Writers Conference Prep

This weekend is SleuthFest and Left Coast Crime. Writers’ conferences require advance preparation, especially if you’ll be speaking on a panel or giving a workshop. Aside from determining your particular goals—i.e. attending specialized craft sessions, learning about new publishing options, meeting editors, making new author friends, greeting fans—there’s the physical prep. Here’s a checklist of things to consider.

SF16Ad Keynotes

  1. Prepare for your talks. If you’re a panelist, it can be easier because you might not have to do much prep other than jotting down some notes about the points you want to get across. Moderator-run panels in general mean more work for the moderator but less work for the panel guests, unless you are each expected to present your material for xx minutes.
  2. If you are conducting a workshop on your own, you’ll need to compose or update your material and get copies made of handouts.
  3. If you’re speaking on different topics, assemble each handout in a separate manila envelope to keep them organized.
  4. Order business cards unless you have them already. Consider updating them with QR codes or with your social network URLs.
  5. Design, order, and pack brochures, bookmarks, and/or postcards about your books. Bring along display containers so they don’t get strewn across the tables.
  6. Design, order, and pack swag for the promo tables or goody room. These are items such as magnets, pens, door hangers, candy, and other giveaways.
  7. If you are driving, toss a box of extra books into your trunk in case the on-site bookseller doesn’t get your books in time or is unable to obtain copies of a particular title.
  8. Bring a checkbook in case the bookseller offers to sell you leftover stock at a discounted price.
  9. Pack a book or two to display at your presentations and panels.
  10. Bring a copy of your receipts showing your registration and any other special paid events.
  11. If you’re donating a raffle basket, either get your materials to the coordinator ahead of time or bring the basket prepared and ready to go.
  12. Bring a signup sheet for your newsletter to put out at signings.
  13. Print out the conference workshop schedule and highlight your appearances. List these on your website and other online sites and include these papers in your suitcase.
  14. Bring a highlighter along so you can go through the conference schedule and mark sessions you want to attend.
  15. Print out contact info for friends you want to meet at the conference.
  16. Decide which outfits to wear to the different events. Business attire for daytime, dressier clothes for evening? Don’t forget matching accessories.
  17. Determine what gadgets to bring along: iPad or Laptop? Kindle or Nook? Camera to take photos for your blog? Charging devices?
  18. Pack a notebook to take notes. Later, write blogs about the sessions you attended to share your knowledge.
  19. Include Sharpie pens for signing books and ballpoint pens for note taking.
  20. If you belong to a professional writing organization, bring along chapter brochures to hand out to potential members.

And the countdown begins. What else would you add to this list?

I’ll be at SleuthFest for the next few days, so there will be a brief hiatus here while I take notes and photos to share with you later.

 

Florida Romance Writers Conference

Saturday was a one-day mini-conference for Florida Romance Writers. The day started off with an inspirational keynote address by NY Times bestselling author Carla Neggers. She spoke about the ups and downs of a writing career and how we balance these setbacks and successes.

Carla Neggers

A panel followed with agent Marlene Stringer, Cleis Press Publisher Karen Thomas, Harlequin editor Charles Griemsman, and Berkley editor Kristine Swartz.

Editors Panel

Charles from Harlequin mentioned how he works with short category, contemporary romance series. He prefers alpha males who are wealthy and passionate, hard men with an underlying vulnerability. Tycoons and ranchers are ever popular as are stories with babies. He looks for books that focus on romantic tension and internal conflict. The Special Edition line is more family-oriented but its stories are still sensual.

Kristine from Berkley likes epic and urban fantasy, sexy romance, women’s fiction, and some mystery. She likes humor in stories as well.

Karen Thomas spoke about her publishing house that produces erotica and gay/lesbian fiction.

Marlene Stringer of the Stringer Agency is looking for commercial fiction but no erotica, inspirational, or space opera. She says there aren’t any bans in romance anymore like there used to be for musician or actor heroes.

Regarding genre fiction, paranormal isn’t dead if it’s something fresh. New Adult is a hard sell because booksellers don’t know where to shelve it. The Chick Lit label is gone, but the stories are still there. As for historical romance, it’s on the rise again. Regency, Victorian, and Scottish settings remain popular. Stories set in France do not fare as well. Books today need more diversity to reflect our society.

We ate a box lunch following the agent and editor panel. Then Dr. Debra Holland spoke about how she became a bestselling indie author.

Deborah Holland

At 2:00, I gave a workshop titled Marketing on a Shoestring.

Nancy Speaking

Then I listened to my friends Carla Neggers, Alyssa Maxwell, Kat Carlton, and Traci Hall speak about Revitalizing Your Career. A general booksigning followed with Murder on the Beach booksellers present.

Career Panel

As it is with any conference, networking with other authors was the best part. Now I am looking forward to SleuthFest next month.

Nancy VickiLisa DebbyGrahl

Contest Alert!

LAST DAY! Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench, where readers are winners. http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

 

Fun in the Sun Conference

Florida Romance Writers Fun in the Sun Conference

Featuring Keynote Speaker NYT Bestselling Author, Carla Neggers, with Special Guest Speaker, Dr. Debra Holland, Bestselling Indie Author

Conference 2016

DATE: Saturday, January 16, 2016
TIME: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
PLACE: Broward County Main Library, 100 S. Andrews Ave., 6th Floor, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301

Editors & Agents:
Kristine Swartz, Berkley
Charles Griemsman, Harlequin Desire
Karen Thomas, Publisher of Cleis Press
Marlene Stringer, Stringer Agency

Great Workshops:
Marketing on a Shoestring
The Indie Road to Success
Maintaining a Long-Term Career
Beginning Writers’ Boot Camp
Conquering the Synopsis
Editor/Agent Panel Spotlight

Event will conclude with a public BOOK SIGNING that is open to all registered authors! Anyone interested in signing should email frwfuninthesun@yahoo.com

PLUS…PLUS!!! A Sunset Cruise on the Intercostal Waterway – Friday @ 6:00 pm

COST:
FRW Members:
Saturday only – $90
Conference + Sunset Cruise – $115
Sunset Cruise only – $35

Non-Members:
Saturday only – $100
Conference + Sunset Cruise – $125
Sunset Cruise only $40

Hotel accommodations are available. Visit our website for more information and to register: http://www.frwriters.org/conferences/2016-frw-conference/
For questions, please email
frwfuninthesun@yahoo.com

Contest Alert! Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench. Check out our other features, including a weekly Let’s Talk discussion with our authors.

SleuthFest Day 3

Lunch on Friday followed the agents and editors panels. There I am seated between James W. Hall and Randy Rawls. As Chapter President, I went up to the podium and gave a warm welcome to the crowd. I thanked our conference chairs, Vicki Landis and Joanne Sinchuk, for their superb job in making the conference a success.

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Then we gave out two awards. The first one was presented by Diane Stuckart, aka Ali Brandon. She chaired our Freddie Awards for Writing Excellence Competition and was happy to announce the winners:

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In the Hardboiled Category, Dana J. Summers won for Drawn and Buried
In the Traditional Category, Penelope Thomas won for The Airfield.

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Next I was happy to present our esteemed chapter service award, the Flamingo Award, to Sharon Potts, who is well deserving of the honor.

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Guest of Honor James W. Hall addressed us next with his valuable writing advice.

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“Show, don’t tell. Be as concrete and specific as you can. Observe this pyramid,” he said.

Life
Nutrition
Food
Fruit
Banana

What do you imagine from these words? People who want to write something important start at the top of the ladder. But what creates beauty and helps us experience the story is the banana. Tangible items create emotions. The nutrition takes care of itself if you have a good banana.

Avoid bathtub scenes. Don’t open your story with somebody in the bathtub thinking. We all want to be alone to mull things over. But to get involved, you must climb out of the tub and go out into the world. “No tears for the writer, no tears for the reader.” You must be passionate and moved about your own story if you want to engage the reader. Write from your heart and your emotional center.

While you are working, turn off the Internet.

Quit if you can. If you can’t, it solves a lot of issues.

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That afternoon, I gave my talk on “Blogging, Posting, and Tweeting Your Way to Success.” Then I was busy schmoozing until Ric Gillespie’s fascinating talk on “The Hunt for Amelia Earhart.” From his presentation, it sounds as though he’s found her site but further research is needed for confirmation. There’s Ric with Britin Haller.

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I bought my raffle tickets from the boa team. Below are Mary Lou Benvenuto and Rick Wymer on the left, and Stephanie Levine and Gregg Brickman on the right.

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Heather Graham’s party kicked off the evening. She sang and entertained the crowd along with an accompanying band. Don Bruns is playing the guitar and people are actually dancing!

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Photos in my Sleuthfest 2015 album can be viewed on my Facebook page. Please Like the page while you are there: https://www.facebook.com/NancyJCohenAuthor

Contest! Enter March 4-18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card or free books by Booklover’s Bench authors.
http://bookloversbench.com/contest/

SleuthFest 2015

Sleuthfest 2015 Early Registration Ends September 30! October 1 everything goes up $20-40. Get in Now!

 

SleuthFest 2015

• Four tracks of great programming for every of level writer from beginner to best-seller:

Need to polish your writing skills? Try Write On! With sessions on Writing for TV, Nautical Mysteries, and Spy-Fi, in addition to dialogue, plotting, and setting, even the most experienced writer can find something to round out their writers’ toolbox.

Looking for critiques on your writing, or practice on your pitch? Try Feedback Forum. Get feedback on your latest scribbles, your story structure, your pitch, and much more, from those experienced in the industry.

Want to get the scoop on what agents and editors are looking for? Try Finding the Money. What’s selling, what’s not, how to get published, indie vs. traditional, hybrid authors, and all the hot topics in the industry are covered in this track.

Need to brush up on your forensic knowledge? Try Scene of the Crime.

PLUS:

• James Patterson will share some of his writing philosophies.
• Four of the top literary agencies are eager to hear your pitch.
• James W. Hall will tell you how to write a worst-seller.
• Four of the top publishers are looking for mysteries and thrillers.
• The real Miami CSI’s are here to show you the latest and greatest.
• Dave Barry will entertain us at the Sunday brunch.
• Get critiques of your work by established authors and agents.
• And what really did happen to Amelia Earhart?

Early Registration Ends Tuesday!

Register Now at http://SleuthFest.com

 

This Week’s Events

Join me online today at Happily Ever After Thoughts where I discuss creating Larger than Life Heroes, and leave a comment for a chance to win an ebook copy of Circle of Light, book one in my paranormal/futuristic Light-Years Trilogy.

And this week in person….

June 27, Thursday, 1:00 – 2:30 pm, Creative Writers Club, South Regional/Broward College Library, 7300 Pines Blvd, Pembroke Pines, FL 33024.  954-201-8825.

June 29, Saturday, 10:00 – 12:00 noon, “How to Get Published the Traditional Way” with Nancy J. Cohen, Florida Authors Academy, Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore, 273 NE 2nd Avenue, Delray Beach, FL  33444, 561-279-7790, Fee for class; Advance Reservations required.

Upcoming Author Events

As 2013 is upon us, I hope to see some of you at my upcoming Author Appearances and Book Events. Stop by to introduce yourself, to chat about books, and to share your opinions. In some of these, I’ll be giving a presentation on my romance or mystery novels. Others will be writing workshops. Booksignings will accompany each event. Please come join us!Feb 5 Nancy

January 3, Thursday, 2:00 pm, “Writers LIVE!” with Author Nancy J. Cohen, Greenacres Branch Public Library, 3750 Jog Road, Greenacres, FL 33467, 561-641-9100. Preregister online at www.pbclibrary.org/writerslive or http://www.pbclibrary.org/branch-gb.htm.

January 12, Saturday, 9:00 am, “Social Networking for Writers” with Author Nancy J. Cohen and Contributing Editor Barbara Vey from Publisher’s Weekly, Florida Romance Writers, Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Airport Hotel, 1825 Griffin Road, Dania, FL 33004. Advance reservations required

February 3, Sunday, 2:00 pm, Delray Beach Public Library, “World Building: Create a Sizzling Setting for your Novel” with author Nancy J. Cohen, Delray Beach Public Library, 100 West Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444; 561-266-0798

February 12, Tuesday, 2:00 pm, Florida Author Showcase Coffeehouse , West Regional Library, 8601 Broward Blvd, Plantation, FL 33324, 954-382-5860

March 23, Saturday, “Social Networking for Writers”, Southwest Florida Romance Writers, Fountain Lakes Library, 22201 Fountain Lakes Blvd, Ste. 1, Estero, FL 33928 http://fountainlakesestero.com/

April 17, Wednesday, 6:30 pm, “Marketing Strategies for Authors”, Writers Network of South Florida, Glades Road Branch Library, 20701 95th Avenue South, Boca Raton, FL 33434, 561-482-4554 http://www.pbclibrary.org/branch-gla.htm

April 20, Saturday, 11:30 am, “Promotion Strategies in Today’s Market”, MWA-FL, Doubletree by Hilton (formerly Deerfield Beach Hilton), 100 Fairway Drive, Deerfield Beach, 33441 (at Hillsboro Blvd exit, east of I-95). Advance reservations required.

May 1, Wednesday, Florida Library Association Annual Conference, Hilton Orlando, 6001 Destination Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32819, http://www.flalib.org/conference_2013.php
11:30 am – 12:30 am, “New Possibilities in Publishing” with Authors Sandra Balzo, Nancy J. Cohen, Patrick Kendrick, Ron Farrington Sharp and Elaine Viets. Location: Lake Concord Room

Happy New Year and Hope to see you soon!