Sunday 18th August
It’s 7am and I’ve been up an hour on Facebook enjoying all the chatter with fellow RWA members who it seems, like myself, thoroughly enjoyed the events of yesterday, including the Awards Night.
Last night’s event was remarkable. The Southern Cross Ballroom was fabulously presented with tables all decked out with Baci Chocolates [the official sponsors of the event], glittering gems, and bottles of champagne and delicious pastries. The tables were all lit by overhead blue lights and the effect was awesome – perfect to set the mood.
Have to get ready for today’s events so will pick this up later.
It’s now 6pm. The conference is finished, but what an incredible day it was. Starting at 8.30am with the usual introductions and address by the sponsors: Harlequin, the day began with “Survivor: Submission Island”. Writers were invited to submit anonymously the first three pages of a novel whether it was finished or not. The submission was read by an independent reader to a panel who would listen and either ask for the piece to be “Stopped” or request to hear “More”. Several entries were read in the hour allotted to this event; some writers were fortunate, others weren’t; and some like me didn’t get their submission read at all. In a way it was a disappointment as I would have liked to hear the panels’ comments; but also it was a relief, as after attending the various workshops the previous day I felt my work would need drastic revision. The one thing however was that the exercise has inspired me to work at the novella and finish it, rather than hiding behind the excuse that “I’m stuck”. The comments made by the panel were a treasure trove of invaluable tips and expectations.
Two of the workshops I attended were specifically chosen to help me achieve this goal:
- Learning about the power in detail and how it can enhance your story. How the use of descriptive language can make your manuscript come alive to the reader, drawing attention to the vividness of written images to allow your creativity to become alive.
- Using set multiple targets from start to end to achieve your goal and thus allowing the writer to map out a scene and help in the development of the characters.
As an added bonus the second workshop used visual examples and we were treated to a scene from “Gone with the Wind” – superb!!
The third workshop, which was actually timed in between the above two, was centred on Self-Publishing, and even though I have already done such five times over, I was still keen to find out from the panel of bestselling authors their experiences and views. The general consensus had a positive vibe for Indie publishing, such as through Smashwords and/or Amazon. Overall the opinion was in getting the book ready for publication: ensuring the work is first looked at by a reputable editor and that a well-designed cover is attained for the book. Furthermore, it was strongly advised for the manuscript to be reviewed by a critiquing group so that when presenting to an editor some of the work may have already been done thus reducing the time spent and hence minimising the costs.
In the end it is your work and it should be of a quality and feel-good standard to make you comfortable when unleashing it upon your readers. Your name is on the cover: you have invested hard work, time, energy and love in recounting a tale to be proud of. It is in your interest to spend money in ensuring the writing is up to scratch and that a quality cover makes your creation stand out from all the rest. For me, I am forever grateful to Judy Bullard at Custom EBook Covers http://customebookcovers.com/index.html for the fabulous work she has created for my books.
As the conference wound down we were treated to a pre-view of the 2014 Conference which is to be held at the Novotel Olympic Park, Sydney between the 7th and 10th August. We can’t wait!!
Meanwhile though it was nice to finish off the evening by going out to dinner with five of the new friends I made during this weekend. Then to crown it, as I entered the elevator to go up to my room, I found myself sharing it with Bestselling Author Nina Bruhns who is also Senior Editor for Entangled Publishing. As she was amongst the panel of the self-publishing workshop I took the opportunity of thanking her for the invaluable insights given. In turn she asked what I write and having mentioned my genre is mainly historical romance and historical adventure, she remarked that she would love to read my work and to consider approaching Entangled Publishing. What better incentive can anyone be given to finish one’s book and see where it leads?
Perhaps this time next year I might be honoured by having one of my works accepted by a third-party publishing house and thus fulfilling a personal ambition.
RLB – Tomewriter