Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

  • Subscribe

  • Hanging by a Hair

    Hanging by a Hair, a Bad Hair Day Mystery by Nancy J. Cohen

    A Bad Hair Day Mystery

  • Shear Murder

    Shear Murder

    A Bad Hair Day Mystery

  • Writing the Cozy Mystery

    Writing the Cozy Mystery

    Writing Guide

  • Warrior Lord

    Warrior Lord

    Paranormal Romance

  • Warrior Rogue

    Warrior Rogue

    Paranormal Romance

  • Archives

  • Categories

Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

Teamwork for Cross-Promotion

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 27, 2014

Teaming up for Cross Promotion with Nancy J. Cohen, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Erin Mitchell and moderated by Maggie Toussaint

This is my last recap of panels from SleuthFest 2104. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

Cross Promotion

Erin says cross-promotion works best when there’s something in it for everyone. When you have an audience, you have something to bring to the table. Readers are a good resource. Ask them questions and engage them directly. Know where you can find them. The purpose is to build your brand. Write some valued content and distribute it into various venues.

I discussed my lifeboat team, Booklover’s Bench. We’re a team of seven multi-published authors who have a website together where we offer monthly contests, behind-the-scenes glimpses of our working life, excerpts, profiles, and more. We cross-promote by offering prizes for each other’s contests in some cases as well. Measurable results include increased numbers of names for our mailing lists, added Likes to our Facebook author pages, more followers on Twitter, additional Likes on our Amazon author pages, and having our books placed on Goodreads TBR lists.

I’m also a regular blogger on The Kill Zone, a blogging site with 11 mystery/thriller authors where we offer writing instruction, publishing advice, and marketing tips along with our musings on The Writing Life.

Libby cautions that you should be careful and must really like the work of people in your group. Some may be more invested than others. Personalities are important. She belongs to a group of suspense writers, both hybrid and traditionally published authors who’ve moved on to self-publishing. They have done a round robin story together, two anthologies, and a how-to write crime fiction work. They’ve tweeted and shared posts on FB for each other. One advantage of a sizable group is that they can negotiate terms with online book retailers.

Her group invested money to hire a website designer who also maintains their site. They also paid for a cover designer on the anthologies. Their income helps counter expenses. They have rules for dissolution in their LLC’s operating agreement or for dissolving the LLC in the future. This helps members take their commitment seriously.

Libby recommends the following blogs:

The Passive Voice

Digital Book World

Joe Konrath

Kris Writes

The Dames of Dialogue

Indie Chicks

Nancy J. Cohen and Maggie Toussaint

Maggie and Nancy from Booklover’s Bench.

This concludes my SleuthFest report. I hope you have enjoyed these summaries and will consider attending in person next year! Keep watch for details at http://mwaflorida.org/

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Laura Lippman

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 26, 2014

Lunch with Laura Lippman at SleuthFest

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

Laura Lippman

Bestselling Author Laura Lippman discussed what it means to be a professional writer. Publishing has changed in terms of e-books, self-published writers and hybrid authors. “The conversation has become so charged and so vitriolic. I’ve yet to see any reliable numbers on either side.” The argument for traditional publishing is couched in money and control.

No one argues that self-publishing will lead to better books. This avenue can produce as good a book as traditional publishing. But where is the true masterpiece in self-publishing? “Show me a masterpiece that could only have come” from a self-published work.

Find someone you can trust to tell your dreams about publishing. What are you prepared to do to get there? Professionalism is taking your work seriously, and being respectful of other people’s time and expertise.

Laura calls indie publishing “a less precise euphemism” for self-publishing. The key is in doing the work and reaching a reasoned decision to self-publish but not for instant gratification. Is the work ready? Be a ruthless critic of your own work. The goal has to be to write the best book you can. Your words are your legacy. Make them precise. Make them good.

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ACX and Kobo

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 24, 2014

Audio Books on ACX with Terry Odell and Neil Plakcy and moderated by Julie Compton

ACX Panel with Terry Odell and Neil Plackcy

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

Note: Terry has many of the steps for creating an audiobook on her blog at Terry’s Place

Nowhere to Hide, an audiobook romantic suspense by Terry Odell

Why Audio?

Sales of audio books are growing in double digits. There’s extra money involved. You can reach another audience. And it’s not hard to do.

Why ACX?

ACX stands for the Audiobook Creation Exchange. It’s owned by Amazon, and it connects narrators, producers, authors, and the marketplace. It’s not hard to learn and has good customer service. They have a lot of narrators, and you don’t need a cash outlay. http://www.acx.com/

Getting Started

Enter your book in the blank box to find it on Amazon, who will fill in the description. Categorize your book. You’ll be presented with three choices. You have an audio book and you want to sell it. You wish to narrate your own story. Or you want to hire a narrator. For a producer, keep in mind the quality of equipment and if they fix glitches.

How do you pick a narrator?

Gender: Male, female, or either
Age: Child, Tween, Teen, YA, Adult, Middle Aged, or Elderly
Language: English, French, German, Spanish
Accents: Choose from a list
Narrative styles: Upbeat, sexy, frightened, etc. This should reflect the tone of the book.

Pitch your book

Market to the producer by mentioning your mailing list numbers, awards, reviews, and other accolades.

Let the narrator know what type of book it is (i.e. humorous mystery) and what types of characters are involved including special accents (i.e. Yiddish words or Spanish phrases).

The sample script is 5000 characters limit, but it does not have to be consecutive text.

Ask the narrator what kind of promotion they’ll do for your book.

Can you tell the difference with this narrator between the character speaking and thinking?

How about dialogue with “he said” and “she said?” If there are two female characters, can you tell which one is speaking? Are puns pronounced correctly?

Royalties

You can pay the narrator up front and keep all the royalties, or do a 40% split. If you do the split royalties, the audiobook will be sold on Audible, Amazon, and iTunes only. But there’s no cash outlay and the narrator is more likely to help in the marketing. That is, if you can find a narrator willing to invest their time in your project. Paying up front is more expensive, but you can sell your audio elsewhere and you have control over it.

Stipends

ACX may pay narrators a stipend to do your narration. This attracts more narrators, but you have to sell yourself when applying for this option. So consider the application form a “pitch” session and mention your readership and marketing basis.

Covers

These must be 2400 x 2400 square. You cannot resize your ebook, so ask your cover designer to provide a cover in this size.

What's in a Name by Terry Odell

Full Narration

Don’t have the narrator read your front or back material. They’ll upload the first 15 minutes to your dashboard for you to check the pacing, accuracy, etc. Have them upload chapters as they go so you can listen to the file. You may want to tell them to drop the “he said” or “she said” if they feel it isn’t necessary.

If you want a copy on CD, consider that the book takes about 10 hours or so to narrate, and so you’ll need a number of CDs for one work.

The file comes as a download. People listen to it on their mobile devices or on their cell phone.

Reviews

Reviews will show up on the audiobook’s Amazon page.

<><><>

Kobo Writing Life with Christine Munroe and moderated by Christine Kling

Kobo SleuthFest

Kobo has a blog, podcast, and social media sites. Check out Kobo Writing Life . They have a bestseller list on the blog with 30 titles. Kobo also has author collectives like the “Jewel” historical romances. They have a daily deal on the main page which may include boxed sets. Kobo Next is indie picks for new releases. You can also ask to be included in the First Free in Series.

If a book is to $2.99 here, then it’s $2.88 in Canada/Europe. Books priced at $1.99 are doing poorly. Customers like $.99 or $2.99. You can raise the price for full-length books up to $8.99.

You should link to Kobo on your website and other places online. Marketing opportunities include Book Bub, Story Finds, and Indie Bound.

For metadata, you’ll want to add the imprint or publisher name and the series title.

Indie bookstores earn a percentage of sales selling Kobo e-book readers and titles.

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Editors Roundtable at SleuthFest

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 21, 2014

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

Editors Roundtable with Neil S. Nyren, Shannon Jamieson Vazquez, Deni Dietz, Matt Martz and moderated by P.J. Parrish

P1030479

How have the changes in publishing affected you?

Matt said social media tools can take up a lot of time and become distracting. However, electronic submissions are great. “Queries written like tweets don’t fly.” Be professional in your queries.

Shannon mentioned that e-mail has revolutionized multiple submissions like the Xerox machine did earlier. E-books are growing.

Neil said e-books are a big change in our business. If you plan to save self-publish, please make sure the book is ready. Respect the reader. Hire a professional copy editor to edit your work and a professional artist to design your jackets.

Kristy (aka P.J. Parrish) warned listeners to be careful of typos especially if you get your backlist scanned.

Is the editing process gone, or how has it changed?

Matt said, if an editor has to dig in deep to line edit, then he probably shouldn’t be working with you. An editor works on tone, pacing, developmental issues, and broader strokes.

Shannon said there’s no one way to do it. “I red-line the hell out of a manuscript. We’re working to make the book the best it can be.” She’ll spend at least two weeks on a manuscript. Altogether, a book might take her five to six months for the different stages.

Neil gives the manuscript a complete first read and then sends the author notes on what works and what doesn’t.

Deni said historical mysteries take longer to work on due to the research involved. She works with three associate editors. She advises writers to learn your toolbar and track changes. The days of sticky notes on manuscripts are over. Formatting is very important.

Also, there is a misperception that if it’s wrong, an editor will fix it. That is untrue. Deni will do brief edits as she reads through the work and then sends it back to the writer for corrections. She believes that if someone doesn’t show you what’s wrong, how are you going to learn?

If the writing is dazzling, but the story is not compelling, Neil said that’s called an “MFA” [Master of Fine Arts] manuscript.

Where do most books fall apart?

Shannon says this happens for her between pages 1 and 150. The book gets off to a good start but gets tangled in subplots, or else the story peters out. Or the solution isn’t what she’d expected.

Deni said sometimes this happens in the middle or at the end because the writer is anxious to finish. Or else there’s a Too Stupid To Live moment. But that’s fixable, so don’t despair.

Neil looks to see if the author has control of the book from the very beginning. He says a good agent should know an editor’s particular taste.

You will learn more by writing a book, putting it in a drawer, and starting a new one than by working on that same manuscript for years.

How often do books come out?

Shannon said romances are at the forefront of three month back-to-back book releases but not mysteries. Deni said her house puts out one book a year due to reviewers’ lead time.

Short stories and novellas are making a comeback with e-books, according to Shannon. Nobody is buying short story collections, but they can be used as teasers for book-length novels. Neil pointed out pricing on a short story could be $.99 or free, while a novella can be sold for $2.99.

What about print-only deals?

Matt said it’s not much of a partnership if the author retains e-book rights.

Neil adds, “We’re giving up the potential, so for most people print-only deals won’t be a possibility.”

Deni said Five Star will not take a self-published book.

Shannon said they would consider buying e-book rights from self-published authors, but you would have to take your book down at the online sites where you have it on sale.

Coming Next: Kobo and ACX

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, Fiction Writing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Cracking Discoverability

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 19, 2014

Contest
Enter to win 1 of 4 signed ARCs of Hanging By A Hair in my Goodreads Giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/81598-hanging-by-a-hair

<><><>

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

“Cracking Discoverability” with Terry Odell, Neil Plakcy, Eileen Robertson, Peggy Hanson, and Sandra Balzo as moderator.

P1030466

Find your public and reach out to them. Look for mystery listserves like Dorothy L and 4 Mystery Addicts, and join their discussions to establish a presence. Check out groups on Goodreads and LinkedIn for mystery readers. Look for book blogs. Check out Novel Spot for readers.

Terry said, “The key to social networks is being social.” Don’t push your book. You want people to like your post and then they will look up your books.

Peggy gets a lot of hits posting about her cats so she agrees with Terry. “PR stuff is very hard, but if you present yourself as a person, people may become interested in you as a writer.”

Eileen belongs to a group of women mystery writers, and they tour together for events. “The reader is far more important than the writer.” And even if they get your book at the library, then they’ll want to read the rest of your works.

According to Terry, “The best thing you can do on Facebook is to share.” She mentions Rafflecopter for contests and then discussed how to get your Facebook friends to migrate to your Facebook page. Ask them periodically to Like your page.

Neil discussed what makes a good newsletter. You can pepper in short chunks of research, fun and interesting facts, sneak peeks at your next work, giveaways, contests with prizes including other authors’ books. Get readers onto your blog with recipes, pets, or other interesting tidbits.

Friday Lunch Keynote Speaker Ace Atkins

P1030464
Ace discussed his road to publication and how he kept persisting. You get knocked down, you get back up and listen how to improve your work. Get out to meet people, real people related to your work. If you’re not passionate about the material and love it, think about why you’re in this business. Leave out the stuff people skip over and get to the story. Listen to people talk to learn to write dialogue. Don’t watch television to learn.

Examine who you’re targeting when you submit to an editor. What are their tastes and interests?

Don’t ever stop writing. If it’s not working, start something else. Keep going. If an agent or editor aren’t working out, move on. Always keep the book going. You’ll only get better.

Coming Next: Editors Roundtable

 

 

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Librarians and Authors

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 12, 2014

Contests

Enter to win 1 of 4 signed ARCs of Hanging By A Hair in my Goodreads Giveaway: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/enter_choose_address/81598

Win a $25 gift card or 1 of 6 books, including an ARC for Hanging By A Hair, at Booklover’s Bench: http://bookloversbench.com/

<><><>

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

Librarian/Author Mash-Up

Authors Nancy J. Cohen and Elaine Viets, Librarians Judy Buckland and Jo-Ann Glendinning; Moderated by Julie Compton

P1030453
Nancy J. Cohen, Judy Buckland, Elaine Viets

Note: We will be appearing at the Lake County BookFest this week. Go here for the schedule and more information: http://www.mylakelibrary.org/festival_of_reading/default.aspx

Who do we contact at a library if authors want to set up an event? Contact the program coordinator or director of library systems. Make your desire known as an author that you want to participate.

What works well for the librarians? Connecting writers with readers. Librarians can find out what circulates where, and then match authors to those audiences. They can make sure to have a visiting author’s book in circulation. For new acquisitions, they’ll read reviews and research Baker and Taylor and Booklist.

The Lake County library system has a local authors’ day twice a year for their local and self-published authors. This may include multiple authors plus one special guest.

In schools, look for the curriculum research or media specialist. It’s tough to get in the school libraries. Or check the school volunteer programs and offer to speak.

If you want to sign at the American Library Association event, a requirement is that your publisher donates one hundred copies of your book. You can have bookmarks with your backlist titles.

What draws people in? Writing workshops. Libraries can target groups, not only aspiring writers but also historians, for example, and invite Downton Abbey fans for tea. Targeting niche audiences works well this way. The Red Hat Ladies is another group they’ve approached for an author event.

What types of promotion work for the library? Having a website, putting a magnet on their courier van, newsletters, listserves among librarians. E-books are bought from Overdrive. Problems they encounter may be publishers who limit circulation or publishers who won’t license e-books to the library.

Audio books have grown. People check them out for trips, including truck drivers. Vision-impaired patrons like them. They are downloadable through Overdrive. Large print books are a good business, too.

What do the librarians require from an author? A website, media page, short and long biography, high resolution photo with permission from the photographer, and a bibliography of their books. Authors should show up on time for programs and have a contact number to call.

If you’re an author, how do you approach a library to do an event? Has this been successful for you?

 

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What is the Best Publishing Path?

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 10, 2014

“What is the Best Publishing Path?” with Marty Ambrose, Doug Giacobbe, Julie Compton and moderator Joanna Campbell Slan at SleuthFest 2014.

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Like my page, then click on Photos, Albums, and SleuthFest 2014.

IMG_0608

Julie said, “What you think you want before you get published is different from what you realize you want after you get published.” What she really wants now is for readers to read her book whichever way she can get it out there.

Regarding self-publishing, Doug said that you have to get involved. “Get out there and push it. It takes a commitment to make things work. You’ve got to take the time to work it.”

Marty suggested you get an agent at the conference if you want to go the traditional route.

Regarding agents, Julie said to find someone who is forward-thinking and who will support you if you decide to self-publish.

“The whole game has changed in regard to agents,” Joanna advised. “This is your career and your book, and you need to be in the driver’s seat. Be wary of giving away your rights to gain a publisher, or it might come back and hit you in the face.”

Ask yourself why you want to publish your own work. Is it because your manuscript has been rejected? If so, you need to hire an editor.

Joanna mentioned that you might need three types of editors. First there is the concept or story editor, followed by a copy editor, and then a galley proofreader.

Doug cautioned that if you have a book, don’t just slap it up on Amazon. If you’re going to do it right, it takes time and commitment, and it will cost you.

Marty suggested you examine what it is about writing that you absolutely love. You can get caught up in the marketing, so go back to basics and rediscover what you love about storytelling. Regarding marketing, she takes the grassroots approach into colleges, the community, and women’s clubs where she collects names for her mailing list. She also does online marketing.

“It’s a business,” Julie said. “You are not just writing now. You need to take the time to learn the craft and business of writing. One of the advantages of self-publishing is that your book is available quicker.”

No matter which route you go, you’re going to have to learn marketing because you’ll do it either way.

Suggested blogs to follow: The Passive Guy, Jane Friedman, Hugh Howey, and Joe Konrath.

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, Self-Publishing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 9, 2014

We continue with my recap of panels and workshops at SleuthFest. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Go there, Like my page, then click on Photos. Next click on Albums and then SleuthFest 2014.

“What I Wish Someone Had Told Me” with Spotlight Speaker Hank Phillippi Ryan at SleuthFest 2014

P1030447

Approach your writing one page at a time. Just do it and follow your dreams. Be ready for the 40,000 word slump. Somewhere in the middle, we all have a slump. “I’m just not sure if I can finish it.” You will if you want to. So how do you get rid of this panicky self-doubt? You don’t, but know that you are not alone. Power your way through your first draft. Just tell the story. You can fix it later. Go word-by-word. Everyone has doubts. But it is never that bad, and it might even be good. So before you crash and burn your manuscript, make a copy. Also remember when you first had the idea for the book and fall in love with your story again. You’ll have renewed vigor and enthusiasm.

Don’t waste time seeking the Holy Grail. There is nothing. There is only your way. If it works for you, that is the right way. If you stall, there is another way. There is always another way.

P1030446

Get yourself into the real world and put yourself in a community where you can talk to people about the same things. You are not alone. You write alone, but we are all here with each other, and we all have the same goals.

Don’t underestimate how hard it is to take criticism. Listen with an open mind. You don’t have to do it the way they suggest.

What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail? There is no writer’s block. Open your mind to see what’s wrong. Don’t panic. Listen to your inner voice.

Don’t rush. Wait until your book is ready before submitting. Then get ready to be rejected. Every “no” means you are one step closer to a “yes”. Nothing in the world takes the place of persistence.

Be careful of the Internet. Write first. Ask yourself, What is the most important thing for you to do today? Don’t forget to celebrate at every turn. Be happy. We all want more, but be happy with the journey as it’s full of wonders.

P1030444

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

E-Book ABC’s at SleuthFest

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 6, 2014

SleuthFest 2014, Orlando

Third Degree Thursday opened the SleuthFest 2014 festivities at the beautiful Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort. I gave a presentation on “Writing is Revising” first thing in the morning, and then I listened to Neil S. Plakcy’s workshop on e-books. Workshops and panels follow. These are my interpretations and notes, and any misstatement is my error. Photos are viewable from my Facebook Page. Go there, Like my page if you haven’t already done so, then click on Photos. Next click on Albums and then SleuthFest 2014.

Revising Panel

E-book ABC’s with Neil S. Plakcy

Neil said to learn your Word basics in terms of styles, formatting and headers. Understand the difference between a hard return and a soft return (shift-enter). In e-books, don’t use tabs or headings. “Write the best book you can if you intend to self-publish.” Take classes and workshops; join a critique group; get a manuscript critique; employ beta readers; do multiple revisions; join the Sinc Guppies; hire a professional editor.

IMG_0600

To prepare your manuscript, proofread thoroughly. Check for page breaks and section breaks. A print version will need page numbers and headers. Don’t forget your copyright, acknowledgments, and dedication. The cover should be professional and eye-catching. Use royalty-free photos, and make sure the cover is readable at a small size. Hire an artist if you can’t do it yourself.

The jacket copy is the sales copy for online retailers. It is similar to the back cover copy on paperbacks. Marketing copy is to attract buyers. This may include endorsements. What is the hook for this book to get someone to want to buy it?

Metadata are keywords that readers use to search for your book. It may include terms relevant to the subgenre, location, subject matter, or theme. Go to Amazon and start typing in a keyword to see what pops up. This will tell you the most popular keywords.

Regarding file conversion, you could use the free Calibre software to save a Word doc as HTML. You want to use an Epub validator online to test before posting. Again, if you can’t do it for yourself, hire someone. Once your book is set, you upload it to the various sites. You may have to provide direct deposit information for your bank account. Often your book will be on sale within 24 hours. There is no cost to upload.

IMG_0600

Amazon has several programs available, such as their KDP Select, Matchbook, Createspace, ACX, and Countdown. Royalties are often paid monthly after a 90 day delay. You can check your dashboard for up-to-date sales figures. Neil discussed royalties for the various e-book distributors. To determine the price for your book, see how much other books like yours are selling for. Determine your purpose. Is it to make money, to promote your work, or to provide information? What are the prevalent rates on the market today?

Promotion is important. You want to get reviews from other bloggers, Amazon customers, and Goodreads members. “Bloggers are the new reviewers these days.” Keep up with social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google Plus. Utilize photo sites like Pinterest and Tumblr. Promote your work at conferences, festivals, bookstores, and libraries when possible.

If you’re with an e-book publisher, they will likely have a list of reviewers, and this gives them an edge over self-published authors.

If you can, promote your work on sites like Book Bub and The Fussy Librarian. You need a minimum number of Amazon reviews for these sites.

Why give away free books? It helps gain readers. Use the sites above or run contests.

Neil uses Untreed Reads for distribution to various sites like Overdrive. You can opt out of the sites you don’t want them to do. They also sell through overseas vendors.

<><><>

Neil is the author of several mystery series including his latest title, Genie for Hire–a fun, magical mystery with a genie detective.

<><><>

Tomorrow, check out my post on “Writing the Cozy Mystery” at the How To Write Shop. Then stay tuned for a recap of Joanna Campbell Slan’s talk on “Seriously Series.”

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, Self-Publishing, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Preparing for a Conference

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on February 21, 2014

How long does it take to prepare for a conference? Soon I’ll be heading to SleuthFest in February, Lake County BookFest in March, Malice Domestic in April, the Florida Library Association Convention in May, and Mystery Writers Key West Fest in June.

It can take me several weeks to get ready for each event and another couple of weeks to decompress and get caught up upon my return home. That’s a lot of time lost, not to mention money for gas, lodgings, registration fees, promo materials, etc. However, it’s time and money well spent from the benefits you receive by meeting other authors, booksellers, fans, and industry personnel.

FLA2013 Mystery

Conferences necessitate a lot of preparation, especially if you’re going as a speaker. Aside from determining your particular goals for this event—i.e. attending specialized craft sessions, learning about new publishing options, meeting editors, making new author friends, greeting fans—there’s the physical prep. Here’s a checklist of things to consider.

  1. Prepare for your talks. If you’re a panelist, it can be easier because you might not have to do much prep other than jotting down some notes about the points you want to get across. Moderator-run panels in general mean more work for the moderator but less work for the panel guests, unless you are each expected to present your material for xx minutes.
  2. If you are conducting a workshop on your own, you’ll need to compose or update your material and get copies made of handouts.
  3. If you’re speaking on different topics, assemble each handout in a separate manila envelope to keep them organized.
  4. Order business cards unless you have them already. Consider updating them with QR codes or with your social network URLs.
  5. Design, order, and pack brochures, bookmarks, and/or postcards about your books. Bring along display containers so they don’t get strewn across the tables.
  6. Design, order, and pack swag for the promo tables or goody room. These are items such as magnets, pens, door hangers, candy, and other giveaways.
  7. If you are driving, toss a box of extra books into your trunk in case the on-site bookseller doesn’t get your books in time or is unable to obtain copies of a particular title.
  8. Bring a checkbook in case the bookseller offers to sell you leftover stock at a discounted price.
  9. Pack a book or two to display at your presentations and panels.
  10. Consider giving a couple of books away at the Q&A sessions for your talks.
  11. If you’re donating a raffle basket, either get your materials to the coordinator ahead of time or bring the basket prepared and ready to go.
  12. Bring a signup sheet for your newsletter to put out at signings.
  13. Print out the conference workshop schedule and highlight your appearances. List these on your website and other online sites and include these papers in your suitcase.
  14. Bring a highlighter along so you can go through the conference schedule and mark sessions you want to attend.
  15. Print out contact info for friends you want to meet at the conference.
  16. Decide which outfits to wear to the different events. Business attire for daytime, dressier clothes for evening? Don’t forget matching shoes, handbags, and jewelry.
  17. Determine what gadgets to bring along: iPad or Laptop? Kindle or Nook? Camera to take photos for your blog? Charging devices?
  18. Pack a notebook to take notes. Later, write blogs about the sessions you attended to share your knowledge.
  19. Include Sharpie pens for signing books and ballpoint pens for note taking.
  20. If you belong to a professional writing organization, bring along chapter brochures to hand out to potential members.

NPC1

And the countdown begins. What else would you add to this list?

To see my upcoming conference appearances and virtual blog tour, go here: http://nancyjcohen.com/appearances/

Posted in Business of Writing, Conferences, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,701 other followers

%d bloggers like this: