I am an Indie Author who appreciates a little help getting my books read.
Actually, I'm a hybrid author, which means other publishers own some of my books but I identify as Indie.
Writing conferences are great for networking, learning, spreading the love, and making you vow to eat less, write more, banish those weak verbs and revamp your web site.
I just rolled in the door from Los Angeles where I attended InD'Scribe Conference put on by the nicest group of people ever to take on the almost insurmountable task of organizing a writers' con. Those people over at InD'Tale Magazine are the bomb! The whole thing is headed up by a dynamo with manners and heart and cheerleader-like enthusiasm named TJ Mackay.
She's as efficient as she is pretty and that's saying a lot. Look to the right...TJ has it all, including a great husband, Dwayne, and in-laws who charmed their way through hundreds of authors this last weekend.
The conference was super low cost, the hotel was perfect, the workshop topics were diverse, and I came home alternating between exhaustion and a burning need to write a bestseller.
Here's what I learned in a nutshell from the conference and the workshops I had time to attend (I had three slots where I was co-teaching, or on panels so I missed many that I REALLY wanted to attend.)
- Put yourself out there or the plane ticket is a waste - Say your full name when introducing yourself and don't be shy to trade biz cards - imagine you're in rock star mode to channel a confident you.
- The bar is a great place to mingle even if you don't drink.
- Wear T-shirts to advertise your brand (Andy Peloquin, Bitch 1 and Bitch 2) It's self-promotey but what are you there for if it isn't to promote, learn, and network. It's a great way to be remembered. Wear your brand.
- Smashwords is a fantastic forum for Indies and Jim is super-helpful!!
- Get a good night's sleep night 1 or you'll meet Anne Perry in the elevator on the way to breakfast and be too tired to say anything clever.
- Anne Perry - Your characters must have heart, stakes must mount, relationship changes must be believable, must have save the cat moments, plotting a mystery is key, no saggy middle, say it once strongly but don't repeat, trickle in backstory, begin with inciting incident, Keep Act II moving at a clip like a train too fast to jump from.
- The Editor Devil/Christine Fairchild on Writing a Bestseller - Most bestsellers have this in common: Watch openings and endings of scenes, end on a hook, enter scenes late, leave early, page 1 tension! if you can't deliver tension deliver contrast, main heroes are often mavericks who don't fit in their community, with secrets, no unnecessary dialogue, trim it. setting is a character, have a moment of Eden for main characters then tear it down so they spend the rest of the story trying to get back to Eden, use loaded verbs, sex scenes (use sparingly) must have purpose, Characters must have heart- what is the one thing they'd sacrifice everything for?
- Rebecca Forster - The Blurb - Absolutely Crucial!!! You have 7 seconds to grab a reader's interest. A blurb is 1-4 paragraphs to show critical characters, time/place, call to action, Write it over and over to find perfection, Start with the incident to stir the reader to keep reading and only choose strong words, use reduction writing. Tighten everything. Show conflict, be clear, make characters sound fascinating, sympathetic, worth reading.
A lot goes into those photos you buy at The Killion Group and Period Images to making that photo perfect to sell your book-- even finger placement. Kim showed how she takes photos with a cover in mind, leaving room for the title and author.
Loved the Killion workshop with the mock shoot with Julian, who does pushups between shots to keep those muscles defined and glistening... sigh...
Sprinkling in Backstory with Catherine Bybee and Marina Adair - Write your detailed backstory for each main character before you start writing the first pages to get it out of your system. Write a scene to show what's absolutely necessary to know inside the action. Backstory through secondary connection. Show backstory through dialogue, use subtext to suggest backstory, use setting to show backstory, give only absolutely crucial info in the first few pages, In a series, take 1st book blurb to pepper in only what's important in the second book. Be ruthless with the editing pen.
Kindle Worlds Panel with Kathryn Le Veque - Kindle Worlds writing is not just for super fan/readers anymore, bestselling authors are using fellow bestseller authors' worlds to cross promote, Anyone can use writing in the World to gain readership. Choose your world carefully - some World Owners are not involved in their World writers' books and don't promote for them. Some do, like Kathryn. You don't need permission from the KW Owner. There are 40 Worlds including TV shows to choose from. Amazon KW must approve book and cover. KW Owners like Kathryn have individual contracts. Some only allow certain characters to be used. Amazon OWNS your characters in a World book. Not you. Read the fine print.
Rolynn Andersen - Have a theme for your table that ties to books, genre. Be creative! Don't make it about selling books so have a hook to get people to stop and talk, Have a giveaway for newsletter names, candy helps, swag. Don't sit behind table. Greet everyone who walks by. Don't poach people from other writers, - Set up near the biggest traffic, draw people in to talk, don't force a book on them. Give out cards, Offer to send ebook for free, You are looking for a long-term reader not a one book buyer.
- Get your books reviewed by InD'Tale Magazine and get in the Rone Awards!
- Ann Richardson. Audio Books are on the upswing and finding a great narrator is key, Audition voices. Use Ann!
- Although I didn't hear Suzan Tisdale speak, she is one nice lady!
- Bring more comfortable shoes next year! Drink less, sleep more, give out biz cards with less inhibition, and get pics with the hunks even if you think your arms are fat.
Thank you, TJ, Tonya and all the InD'Scribe staff and volunteers!
Did you go to other workshops I didn't attend? Feel free to add anything in the comments...
Kim Hornsby is an Amazon Bestselling Author of Supernatural Romantic Suspense. She writes kick ass heroines with strange baggage and high stakes. Find her on Amazon www.bit.ly/kimamzn