How to Get the Most from a Writing Conference

If you are interested in getting your book published, writing conferences are the place you need to get yourself to. A conference is where industry professionals gather.  You’ll find agents, editors, published and aspiring authors in the mix. To get the most from writing conferences it is important get organized in advance.

Most conferences have a tentative schedule available for you to see when you register. I review the schedule months in advance to see if I can submit to a contest or send in pages for review by a panel of authors or in a written critique. Some submissions might be addressed at a workshop anonymously, but at other times you must face public critique. Read the directions carefully and don’t submit if you’re uncomfortable standing in front of a room full of people who are pointing out flaws in your story.

Offer in advance to volunteer at the conference. It not only gives you an opportunity to meet new people, but it shows potential agents and editors that you care enough about the industry to give your time.

Writing conferences are business events, so dress professionally. Hotel conferences halls are notorious for being freezing cold so plan to dress warmmmmm. If you don’t have a business card, have some printed. If you’re not yet published, you can put freelance writer as your title. You can give your card to other authors and if you pitch your manuscript, you can leave a card with the agent.

Before you leave for the conference, print out the schedule. Circle the workshops and panels you would like to attend. Make a mental note of people you would like to meet and books you would like to purchase.

Once you arrive, search out people who write in your genre and make new friends. Absorb all the fascinating new information being offered and be inspired to take your writing to the next level.

Sleuthfest is March 1-4 at the Embassy Suites in Boca Raton. It’s known to be the top conference in the southeast for writers of mystery and thriller. If you go, I’ll be wearing a pink boa around my neck to show that I’m a volunteer who is selling raffle tickets. Stop me and introduce yourself, I love to meet new people.

Tuesday Writer Blog Under Construction

We’re under construction here at the Tuesday Writer blog. Next week we will be starting a new format.

  • Tuesdays we will talk about new books being released on the market.
  • Themed Thursday will continue in the same manner with each of us contributing our thoughts on a weekly theme.
  • Fridays will be for anything book related. It will include book reviews, conference information, as well as interesting things about books and writing like: My novel, Rager, is a finalist in the thriller category for the Florida Edgar Alan Poe (Freddie) award. Rager is about a college freshman who parties like he’s possessed and the girl next door exorcist. The winner will be announced at the Sleuthfest writing conference in Boca Raton, March 1-4.

We are excited for this new format and look forward to bring you lots of fabulous information about books and writing. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!

Get your Writing Seen by Agents and Editors

I’ve learned that writers have a wonderful sense of community. Most all of the writers I’ve met are supportive and willing to share things they’ve discovered. Today’s Tuesday Tip for writers is to enter as many contests as possible once you’ve finished all those layers of revision. This Thursday, December 7th, at 8am, PitMad starts. It’s a great opportunity to pitch your manuscript to multiple agents.

#PitMad is a pitch party on Twitter where writers tweet a pitch of their completed, polished, unpublished manuscripts. You can only tweet three (3) pitches. They can be different pitches or the same pitch per project for the day. You’re allowed to pitch more than one project. Pitches can be 280 characters or less but a brief, concise pitch is best and will help the agents read through the Twitter feed more easily.

The agents and editors tweet their submission preferences then favorite your tweet if they want to see your work. If you get a favorite from an agent or publisher, check their submission preferences on their twitter site and send their request promptly. If they haven’t listed their preferences, follow the submission guidelines on their websites. Putting “PitMad Request: TITLE (of your manuscript)” in the subject line of your email when sending to the agent or editor.

Don’t tweet agents and publishers directly unless they tweet you first. Make sure you research each requesting agent or publisher so you know you are compatible. You do not have to send requests to those requesting if you don’t want to work with them.

The pitch needs to include the hashtag #PitMad and the category (#A, #NA, #YA etc.) in the tweet as well as the genre (#S, #T, #R etc.) The “#” is critical. It sorts the categories for the agents and editors. More on categories and genres at pitchwars.org/pitmad.

Don’t favorite friends tweets. The agents will be requesting by favoriting tweets.  They allow Retweeting of your friends tweets. Use Quote-RT and add a comment to the retweet to mention your support. If you have any questions contact @HeatherCashman or one of the other hosts monitoring the feed.

I’ve just finished the revision of my manuscript. Here’s my pitch.   RAGER: a college freshman who parties like he’s possessed meets the girl next door exorcist.

What do you think? If you see it go by on Twitter this Thursday give it a retweet. PitMad is a great opportunity to get the pitch of your completed manuscript out there. Have fun with your own pitch. I wish you luck!

 

Wrap-It-Up Wednesday for the Tuesday Writers

The Tuesdays had a nice post-holiday meeting yesterday, with everyone contented from time with family and friends. Stacie was back from her out of town travels for her MFA work. We missed Melody, who was helping to run the book fair at her son’s school.

Faran had a great rewrite of a chapter in his novel about the struggles of two high school boys that plays out alongside their favorite sport of baseball. Faran really tightened up the chapter. He was able to bring out a lot of emotion in his characters with a scene on the pitcher’s mound.

Cathy is working on a rewrite of her novel about a girl in the circus. Cathy is meticulously reworking her plot and reduced it to a synopsis to submit at an upcoming conference. This helped her get a better idea of the plot’s overall flow. Cathy wanted to compact her synopsis so that it was only one page. Faran had a great suggestion to “sell the sizzle, not the steak.” He suggested keeping the juiciest parts to make it easy for an agent to read.

I brought in a chapter I had reworked. We usually read our work out loud to the group since it brings a different dimension than just seeing it on the page. I made copies of my chapter because I had included a lot of italics and wanted to see how that all played out.  Cathy offered to read so that I could get a different perspective. Hearing the chapter definitely helped me catch places where the pace slowed as well as phrases and word choices that needed to change.

Stacie is working on a new novel with two point of view characters. She’s is working out their voices in first person and third person. Stacie’s writing is always very fluid. It’s interesting to see how she’s incorporating the knowledge she’s gained from her MFA classes.

Our anchor, Jonathan, did not disappoint with the hilarity of his current story. The only critique was a question about where an object fell when thrown into the back seat of a car. That was all we could find to critique in his entire read.

I can’t wait for next Tuesday!

The Benefits of Gratitude

Thanksgiving at our house includes a tour around the table where everyone mentions what they are grateful for. The responses vary from: “my new job”, to “the beauty of nature”, to “my partner’s colonoscopy”, which can send the group from gentle reflection to riotous laughter. Gratitude is an emotion that expresses appreciation for what one has, rather than what one wants. So what does gratitude do for us?

No matter where you’re from, it is evident that of late, people are on edge. Recent psychological studies have shown that people who regularly practice gratitude by taking time to notice little things and think about how they’re thankful for them, show more compassion and kindness, have more positive emotions, sleep better, have a joi-de-vivre about them and have better health. There is even a Science of Gratitude.

Michael E. McCollough of the University of Miami and Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California, Davis, the top researchers in the study of gratitude, showed its effects on their test subjects in a research paper called Gratitude and Thankfulness. In the study, their subjects experienced:

  • Better health and exercised more
  • Attained more personal goals
  • Increased attentiveness, energy levels and enthusiasm
  • Were more likely to help others
  • Felt more interconnected with others
  • Were less envious and more willing to share

When I worked as a registered nurse at the hospital, I found that my patients who had an attitude of gratitude got better faster, and had more energy to sit up in a chair or walk. Robert Emmons maintains that gratitude lowers blood pressure, fosters a stronger immune system and adds to more pleasurable life experiences.

Gratitude can create happier memories. Studies on subjects with PTSD and people fighting addiction, showed that changing a person’s mood through being grateful for one aspect of a traumatic experience, actually re-framed the memory. A person could then think of the negative situation they kept remembering, as a positive or neutral experience.

Researchers at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania divided university fund-raisers into two groups. One group made phone calls to solicit alumni donations the same way they always had. The second group, who was assigned to work on a different day, got a pep talk from the director of annual giving, who discussed with the fund-raisers how she was grateful for their efforts. The people who heard her message of gratitude made fifty percent more fund-raising calls than those who did not, in the week that followed.

Other studies have looked at how gratitude can improve relationships. Whether it is bosses with workers or in couples, research has shown that individuals who expressed gratitude not only felt more positive toward the other person but also felt more comfortable expressing concerns. Marriage counselors suggest that couples retrace their steps to the beginning of their relationship to remember what it was they appreciated about their partner.

A study using MRI technology has revealed the act of giving activates the same sections of the brain that are roused by food and sex. Generosity toward others, along with gratitude can create a dopamine release making a person feel not only happier but also healthier, wealthier, more productive, and meaningful.

Now when I find myself sad or upset about something, I’ve taken up the practice of reminding myself to be grateful for things like fresh air or a beautiful sunrise and somehow it always makes me feel better.

 

Simone Kelly on Marketing your Book like a Pro

Simone Kelly, CEO of Own Your Power® Communications*, Inc., embodies an inspirational and universal force that energizes you. As an author, holistic business and life coach, motivational speaker, media personality and certified Reiki –Master teacher, Simone helps her clients achieve the balance they desire. She’s the woman who leads by example as she “owns her power.” In turn, her clients see how “owning their power” will energize their own business ventures, quests for health and well-being. Simone got her marketing degree in 1996 and became certified as a business coach in 2003. Simone’s new novel, Like a Fly on the Wall was released in July.

Q: Simone, what made you want to write Like a Fly on the Wall?

My grandmother passed away mysteriously before I was born. I always wondered about the circumstances of her death. I was inspired to write about a family mystery. I’m very intuitive. When I spoke to my mother about things I saw or heard as a child, she didn’t understand. I wanted to have a character that was very intuitive. I made that character male, since more females follow their intuition. I wanted to have people relate to their own intuitiveness through a steaming hot hunk of a guy so that they realize that intuitiveness is a gift we all have.

Q: Can you share some of the tips you spoke about at the Mystery Writers of Florida meeting? 

  • Marketing lesson #1 is: get e-mail addresses. Get them at every event and make sure you can read it before they walk away. Get e-mail addresses on your website. Have a newsletter about what you’re doing to stay top of mind. Everyone uses their phones for e-mail now so make sure your content is mobile friendly.
  • It’s important to know your clients. What are their ages, hobbies, income, education and personality types. Ask book buyers how they heard about you. Friend them on Facebook and write them a note. Befriend people who want to promote you.
  • Make your fans a star. Put your fans in the spotlight. Have fans join your mailing list. Give out prizes. Create a Beta Readers Club for super-fans after your first book is out. Offer them an advanced copy of your next book. Get photos of good-looking people with your book. Post them on all your Social Media sites. If you know someone with clout, give them a book and ask for an endorsement.
  • You can also collaborate with other authors to cross promote. I got 1000 new friends by doing a contest with two other authors to win three books every Friday one month. Find a celebrity who can benefit from something in your book. Partner with them and promote each other. Ask influential people to read the first fifty pages of your book and comment on it.
  • Remember to follow up on events and requests. Always try to set up face to face meetings if possible and make sure you follow up with a phone call or a thank you note. Send the book store manager a thank you after your signing. Call the friend who got you an interview or speaking arrangement. When you are nice to people, they return the favor.

Q: Your main character, Jacques is very intuitive. You bring this to the forefront at your book signings and have clients do an intuitive exercise and then prompt them to pursue their intuitiveness. How does one do that?

Practice with little games. Something as simple as guessing what time it is before you look at a clock, or guess what the next song on the radio will be. When I first moved to Miami, I used to call my friend in New York every day and guess what she was wearing. I got to be so accurate, I thought she was lying to me. She actually had a co-worker verify what she was wearing. The practice really worked well for me. If you don’t have the practice, you don’t trust yourself. You don’t trust that inner voice. You have to build the confidence that you really can do it. I was blessed when Harper-Collins allowed me to include an essay on intuition at the back of the book to help people out.

Q: What’s your next book going to be?

The title is still a work in progress. I have the same characters, along with some new ones. Jacques, being intuitive, is going to be looking into past lives. The Vegans are going to love it because when Jacque becomes a Vegan, he sees and understands the unseen even more. Jacques will be able to touch someone and see things that can help them with problems in their current life.

Q: Since you are very adept at promotion, how do you plan to promote the new book?

I really want to get it to be a TV series. I did my own book trailer for Like a Fly on the Wall. I recruited the actors and I did the directing. I’d like to do a Netflix series or something on cable. I’m working on a web series now. I like to collaborate with people and trade talent. I have offered to help some people who are familiar with the film industry in their personal promotion so that I can learn more about it.

Q: Where would your web series be posted?

It can go multiple places, like YouTube or Vimeo, and definitely Facebook. I’m planning a series of five, for the first five chapters. I’ll put one out every month or so. I need the funds to do it and I’ll have to get actors and sponsors, which I did for my trailer. When people know you have a following and will promote them, they’ll work for a discounted rate or trade for my consulting services for their own businesses. I use all the leverage I can get, and so should you in your book promotion.

 

Own Your Power Communication’s* (OYPC) mission is to serve as an empowering guiding force assisting entrepreneurs as they connect with their fullest potential and grow exponentially. You can reach Simone by e-mailing simone@ownyourpower.biz, or at http://ownyourpower.biz/store/like-a-fly-on-the-wall/

Halloween Character Archetypes for your Novel

Halloween is a fun time where we can wear whatever we want and party. I’m sharpening my characters in this layer of revision of my work in progress. I want to make sure the character arcs pan out and that my character’s roles with each other are well defined. In the course of that process, I revisited Carl Jung’s archetypes. With them fresh in my mind, I went off to a Halloween party and had to laugh at how the costumes and personalities frequently matched the archetypes.

 

Hero: Wants to change the world. He fears internal weakness.

 

 

Jester: Seeks fun and yet fears  boredom.

 

 

 

Creator: Wants to realize her vision. She hates mediocrity.

 

 

 

Care Giver: Loves to help others and deplores selfishness (so she shares her jello-shot).

 

 

 

Sage: Seeks knowledge and is afraid of deception

 

 

 

Magician: Wishes to alter reality which can sometimes lead to inadvertent results.

 

 

 

Innocent: Wants happiness and doesn’t want retribution. It is said that if you want a great costume, go for the reverse of your personality.

 

 

Explorer: Wants freedom and fears entrapment

Revolutionary: Is the rebel who fears having no power.

 

 

Ruler: Generally wants prosperity and fears being overthrown (by the UPS man).

Lover: Wants connection and detests isolation. A friend, who really is a connector and therefore great at sales, dressed as the UPS man.

Every-man: Wants to belong and not be excluded from the group, yet not stand out. Wearing a hat with skeleton face on it took care of that.

 

The next day, in thinking about my characters, I wondered what they would have worn to the party. The fun visuals helped me to better identify them and the behaviors I want to portray. This Halloween season, ask yourself what costume would your characters wear?

Wrap-It-Up Wednesday

 

The Tuesday Writers met yesterday for our critique. We each take a turn reading eight to ten pages then the group does a verbal critique afterward. We missed Stacie this week as she was out for a work conference.

Cathy read first. She’s working on a historical novel, homing in on what her character is lacking as well as working on theme. She did a good job setting her character up to show what’s going on in her life. There were some outstanding moments where my stomach tightened as I felt the emotions of Cathy’s character. Faran had a great suggestion to look at the story’s inciting incident and work backward from there to the beginning of the novel to see what the main character needs.

Faran was up next. He rewrote the beginning of his current work in progress about a baseball player and his attitudes. Melody suggested that the character’s language was a bit strong for chapter one and that those words might be more effective with rising tension later on. Faran’s third scene had really good description of some of the plays of a baseball game. I could see the action playing out before me and feel the tension of his character.

Melody who often reads first, stalled until the third slot. She decided not to read her chapter as she’d been mulling over some changes as we talked and figured she wanted to implement them for better impact before reading the chapter to us.

I was up next. I’m doing revision on my work in progress about a college freshman. I revised a chapter leading up to the first plot point. Melody suggested I cut out some of the explanations in the dialogue. Cathy offered that I have my secondary character be vaguer about an idea she has and that my main character draw the idea out. Jonathan suggested my main character use more fraternity lingo.

Jonathan tempered the humor in his novel for a chapter to have his protagonist spend time with a girl he likes. The chapter was more reflective and less raucous, but kept the story moving forward.

Looking forward to next Tuesday!

What do you read when you travel?

I flew to Winnipeg, Canada last week to visit my parents for Canadian Thanksgiving. There are no direct flights to Winnipeg from South Florida, so getting there is always an all-day affair. I’m a book-in-hand kind of person. I always make sure that I have a new novel or two so that I have at least twenty hours of reading.

Looking around at fellow passengers, I noticed that many of them were on their cell phones in the airport, but pulled out books once they got on the plane. As many of the books came from the airport vendor, I wondered what is the most popular read during air travel?

While killing time in the airport, I did a brief survey of

airport vendors for the dates of my travel. I found that David Baldacci, last year’s Sleuthfest key note speaker’s new novel, The Last Mile, was most popular at the Winnipeg airport. Dan Brown’s Origin was a favorite at Ft. Lauderdale Airport, and Liane Moriarty’s Truly, Madly, Deeply was the bestseller in Toronto.

 

 

 

Some of the passengers I talked to want a short read they could finish in one flight, but most wanted something that would last throughout their entire time away from home. I noticed an equal number of e-readers also, but a book in the hand always gets more attention from me. What will your new read be the next time you travel?