

Final Round of judging, September 17 through October 12.

Thank you for your interest,
Debi Sullivan
EPIC's Competitions Chair

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Readaholics Anonymous?

Does anyone know if they exist? Maybe this post should be titled confessions of a reading addict.

When computers first hit the market, everyone proclaimed they would get rid of the paper in our world. Everything would be electronic. Then along came ereaders, and they were going to get rid of hardback and paperback books.

Thus far both have turned out to be bovine efluvium.

Now there is not only a TBR stack or three in my office, there are TBR files on my computer, and my ereader!

Not to mention the actual magazines that come in the mail. I'm not resubscribing, in an effort to actually be more environmentally conscious, but I must have gotten on somebody's list once because I get quite a few. And I've found with some, even if I don't resubscribe, they keep sending them anyway!

Then there are several email newsletters, okay, more than several.

It seems as though everywhere I look there's something to read. If confession is good for the soul, I admit, I'm the cause of this. I had to subscribe, I have to find out the end of the story after reading the blurb, I want to know what the rest of the world is doing. And the way I do this is by reading! And let's not even mention the social networking stuff, egads.

It seems as though these new geeky gadgets have really just tripled the workload, instead of making things disappear. Some days don't you just feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of it all?  How do you handle it?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Anyone Can Write A Hot Mess

Very few can actually write an entire, entertaining, elegantly crafted novel.

If you are one of those people who think anyone can write a book, I'd agree with you. But writing a good book, that's something different entirely. Are you mulling over the idea of writing a book to cash in on the current self-publishing ebook craze?

Before you do, read this article. It could save you  a lot of time and effort. It's some of the best advice I've heard in along time from my good friend Piper Denna.

          Piper Patter

And for those of you who think we may be trying to discourage you because we feel threatened by your talent, come on in. The water is just fine...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is This What Guys Do?

Have any of you race fans seen the new Denny Hamlin commercial? The search for a link proved fruitless, maybe because it’s still being aired. For those of you who may not know, Denny drives the number 11, NASCAR Sprint Cup, FedEx Toyota Camry, for Joe Gibbs Racing.

The short version is this:

Denny Hamlin in a driveway with his driver’s suit down to his waist. There he stands bare chested, washing his car. He looks up, blows a kiss and says, “It’s Denny time.” Then proceeds to drive a woman around on her errands, fix her a cup of tea while she relaxes, etc. It’s maybe a little corny, but very cute.

The point is, his abs and the rest of his upper body muscle would rival those from the set of the movie 300. I love it. Of course as soon as I mentioned how appealing I thought it was the following conversation took place.

Me: “Oh, wow. Wait. Back up. I want to see that commercial.”

The Man in the House: “With Denny Hamlin? You liked that?”

Me: “Yeah.”

TMH: “Those abs aren’t real.”

Me: “Who cares?”

TMH: “They’re cgi.”

Me: “So? I’m not bringing him home. It’s eye candy.”

TMH: “They’re fake.”

Me, getting irritated: “I don’t care. I like the premise.”

TMH: “But it’s not real.”

Me: “Well, breast implants aren’t real either. Are they?”


Perhaps it’s just the thought of a half-naked hottie waiting on me hand and foot. Or, uh, something. *insert wicked smile here* All of you romance writers/readers out there totally get it, I’m sure.

Younger guys aren’t usually attractive to me, but I admit, watching this commercial leaves me feeling a bit cougarish.

Now that I think about it, I’m not even sure what he’s selling. I’d buy it. But maybe I should watch it again to find out. And that’s what led me to wonder, is this what guys do?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Totally Creeped Out

If you follow me on twitter, you’ve heard about the bugs. If not, here’s the short version. Had a wasp invasion the last couple months. Inside. Paper wasps in my office and mahogany wasps in the dining room.

Since I’m the crazy woman you’ll see jumping out of her car in traffic if a bee flies in, a call to the bug man became mandatory. I hated to even call because of the cats, but he assured me they now have an option that is pet friendly. After treating the house, he said the wasps would try to get away from the stuff, get lethargic and go end their lives in an unobtrusive manner.

They’ve gotten away alright. Seems they’ve migrated to the basement. The last couple days, I go down and there are three or four live ones sitting on the floor. This leads the panic stricken lady of the house to step on them immediately, scoop them up and get rid of the evidence.

One day there was only one. I was busy, so I stepped on it and kept going about my business. Yesterday I noticed that it had disappeared. It was okay though because there were three more to take its place. Again with the dancing shoes, late for an appointment those suckers stayed right where they met their end. This morning I went downstairs to get something and noticed that all three little cadavers were gone. I made sure to stop and thank the guy in the house for cleaning up after me.

Deadpan, as only a man can do, he looks at me and says, “I didn’t clean them up, we must have a lizard or a snake down there.”