Part One of My Notes from a Recap of RWA National 2018

Every year, my local chapter of Romance Writers of America has a potluck meeting and those who were able to attend can share what they learned with those of us who could not attend. I try to make notes about the important things but sometimes I get sidetracked. Like by Sara who is a twin and a mother of twins! Teenagers, even. And the anthology Fae Worlds, written by some of my friends in the chapter. And by the delicious food set out for the chapter. Mmmm.

Our dear president said that the things he most wants to share are these: 1) When in doubt, write! Even if you only can manage 15 minutes per day, don’t let it slide. Whatever is challenging you now, write about it and let it go. 2) Enjoy the ride. Let the stress roll on by and enjoy the act of creating and writing. 3) You can’t do it all. So pick the things that matter to you. He used the example of juggling too many balls. Some are plastic balls, some are glass balls. Let the plastic ones drop, you can go back to them. The glass ones need your attention now. Keep them in sight.

090218 juggler

The wonderful and talented Sherry Thomas talked on editing and brought pages that her editor sent back. These had lots to do on them and gave hope to her listeners. She also reinforced finding your own voice. Stop writing how you think you should.

Interest peaked as RWA downplayed traditional publishing, but the Industry Marketplace was not well planned. The editors who were there couldn’t talk to writers. There was no way to find out what they wanted. One writer had better feedback from hanging out in the bar. She talked to editors and publishers freely.

090218 publishers

There was an event called Speed Pitch, like speed dating except you had 2 minutes to pitch your book with an editor. One writer didn’t pitch, which seemed to relieve the editors, and instead got to know them and chat. She has no idea how beneficial this form of pitching was for the writers. She learned a lot from standing in the line for that event and talking to peers.

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Someone heard that traditional publishers are struggling and don’t know what they want. This last part hasn’t changed for many years. One writer suggested getting published through Amazon’s traditional publishing houses because they will do the advertising and help you sell. Some of the houses there want authors who have already sold 50,000 copies of a self-published titled. There is a downside and an upside to the monopoly that Amazon holds.

090218 cowboy up

Hallmark was the only publisher that had a “Spotlight” panel. They are, of course, looking for stories with no sex, maybe an earnest look, a kiss at the end. Just like the movies they make. If they like your story, you will work for hire and there is no contract for future books. But it’s pretty good money up front.

090218 ny 2011

Just to clarify, Indie vs. Traditional, the difference is the money. You write for an advance and don’t worry about royalties in traditional. Indy is all about the royalties. If you don’t sell, you don’t get paid. But even if you publish independently, the International Market is open. CJ Corbin has many readers in other countries and they do read English.

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So that’s about half of my notes, which is a good place to stop and keep you waiting until next Sunday when I hope to have the rest of this completed. Thanks for reading! I’ll be back on Thursday with the Word of the Month.

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