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RWA 2018 Annual Conference: Thoughts from a Newbie

RWA 2018 Annual Conference: Thoughts from a Newbie


Exploring the Rocks in Sydney

For the past four weeks our family life has been on fast forward – so busy I barely had a chance to stop and catch a breath. Between one of my children going into hospital (she’s fine now) to my hubby leaving for a work conference as our daughter was still in hospital to my hurting my back to the point where I couldn’t walk properly, let-alone carry kids around.

On top of that there was a long distance car trip to help a family member and finally me leaving for own conference – Romance Writers of Australia’s annual conference. All of this is four weeks!!
We are home now, no one is sick and my back is on the mend. I can move around easily enough now, I just need to be careful how long I sit or stand without moving around.
So I wanted to share my take on my first ever conference. That’s right, I’ve never been to a conference before. Going to the RWA’s annual conference was a big deal for me. I knew almost no one, and I was making a step by going – I was declaring that I want to be a full-time writer.
I learned so much from people working now in the industry and met so many new people met. The next task is to apply it to my WIP (Work in Progress).

New friends with D.L Nix

My take-away was – in no particular order:
  • Go where your market is, don’t try to fit your writing mould into something that isn’t yours. Love what you write.
  • Know your market. Don’t pitch to an agent who isn’t interested in what you are writing.
  • No one can tell you the what the message of your story should be, all they can tell you is how to better tell your message.
  • Say hi to people you’ve never met, chances are they’re as worried as you are!
  • Push (conflict) and pull (attraction) of romantic tension keeps your story going and together they form a rhythm that ebbs and flows with one always winning out over the other (this changes throughout the novel) until the HEA at the end.
  • Wear/have comfortable shoes
  • Do not spend $40 on continental breakfast and only eat corn flakes and yogurt.
  • Do talk until 2am with your roommate and then try to get up at a reasonable hour the next day.
  • Do explore the city you are in.
  • Get lost looking for Pitt Street mall – 3 times!
  • Bring a book but don’t actually read it. Same goes for the laptop.
  • Learn all about what publishers and editors actually do for you!
  • Be brave and enter the slush pile section, even if yours doesn’t get read out you still learn so much from the panel comments. Like how important good dialogue is for example.
  • Dance the night away!
  • Take lots of pictures.
  • Finally, take notes, cram it all in and keep writing!!
  • Keep dreaming and working towards your dream.
Making more friends
Dress up night! Tuxedos and Tiaras with SE Welsh (L), Cassie Laelyn (C) and me (R)
Conference Time!

Conference Time!

So for the first time ever I’m going to a conference! I’m headed to Sydney for the Australian¬† Romance Writer’s Conference. I’m excited and nervous all rolled into one pocket package.

A couple of years ago my husband and I decided if we are really going to make a go of this writing ‘thing’ I kept doing, we’d better put some effort into it. While I’m not published yet, going to this conference will help me is so many ways. From meeting other writing people to learning in the sessions and simply stepping out of my comfort zone. This is going to be a great time.

What am I looking forward to most? There’s a few things really. I’m hungry to learn more about the craft of writing and how to put a book together. It’s not as easy as some might think it is! I’m keen to meet like-minded people who also have people (ahem-characters) that run around their brains, telling them stories and generally keeping them awake at night. I’m excited about simply being immersed into a world where my heart loves to be.

I’m nervous about meeting people I have never met before, but I’m going to put my best foot forward, smile and say hi – they might be just as nervous as me! Who knows?!

I’ll post back afterwards and let you know how it all went!


The Power of the Cover

The Power of the Cover

In book world we like to talk about how book covers are essential. They are the wrapping on the product and if it’s not done well, then the product isn’t going to sell as well. I’m still on my journey to publication but I want to share a quick story about reading reviews before buying books.

I saw a post on Facebook asking if people read book reviews before buying a book to read. Many people in the discussion said they did read book reviews before buying a book and considered it very important. I said that I do not. I was asked this question:

“Then how you do decide what to read?”

My answer was really simple: Book cover and blurb. If neither grab me then I won’t buy it.

I also feel that reading book reviews might take away from me enjoying a book, or that it might spoil the book in some way. So I don’t read them. I do however, love to read reviews after I’ve read a book. That’s one of my favourite things to do. I love seeing whether a reviewer agrees or disagrees with my opinion on the book.

Image from Amazon UK

So with that in mind I’d like to show you my latest book purchase.

I was strolling through the shops when I paused at the book section. I saw this book. I immediately picked it up to get a closer look at the cover. I loved it. I also loved the title. I knew that I wanted to find out more, so I flipped it over and read the blurb. I loved what I read. So I bought the book. It’s that simple.

I knew nothing about this author, there was no author that I was familiar with recommending this book that would help me buy it. There was nothing but the wrapping on the product. That my friends is the power of a book cover.

I must add something though. If an author I love releases a book I will simply buy it, no questions asked even if I don’t like the cover. If that same author recommends a book to read I will often buy that too. I trust them, their brand and thus their recommendations hold a lot of weight. I still don’t read book reviews on my favourite authors new releases.

What I’m talking about here is for an unknown author, someone I’ve never read before and have no familiar author recommending them.

So what helps you decide what to read next? Do you read reviews as well or are you like me and buy based on cover?