It was great to be a part of Moonlight & Magnolias 2015. This was the annual conference of the Georgia Romance Writers (a regional chapter of the Romance Writers of America). Longtime Book Country member Noelle Pierce was conference chair, and she did a truly fabulous job for a seamless, fun, productive gathering of 200+ high-spirited romance writers. (In fact, Noelle was a winner of the Maggie Service Award for her contributions to the chapter this year. Go, Noelle!)
Here are four key takeaways from Moonlight & Magnolias 2015:
Romance writers have a strong support system. More than any other genre group of writers I’ve worked with so far, romance writers band together to lift up their own. First off, they read–and buy–a ton of books in their own genre. They also follow one another on social media, review each other’s books online, and cheer on both new writers and long-held favorite authors. Georgia Romance Writers have taken it one step further in real life. For the last 33 years, they’ve maintained a robust schedule of meetings and events, an incredible mentoring program, and the prestigious Maggie Awards to honor standout books in the genre. Romance writers should absolutely be taking advantage of these resources, whether on the national level, or by seeking out their local chapter. Not a romance writer? Follow the example of romance writers by finding similar ways to support and celebrate your own genre writing community. Continue reading →
We’ll be meeting up with longtime Book Country member and romance writer Noelle Pierce this weekend at Moonlight and Magnolias 2015, the annual conference of the Georgia Romance Writers in Atlanta. Below Noelle (who’s been involved in the Moonlight and Magnolias Conference for many years) offers 4 reasons to go to a writers conference.
To network with other writers at various stages in their careers. A conference is one of the best places to meet a critique partner or writing mentor. It’s also a place to be with like-minded individuals. I cherish those few days a year where I can walk up to virtually anyone and have something in common with him/her.
To pitch to editors and/or agents. Some of us have a hard time translating our enthusiasm for a project into the written word. Sometimes talking about our stories leads to an infectious excitement that makes others want to hear more. If you’re one of the latter, then a conference is the perfect place to get your story to an industry professional. This doesn’t have to be at a formal pitch session, but at a luncheon or at the bar. NEVER, under ANY circumstances, follow an editor or agent into a restroom to pitch. It won’t end well. In that same vein, I’ve met editors and agents when I didn’t have a book to pitch, and we ended up talking about the stories anyway. They often suggest I query them when the story’s ready, which means I have something specific to put on the query letter in that “why I chose to send this to you” section.
To hone your craft, get inspired, or learn something new about the changes in our industry. Workshops are part of conferences. You can take sessions with bestselling authors, eager to teach you what they know. Learn about different topics, such as branding yourself, audiobooks, or even how a seasoned pantser can learn to embrace the joys of plotting (I’m a plotser, myself, so I see the good in both). Characterization, dialogue, setting up Goal-Motivation-Conflict in scenes, how to format your book for self-publishing, how to find time to write, what to look for in a book cover…these are all areas I’ve had the pleasure of learning at various conferences. If there’s an area you need to improve, workshops are the place to do it.
To meet readers. There is usually a book signing that takes place at the conferences I’ve attended, and those are usually open to the public. Some conferences rely heavily on authors attending (e.g., Romance Writers of America’s Annual Conference), but many are also open for readers and fans to attend (e.g., The Romantic Times Convention). Some, like Authors After Dark, are more geared toward the readers/fans, with only a relative handful of writers attending as “authors.”
Yesterday was Book Lovers Day, and we couldn’t miss this chance to celebrate all the bibliophiles out there. We know that writers are also passionate readers, so we asked several Book Country members to tell us about one book that has inspired their writing. Their answers not only reflect the diversity we have here on the site but also make up a great list of reading suggestions for you to sample. Enjoy!
Kelly L. Stone’s Time to Write offers a retort to many of the most common excuses used by novice writers to justify procrastination. The easy-to-read text speaks to me as a writer with potential, not as a poor student (which I was) or worse yet, a slacker (how I often see myself). The short chapters each identify a common problem, offer a solution or two, and then present a few real-world examples of successful writers who have overcome the obstacle. It is a quick read, yet full of numerous a-ha moments that can resonate with writers of all ability levels. Featuring more than a hundred writers, the book’s mantra states—if these writers can find the time to write, so can you. And I have!
I read The Stand for the first time when I was in high school and it completely captivated me. The depth of the characters, the setting, the massive storyline. All of it made me want to write something completely character driven. For me, an author’s job is to transport a reader and make them feel like they’re right there in the middle of the story. Stephen King does a great job with that.
Noelle Pierce, who’s been an active Book Country member since it’s beta-days, won a one-on-one manuscript feedback session at RT14. We chatted at the convention about her Regency Romance REACHING FOR THE MOON, which began as a NaNoWriMo Project.
I love the premise of this novel: Lady Anne Marwood is to marry Thomas Oakes, a noted ladies’ man with far less noble birth. Thomas and Anne were once friendly acquaintances–in fact, in another novel by Noelle, set in the same world, the two of them conspired to make a match between each of their best friends. But due to an embarrassing incident at a ball, they’re now engaged, however extremely wary of one another. Thomas doesn’t believe he’s good enough to marry Anne, and Anne believes Thomas feels she’s trapped him–and now hates her. Additionally, strong-willed Anne is completely horrified at the prospect of her husband having mistresses, common to men of the era. Continue reading →