Convention Tips from Founding Janes

As fate would have it, I was sitting with all three founding Janes at a mini-writing retreat when I realized that this month’s blog topic would be the perfect opportunity to get convention tips from a wealth of knowledge and to see where Susan, Cassiel, and Nancy are on their publishing journey.

My Best Tip For Going to Conference by  Susan Lute

Hi everyoDragon's Thiefne! It’s good to be back. Thanks Jessie, for the invitation, and for the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite topics. But first, what have I been doing since I last visited See Jane Publish? Well…sometimes it doesn’t seem like a lot. Life takes over, you know? In the bigger scheme of things, I’ve written a few words here and there (har har). I have a contemporary romance out to a Harlequin editor, a fun story that takes me back to my writing roots and my first published novel, Oops…We’re Married? I’m working on a new contemporary romance series with my bestie, Darla Luke, novelettes (for the busy woman) set in Sellwood. There was the booksigning for The Dragon’s Thief (which is in print now, btw) at Jan’s Paperbacks. That was enormous fun. I’m working on the second book in the Dragonkind Chronicles, Dragon’s Fire, and the second book in my Falling For A Hero series, tentatively titled Bear’s Full House. I hope to put The London Affair and The Broken Road into print novels by the end of summer. AND I still have The Day Job. Whew!

So my best tip for going to conference? Go with a plan. An agenda. That could be, you want to attend workshops on a specific subject like craft, publishing, or organizing your writer’s life. You might want to learn more about traditional publishing houses, so would attend the spotlights and talk to editors. Maybe you want to talk to as many agents as you can to discover what kind of agent you might want. Just be sure to know what you want an agent to do for you. The publishing world has turned on its ear. There are new players in the game, and some of the old players have had to scramble to redefine their roles. Agents are one of them. Perhaps you want to learn more about navigating Indie publishing. Whatever it is, have a plan. My second tip…yes I always have more advice than you want to hear…when you get to conference with your plan, go with the flow. Be flexible. If a door opens, go right when you think left is the way to get to what you want. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but sometimes the best things happen when we’ve put a plan in motion and then the Universe decides to give us a hand. My final advice? Have fun.

Where in the World is Cassiel Knight?

thedeathskullDuring the year, from about April to October, writing conferences fill the calendar. One of the huge upcoming ones is Romance Writers of America’s annual conference, held this year in San Antonio. Over 2,000 authors and aspiring authors are deciding what to pack–just how important are those writing books anyway and how much room do I need to leave for all the books I’ll bring back?–and asking if they’ll be able to find their way among so many attendees.

When Jessie asked me to share my own important tip for attending conferences, it was a no brainer but frankly, not an easy thing for many writers to do: Be courageous.

What do I mean by this? Go up and chat up that agent or editor? Say hi to Nora Roberts, Cherry Adair, Sherrilyn Kenyon or any number of big name authors. Instead of sitting at a table with friends you see all the time, go find a table and make new friends. Participate in workshops by engaging the presenter. See someone off in the corner looking terrified? Go say hi.

All of those things require courage for many of us. However, if you can push past the fear, you’ll find a whole new world open to you–a new world of friendships, connections and some fan-girl squealing. Open yourself to the full experience and grab it with both hands. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.

Cassie Knight is one of the founding members of See Jane Publish. She writes paranormal romance with kick-assitude and is published with Samhain Publishing, Kensington/Lyrical Press and Champagne Book Group. Her latest release is  THE DEATH SKULL, Relic Defender, Book 2 at Amazon.com – Kindle, Barnes & Noble – NOOKBook or Samhain Publishing

Catching up with Nancy Brophy

Nancy2Here it is July and like many of you I am going to the RWA national convention.

I’m going because I am President of my local chapter. I’m going because I haven’t been since about 2008. And I’m going because my writing career needs a boot in the ass.

And I am excited – kind of. While all the above is true, I hate crowds and have to force myself to behave well around strangers, which includes smiling and actually speaking. That’s right stringing several words together to form a complete thought (worthy of being heard) and not forgetting to include both a subject and a verb.

Many, many times I’ve lectured myself using an abundance of cheery, get-your-butt-moving affirmations including, “They’re more insecure than you are.” “You will never sell another book if you don’t take some action – any action.” “Breathe. In. Out. Again.” And sometimes when I am hopeless, I give into – “I am good enough. I am smart enough. And doggone it, people like me!”

When I wrote that last sentence in my first draft, I ended it with a question mark rather than an exclamation point – and, no, I didn’t see it as Freudian at all.

So what are my tips for going?

Pack scotch, it’s cheaper than the mini-bar.

Try to lose that crazed look when you realize in the middle of a conversation you know exactly what the next scene of your WIP should be. And really the person sitting across from you is sometimes offended if you put the words she just uttered into your villain’s mouth. (Even if they are perfect.)

Get your nails done.

Pluck your eyebrows or chin hairs, shave your legs and elsewhere before you go.

Make it to the airport before your plane leaves without you.

And know – this one is the important one – that you are where you are supposed to be at that moment in time. Make the most of it.

You might surprise yourself.

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About Jessie Smith

Health Care Worker by Day, Aspiring Author by Night and 24/7 Staff for Riley (Corgie/Tibetan Spaniel Mix)

Posted on July 14, 2014, in Jessie Smith and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Yes, great to hear from all of you! Nice tip to end on too :)

  2. So lovely to see you ladies again! Thanks for the awesome advice. Hope to run into you in San Antonio!

  3. This made me smile! I’ll be at Nationals for the first time this year. I’m a sort of terrified excited. I’ll be the person in the corner, watching everyone else, but my writing is at a stage where I have to take the next step.

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