I attended a lot of workshops at RWA National in Anaheim. It was a pretty overwhelming schedule, but I came back really fired up about my work and my plans for the rest of this year. I'll try to pass on some quick tips I picked up in the various workshops during my next few blogs.
My first workshop was Jackie Allen, Terry Blain, Teresa Carpenter and Jill Limber's 3-D Story Development (not recorded):
*The conflict between hero and heroine is always about trust. No matter what the "conflict" is, the fear of commitment is about trusting each other--why specifically for these characters, in this story?
*They use 16 Master Archetypes to start the brainstorming process for their characters. (I think this is the book they're talking about.) It helps them clarify why these two people are at odds, based on their underlying motives and personalities.
(I left this workshop early because I was writing so many notes for my current WIP that I stopped listening to the workshop. It was very helpful for me. Unfortunately, it wasn't recorded, but I'll try to think of some of their other ideas that set me to brainstorming and share them next time.)
Next, I attended Sylvie Kurtz's Writing at Peak Productivity:
(I highly recommend this workshop, which was recorded, and should be available for download soon at the billspro.com website.)
*Productivity isn't time management, but energy management. This is a big one. We all have the same amount of time, but we need to have the energy to make the most of that time. That involves physical, mental and emotional health, as well as focus on our purpose and goals.
*Growth works from the bottom up, but change from the top down (you have to visualize where you want to go in order to get there).
*Reconnect with your passion and purpose. Why do you write?
*Script your personal purpose. One sentence, saying why you do this. Mine is "I write to give people faith, hope and charity: faith in humanity, hope for the future, and charity toward others." Everyone's will be different, but having your purpose written down makes clear where to focus your energy.
Next workshops was agent Ethan Ellenberg's New Paradigms in Publishing (not recorded):
Mr. Ellenberg's workshop was more of a question and answer with the (packed) audience. He answered a lot of questions authors had about rights management, reversion of rights, foreign rights and translations, etc. He's obviously an advocate of having an agent represent you (which differs from my opinion at the moment <g>), but he gave some advice that I think was applicable to everyone, no matter which choices we make.
*As everywhere at the conference, his focus was on change in the publishing industry.
*The question is, do you want to take on all roles? To be author, agent, publisher, publicist? If you don't want to do it all, which roles will you take on yourself, and which will you pay someone else to do?
*As always, it all comes down to the book itself, the author herself. We are the heart of the industry, and a great story remains the key to everything.
*Print distribution is still 80% of the market--how do you maximize both print and ebook markets? It's hard to tell if mass market paperback market is actually shrinking--some contraction, probably, but data is not clear yet.
*You can't just throw something out there into the sea of a million books; have a thought-out, planned, deliberate campaign.
*When thinking about reversion of rights, it's best to have a minimum sales level in the contract. What this means is if the book doesn't sell X number of books in a year/quarter, it is no longer "in print," and the rights revert to the author. Otherwise, a book can be listed in a print-on-demand catalog and technically be in print forever. This is generally how this issue is being handled now, but make sure understand this part of your contracts.
That was my last workshop for Thursday. I did some more writing on my WIP after my last workshop (that first workshop really got me going on my plot--yay!). The rest of the conference I concentrated on marketing and career tracks, and got a lot of good information from the 10 workshops I attended on Friday and Saturday. I'll cover all (or maybe half--it's a lot of info!) of Friday's workshops next time, on August 22.
Happy writing, everyone!