Tag Archives: networking

Ten Tips I Received…and Sometimes Ignored

Posted by August 31st, 2011

Thriller writer Jamie Freveletti shares the most personally useful–and least useful–advice she’s gotten.

“Persistence is the only thing that really has the ability to move you closer to being published.”

 Jamie Freveletti_smallWhile I was working on my first manuscript I was given boatloads of advice.

Here’s what ended up working, and not working, for me:

1. Write every day.
This advice comes from those who write like crazy. Many who say this are well published. I write a lot, but not every day. Frankly, there are not many things I do every day except raise children. When I worked as a lawyer and the kids were smaller I wrote every other day on average. Vacations- and beach vacations in particular- ramp up my word count and as a result my children have seen a lot of sand.

2. Outline. 
I get an idea for a premise and begin writing. I research along the way, but while I’m still writing. I remember what James Rollins once said at a conference I attended: “when you’re researching you’re working but not writing.” In other words, doing prep work accomplishes something but you are still no closer to finishing the novel. Outlining is not for me.

3. Take a creative writing class. 
I began with an evening course at the University of Chicago Gleacher center. I got into the groove of writing there, but by no means do I think it is a necessary step to becoming a writer.

4. Get a Masters in Fine Arts.
I have some degrees and diplomas. Enjoyed them all, but just don’t have it in me to get one more. Thankfully, this bit of advice is only necessary if you want to obtain a position as a professor.

5. Write what you know.
I’ve written about things I can only imagine. I mean, who murders someone just so they can write about murder? In fact, one of my first manuscripts is about a female attorney. I knew the material, but so many have written legal scenarios and lawyer protagonists that I wasn’t sure I had much to add to the genre. Not to mention that I felt as though I was at work 24/7. I ended up putting that manuscript on the shelf and turned to write Running. If you’re unsure about your ability to write a believable scenario in an area you don’t know, then maybe you should write what you know at first. Just be prepared to branch out if necessary.

6. Awful first drafts are fine.
If you don’t finish something, you’ll never get in the game. Just quell the voice in your head that says “Are you kidding? No one is going to want to read this drivel” and keep on going. You’re going to revise and revise and then revise again anyway.

7. Be prepared to write a second novel if the first doesn’t sell.
Seems as though everyone has a manuscript on the shelf. I know I do. It’s not bad, as firsts go, but I read it the other day from my new position as a debut author of a second manuscript, and I can now see where it can be improved. Don’t know if I had that perspective before.

8. Attend conferences to meet people in the industry.
Just don’t do what I did during my first and spend the afterhours in a Starbucks instead of in the hotel bar. Lawyers congregate in Starbucks and leave early to go home and continue billing. Writers congregate in the bar and stay late and party. Remember that!

9. Don’t chase a trend if your heart’s not in it.
You’ll end up writing something lackluster. Write what you love. If it doesn’t sell, see #2 above, but don’t write what you think others will buy. Never seems to work–and I’m not sure why that should be, but most tell me this is true and I believe them.

10. Never stop.
Persistence is the only thing that really has the ability to move you closer to being published. If you quit, you’ll never succeed.

Author photo by Leslie Schwartz Photography

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In the Wilds of L.A.: Romantic Times Booklovers Convention 2011

Posted by April 25th, 2011

“If you had an RT nametag around your neck, you were family.”

 Buffy Danielle_thumbWhen I began in book publishing over five years ago, one of the first conventions I heard about was Romantic Times (aka RT). I was working in wholesale sales at St. Martins Press and my predecessor was filling me in on the world of commercial fiction, particularly genre fiction. I didn’t know what the purpose of the Con was at the time, didn’t know who it was for or why it existed—all I knew was that it was supposed to be crazy.
The years passed, I moved to editorial at Pocket Books and I heard even more insane stories of RT Con shenanigans. My favorite stories usually revolved around the costume balls and the slightly uncomfortable and inappropriate Mr. Romance competition.

Yes, that’s right: Mr. Romance. Eight or so men competing for the title and a contract to grace the cover of a Kensington romance novel. Simultaneously hilarious and awesome. Given the number of women present at the conference this year in Los Angeles (probably exactly the gender ratio you are imagining), I can’t say it wasn’t nice to see some cute boys scattered throughout the crowd. But I, myself, didn’t go so far as to attend the actual Mr. Romance pageant. I do, however, have some souvenir signed photographs that were essentially thrust upon me. And I may or may not have come back to New York with a former Mr. Romance’s number in my pocket.

But for all the craziness and fun that ensues at RT Con, there is a side to it I hadn’t been told about in my years before experiencing it for myself. There’s the strictly professional side.

RT is not only fun and games, though it sure is a great way to network! The conference is also chock full of workshops, panels, and presentations by publishers, editors, agents, authors, marketing gurus, bloggers, and more. Whether you’re a reader, a writer, or an industry person, there’s something for everyone from 10 am to 6 pm.

The panelists and presenters all had so much wisdom and experience to share, it was enlightening to get a new perspective on the industry from every person I encountered. And giving a presentation myself on Book Country here was just as enlightening. People constantly surprise me, and my audience did as well. Coming up with ideas or questions that I never would of thought to ask or suggest, discussing topics I may not have considered or may have had too narrow-minded a view on—people are so smart. It really was an eye-opening experience for me.

Perhaps the thing I liked most about RT Con, though, was the feeling of camaraderie throughout the conference hotel. If you had an RT nametag around your neck, you were family. Everyone was friendly, everyone was interested (and interesting!), and everyone was treated the same. It doesn’t matter if you are an aspiring author, a publisher, a blogger, or a bestselling novelist—you fit in. You have the opportunity to interact with anyone and everyone, sometimes under the silliest of circumstances.

My most I-can’t-believe-this-is-how-I’m-networking moment? Having a drink with author Barry Eisler in the lobby bar wearing my junior prom gown, with a pair of faery wings and a gold masquerade mask sitting beside me….I suppose the sneak attack by a romance reader in full-on vampire attire was pretty shocking also (as were the claw marks she left after jumping on my back and terrifying me). Good thing I was dressed as Buffy and ready to shake her off and turn her to dust.

[Photo courtesy of Jeffe Kennedy.]

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