First of all, Ruthy isn’t the only one who was super-excited to be a first-time participant in the RWA "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing event. Imagine being in a huge (make that ginormous!!!) room filled with row after row of famous (and almost famous) authors and their books! Overwhelming! Being one of the new kids on the block, I was elated to have so many visitors stop by to have one of my books autographed!
Since I’m still trying to get my brain back in gear after the conference, I thought I’d page through my workshop notes and share a few interesting tidbits.
Janet & Myra
- The publishing industry is more dependent than ever on blockbuster novels. Sales of non-blockbuster novels are down, even though the market remains steady overall.
- Online bookstores are outselling brick-and-mortar stores, but the big difference is that online shoppers usually go in search of a specific title or author, whereas brick-and-mortar shoppers are the ones who like to browse. This is one reason e-books are more costly to market right now--there’s no easy way to browse the titles.
- Not sure where this statistic came from, but one source claims that 42% of romance readers were born before 1945.
Lindy, Debby, Missy, Darlene, Janet, Myra, Sandra, Ruthy, & Anita Mae
- The blogosphere is just about maxed out on new blogs, even group blogs. It can be hard to start a new one now and have it take off. (Yay for Seekerville!!!)
- Facebook is where readers hang out. Twitter is where writers hang out. Target your promotion accordingly, and cross-post selectively.
- Consider referring Facebook friend requests to “like” your author page instead. Limit your "friends" page to family, close friends, and others you know personally. Don’t post anything on your fan page that would put your personal or family security at risk!
- Enter as many published book contests as you can. This is one effective way to gain new readers.
- Free reads in booklet form or on your Web site can be a good way to generate interest.
- There’s no better promotion for your writing than your writing!
- Tap into the five senses to intensify the reader’s emotional involvement. However, the layering in of sensory detail should be organic to the scene, not forced.
- In addition to the five senses we’re most familiar with, you can add pain, balance, sense of body position, sense of time, temperature, direction, respiration rate, vasodilation, and intuition. How many ways can you incorporate these additional senses into your description?
- Hold back backstory until the last possible moment. Anything you reveal should have direct relevance to the plot.
- If your story requires a prologue, keep in mind that now the book has two openings, not just one, so craft them with equal strength.
Also I went to a great plotting workshop given by our own Missy Tippens and her good friend Belinda Peterson. “The Cinder-Bella Theory” is based on the hero’s journey as taught by Michael Hauge and Chris Vogler. Missy and Lindy showed how the twelve steps of the journey play out in both fairy-tale and modern romances like Cinderella and Twilight.
Oh, and one of the highlights of the conference for me was the slideshow recap of the history of RWA, shown during the awards ceremony dinner. What fun to see my own Autumn Rains among the Golden Heart winners that eventually made it to publication! Also on the big screen was a photo of me with Leigh Bale after I presented her with the Golden Heart at RWA 2006!
All this conference talk reminds me that ACFW is barely 5 1/2 weeks away!!! Who’s planning to be there? What are you most looking forward to learning and doing? Share your thoughts to be entered in a drawing for my latest release, Where the Dogwoods Bloom.
Jilly Gardner left Blossom Hills ten years ago with a broken heart, determined never to return. But the ahce in her heart has never healed, and when Cam Lane calls to ask for her help . . . she finds she can’t say no.
Cameron doesn’t know what came between Jilly and her foster family, but whatever it was, he feels it’s time she set things straight. Her foster parents never recovered from her abrupt and permanent departure, and now she refuses to even see them? But how can Cam address the unforgiveness in his friends’ lives when his own is paralyzed with self-inflicted guilt and shame? With all their striving focused on themselves and their pasts, will Cam and Jilly ever realize that unconditional, forgiving love comes only from God the Father, whose mercies are new each morning?
With all their striving focused on themselves and their pasts, will Cam and Jilly ever realize that unconditional, forgiving love comes only from God the Father, whose mercies are new each morning?