RWA 2010: Conclusion

August 9, 2010


Friday, July 30 and Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reinventing Yourself with bestselling author JAYNE ANN KRENTZ .

Jayne had to reinvent herself numerous times, from writing futuristics to contemporaries to historicals.  She takes her “core story” and puts it into a marketable setting.  Names she’s written under are Jayne Ann Krentz, Amanda Quick, and Jayne Castle.

Jayne Ann Krentz
Jayne Ann Krentz

“Sooner or later, you will have to reinvent yourself.”  Jayne offered three rules for writers to heed:

1.  Identify your core story: conflicts, relationships, archetypes, and themes that appeal to you as a writer.  Keep it fresh over time.  Writers who want to survive must be able to adapt.

2.   Know the market.  Be familiar with subgenres and where your core story fits in.

3.  Understand the importance of fictional landscape to readers. Each genre requires a particular landscape with conventions and reader expectations.  Adjust your core story to fit that landscape.

I went to a couple of workshops on Digital Publishing.  With so many Epubs popping up, writers are cautioned to evaluate them before submitting their work. Look at such things as cover art, frequency of releases, cover copy, and genre.  Read a few of their books to see how well they’re edited and if you like them. Be wary of too many releases at once because titles can get lost in the crowd and there won’t be any standout successes. The same goes for your own schedule. Readers can get overwhelmed if you release too many titles in succession. Space them out by at least 8 weeks.

Digital pubs may pick up a series started elsewhere and may be interested in putting your backlist into digital format. The benefits of going with a digital pub instead of doing it on your own?

  • Editing
  • Cover Art
  • Promotional Tools
  • Established Reader Base

ANGELA JAMES gave a spotlight on Carina Press.  She spoke on how to submit to this digital first imprint and what they do in terms of online marketing.

Career Planning in a Changing Environment 

Issues important to authors were discussed in this seminar with agents KRISTIN NELSON, STEVE AXELROD, and KAREN SOLEM.

  •  Do we want to release simultaneously in print and in ebook?  Do ebooks cannabilize other sales?
  • Make sure you’re covered if your contract is cancelled arbitrarily (i.e. so you don’t have to pay back your advance)
  • 25% of net versus 25% of retail price—the former is harder to track.  Ebook royalty rates are still in a flux.  Consider renegotiating your current contracts re ebook royalties.
  • Classic publishing model strengths are turning into weaknesses
  • Independent bookstores are in trouble and that will jeopardize hardcover sales
  • Publishers are trying to control all rights that may come down the road someday
  • New opportunities for authors are out there.  In between print books, you could publish novellas or short stories in digital format.  You can bring your own out of print books back to life on the digital platform.
  • The biggest question is still how to get your work noticed.
  • Authors are forging direct connections with fans through social networking. The challenge here is balancing the time requirements with writing the next book.
  • If your career isn’t moving forward, it’s time to diversify.  Consider writing a bigger book. Do what you always do but in a different way.  If you decide to write in more than one genre, ask yourself if you have time, if you are prolific enough, and if publishing in more than one genre will cannibalize your own sales.

Fight Scenes with popular author Angela Knight was a very useful workshop. I’m not going to repeat what she said here except to say I scribbled notes the entire time.  She could have used another hour to complete her presentation and have a Q&A session but what she said was helpful. Some of it was common sense like save your biggest fight scene and worst villain for last. She offered some great ideas which hopefully I can deploy.

I also attended Publisher Booksignings and collected lots of free books signed by the authors. These are great for keeping up with what’s current in a genre.  The Carina Press open house with cocktails and snacks was also fun.

Alyssa Day
Paranormal Romance Author Alyssa Day
Ann Aguirre
Science Fiction Author Ann Aguirre

The RITA and Golden Heart Awards Dinner and Ceremony was Saturday night. Everyone dressed up and excitement was in the air as we prepared to hear who’d won these prestigious awards.

RITA Awards Dinner
RITA Awards Dinner
RITA Awards Dinner
Sharon Hartley, Nancy Cohen, Allison Chase








 The Food
 What are those weird purple vegetables on the plate?

The Gathering was Friday night.  This was the FF&P (Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal chapter of RWA) Steampunk Ball and Prism Awards with music provided by bestselling science fiction author CATHERINE ASARO.  This took place at the Swan Resort, a short walk from the adjacent Dolphin. At the buffet, we had a choice of Roast Beef and Chicken, various salads, poached potatoes, roasted vegetables, and delectable desserts. The room was decorated with style and many of the folks dressed up in period attire.  It was fun watching the costume contest and meeting so many new people. This is definitely an event I’d attend again. Kiss of Death chapter also has a chocolate party that’s fun if you belong to that chapter.

The Gathering
The Gathering
Lizzie Newell
Author Lizzie Newell

PRISM Award Winners:

Dark Paranormal: Immortal Danger by Cynthia Eden

Erotica: Secrets in Stone by Radclyff

Fantasy: The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber

Futuristic: Close Encounters by Katherine Allred

Light Paranormal: Secret Life of a Vampire by Kerrelyn Sparks and Wild Blue Under by Judi Fennell

Novella: Belong the Night by Cynthia Eden

Time Travel: Viking Heat by Sandra Hill

Steampunk Ball
Steampunk Ball

Congratulations to all!  It was a great conference.  I met many new friends whom I hope to see again at future events.


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0 thoughts on “RWA 2010: Conclusion

  1. This is such helpful info. Thanks so much for sharing it! Jayne Ann Krentz happens to be my favorite writer–and I read fiction constantly. She was kind enough to read and then blurb/endorse my novel TEA LEAVES AND TAROT CARDS which will be published by Five Star/Gale at the end of this month.

  2. Once again, thanks for a great report, Nancy. I feel like I’ve been reinventing myself as a writer of romance/romantic suspense, as well as focusing on e-books, so this was very interesting to me.

  3. Great report, Nancy. The information you provided would be useful for any writer who wished to learn more about the publishing industry.

  4. Good advice, especially about knowing the “landscape” of your genre. Each type of publication and audience requires learning a new “culture”. I’ve written science articles, software manuals, business processes, blogs, and both short and long fiction. Each market requires a fresh look at vocabulary and structure. Keeps the mind flexible, right?

  5. Genre landscape doesn’t only refer to the writing. When you cross genres, there are differences in conference expections, reviewers, reader sites, etc. You have to become known in your new persona. So not only do you need to be familiar with genre landscapes in terms of craft, but also in the business end of this career.

  6. Hi Nancy: Thanks for the interesting post. I was at RWA but missed a lot of what I wanted to hear, so this was great. Thanks for sharing.

  7. It’s always good when writers exchange information! I didn’t get to go to all the panels either and look to your blogs for reports like mine.

  8. Gosh that looked like fun! A steampunk ball, cool!!
    I think if you can write in more then one genre you have an awful lot of talent!!!
    Best of luck to you!

  9. Sounds like you all had so much fun. Enjoyed reading the comments. If you plan to re-invent yourself, what is one thing you will do?

  10. I’ve already reinvented myself twice. Went from writing futuristic romances as Nancy Cane to writing mysteries as myself. Now I’m back in the romance genre with Silver Serenade, my new futuristic release. And I am reinventing myself with a paranormal romance trilogy once I find a market. As Jayne said, a writer has to be adaptable to market conditions.