RWA 2013 - Harlequin Party!

Dani CollinsHarlequin Partyharlequin presentsMills & BoonNancy WarrenPresents AuthorsReviewsRWA2013Writing a series

Continuing my posts on RWA 2013 in Atlanta, I'm now at Friday afternoon and evening. If you've missed some in this series, links to previous posts are here:

Before I left for the Harlequin Party, I did attend one more workshop on Reviews with Jeannie Lin and Shawntelle Madison. It was very well attended, had great handouts, and they were good speakers.

Unfortunately, my brain had checked out for the afternoon. My takeaway from this was: Have a reason for seeking reviews because they don't necessarily sell books.

I was glad to hear this because I was initially overwhelmed by all the info they offered on how to get reviews. I was like, Seriously? I'm not busy enough? Then I went, okay, a review would be nice, but I can wait to worry about that in a year or two after I get some more books written.

And, before I forget (Wait, don't guess yet!) I wanted to talk about a workshop I attended on Writing A Series. I can't figure out from my notes or the schedule of workshops when I was in it, but it was hosted by a pair of Avon authors and one of their editors. I know, I am a bad note-taker. 

Basically they identified Types Of Series, which I kinda knew but hadn't concretely separated in my head. So, for those of you planning a series, you can link books in many ways. I missed the beginning of this workshop so I don't have definitions for all of these. They're pretty self-explanatory anyway:

  • Situational
  • Cultural
  • Geographical
  • Family - This is very common with a number of siblings in one family. I didn't plan to do this with the Makricostas, but as you can see from my More Than A Convenient Marriage? page, No Longer Forbidden became More Than A One Off Story. 

One of the speakers had a series set in a casino which I thought was a cool idea. They also mentioned that having an over-arching romance can cause reader confusion. While teasers about a couple having some chemistry might work through a number of books, ultimately readers want the whole romance wrapped up in one go. Having said that, writing a complete romance in each book but having an over-arching mystery can work for a romance reader.

The other advice they had for writers planning to write a series was: consider what you're good at. What is your brand, what are your stories 'known' for, what fairy tale are you telling? What is it about you that you'll bring to your series? If you're having trouble figuring that out, look at the types of books and myths that resonate for you.

If you do write a series, be sure to have a book list on your website telling readers the order in which to read the books. Not everyone cares, but the ones that do care, care a lot.

Harkening back to the indie vs trad post, writing series seems to be a terrific way to develop momentum as an indie author. I don't think it hurts on the traditional side either, which is why I made a point of going to this workshop. Why yes, my infamous To Do list contains the phrase, "Plan a Series." Watch for it ;o)

Finally, we get to the Harlequin Party which holds a lot of mystique for the unpublished writer. I went last year with Cathryn and Karen and was a little overwhelmed, to be honest, but the same dj is flown in every year and he keeps the place hopping. I love to dance so I have a great time no matter what.

This year I walked over with Nancy Warren, met Cathryn and Barb Wallace when we arrived and partied with the Presents editors and authors. All my photos were taken on my iPhone 3s, so they're all grainy and awful. I have a few with Nancy, Aimee Carson (one of my first friends from last year's Presents lunch), Maisey Yates, Megan Crane, Sharon Kendrick trying on Maisey's golden shoes, and a photo of a gal I met at the librarian's lunch and discovered she's my neighbour from Creston. We bumped into each other several times over the conference, but do you think I can find her business card in this mess? Argh.

I'll put up photos of the socks however, because they cracked me up yet turned out to be such a lifesaver. Once you kick off your shoes, you kind of want something on your feet while you continue dancing or you'll get blisters on your toes-ies.

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I missed it last year, but I guess they offer up socks every year with some Harlequin branding. This year they were hot pink and advertise the new Cosmo Red Hot Reads. Photo on left and, big surprise, still Floorganized only worse. I know, today it will get tidied, I swear.

(Aside: it was going to be my evening project last night, but we went to dinner and on the way home saw a man staggering along the street. This isn't a completely crazy sight--we live in a tourist town and it's summer. Some people overindulge on their way from the pub to their camp site.

However, he was probably seventy and looked extra confused. We stopped him and he couldn't remember his name or where he was. After getting the police and paramedics on the way, we figured out he was diabetic and got some apple juice in him.

He remembered his name at that point--it was quite amazing how quickly he began to recover--and he said, "I think if I could get some sugar." The paramedics arrived and I'm sure after he got packaged up and stabilized he was able to remember where his family was, but it was a bit of drama for us in our small town here so I didn't get back into my office after dinner the way I meant to.)

Remember when I said I'd be all over the board with my posts on conference? I'm not the type to say I told ya so, but I'm just saying.

One more post, a quick wrap up on the final day, Saturday, coming next.