Archive for the 'Conference' Category
by Jessa Slade on April 30th, 2012
Currently working on: Filling plotholes
This last Saturday, I attended Write to Publish, a writers’ conference organized by Portland State University’s Ooligan Press. (Conveniently, the Saturday Farmers’ Market was going on in the park next door, so I was able to stock up on brownies and chocolate chip cookies too. I suppose I could have gotten kale, but…) I had the chance to sit on a writing panel with a handful of romance writing friends and talk with aspiring authors about writing in general and writing romance in particular.
In my four years now as a published author, I’ve done a bunch of panels discussions, and funnily enough, it’s getting harder, not easier. The more I learn, the more I want to tell. I want to talk, non-stop, for days about the mistakes I’ve made, what worked for me, what the future holds. And usually, I have about ten minutes.
So I thought I should try distilling my thoughts down to three (of course three) main points when I talk to aspiring authors:
1. Learn everything you can. Take in information from every reputable source. (Learn from the disreputable sources too, just be more selective.) So much is changing in publishing that you can never know too much. Learning about writing and publishing is a full-time job — on top of the full-time job that is ATUALLY writing and maybe the full-time job that is your full-time job. But heck, nobody said it was easy.
2. Write. Write a lot. So much of writing is… well, writing. Everything you learn in step one is irrelevant if you don’t put words on the page and write write write.
3. Keep writing. There are hella distractions to the writing life. You’re a small business. You’re a promoter and marketer. You’re a public speaker and compatriot to other writers. And that’s just distractions in the writing realm. You’re probably also a friend, lover, spouse, parent, dog walker, whatever. But steps one and two above are irrelevant if you don’t keep writing.
Wow. It looks like this writing thing IS easier than I thought. The devil is in the details, of course. But I think those three points are all you really need. I could relay those is way less than ten minutes, even with a mouthful of brownies.
by Jessa Slade on April 23rd, 2012
Currently working on: Catching up
Mood: Juggling (cue circus music)
I was in Chicago last week at the RT Booklovers Convention and missed my post because I was just having too much fun! (And also because I left the power cord for my netbook at the hotel and couldn’t download my pix. If netbooks could be powered on caffeine and giggling, I would’ve been fine.)
Leaving at o’mg’dark-thirty in the morning, I captured this thrilling shot of the full moon setting at the Portland airport. What? You can’t see the pale, fuzzy circle in the upper left hand corner? I couldn’t either because I was still basically asleep.
But I did get a better shot of Mt Hood which I always take on the way over. What? You can’t see the pale, fuzzy triangle in the lower left side of the photo? I guess I was still basically asleep. You gotta sleep as much as possible before RT.
We stopped at Anderson’s Bookshop in Downers Grove to sign copies of DARKNESS UNDONE which completely woke me up. Most of the bookstores in the greater Chicagoland area probably have signed copies now. So swing by your favorite bookstore.
Since I had a few free days before the convention started, we got to stop by the Chicago Botanical Gardens (which shockingly I’d never visited before) to stock up on some peace and blue skies before plunging into the madness of book world. I took a bunch of pictures that made me want to write a historical romance, with heroines sneaking out to meet their heroes in beautiful gardens. There would be roses tucked behind ears eventually, I’m sure.
When we got to our conference hotel, the architecture made me want to write more science fiction romance. Check out these great levels. Can’t you imagine a Logan’s Run-style adventure, jumping from floor to floor? There was definition a lot of running on my part since our room was located at the farthest possible point from the elevators. But we compensated by having a great view.
Over the trees, we could see downtown Chicago beyond a strange little temple. One night, we had a great crashing lightning-and-thunderstorm, which we rarely see in Portland. The rain reminded me of home…
But we didn’t spend much time in the room, of course, because it was books books books and more books!
There was Linnea Sinclair & Friends Intergalactic Bar & Grille party with treats and games and — naturally — books.
I sat in on a great discussion with (tiny from right) Jeaniene Frost, Charlaine Harris, and Nalini Singh with RT’s Morgan. (The photo is fuzzy not because I was half-asleep this time but because I was fan-girling too hard. That’s my excuse, anyway.) Three vampire writers telling us secrets about their upcoming books; and refusing to tell us secrets too, the teases.
We had themed dance parties every night — hip hop night, Scottish night, Night of Stars and more. I brought waaaaay too many shoes… and wore them all
The costuming even applied to mascots, such as Bob the Alien (who escaped from the Intergalactic Bar) and showed up in a kilt at the Scottish party. In case you were wondering what Bob the Alien has under his kilt, if you look very closely, you’ll see that he has anatomically correct candy. Shocking!
But RT isn’t all fun and games. Well, it’s all fun, but not all games. Authors are there to work! We had the Ebook Expo and Giant Book Fair to meet readers and sign books books book.
I signed books and trading cards and book bags and e-book covers and t-shirts and scrapbook pages, but some other authors found other things to sign…
What could be better than man chest (okay, man belly) signed with your favorite romance authors?
Don’t answer that quite yet.
The end of the party is always a little sad. I thought I’d grab a shot of the aftermath: snapped rubberbands, scattered pens, a few leftover books, empty candy wrappers (or maybe that was just my table). Definitely nap time.
But the party never really ends. I’ll be at Authors After Dark in New Orleans in August, where the party REALLY never ends. But also, I brought home 104 lbs from RT which I haven’t even unpacked — thus ensuring the party continues — and at least some of it should go to one of YOU.
So, if you’d like to get some RT-themed goodies, assorted swag, and — naturally — books, leave a comment about what you’re reading these days and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a bag.
by Jessa Slade on April 9th, 2012
Currently working on: Stealing Easter candy from careless children
This week I’m at the RT Booklovers Convention in Chicago. If you aren’t attending, you can follow the fun on Twitter at #RT2012.
If you are my XY reading this, thinking, “I thought you said it was work?”, see all the work:
This picture doesn’t even show the big box of books coming with me.
If you ARE attending RT, I hope you’ll come find me and say hey. All Silk & Shadows readers who come hey me (let me know you read the post here) will be entered to win an RT schwag bag. Readers at home, leave a comment here about your favorite memory of meeting an author, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win too.
My RT schedule is all over the place, but you can for certain find me at:
Wednesday: Linnea Sinclair’s Intergalactic Bar & Grill, 4:45-5:45 p.m.
Thursday: Ebook Expo, 4-6 p.m., Grand Ballroom
Friday: Humor writing workshop (What? You don’t think I write humor? We shall see!): SPRINKLING SMILES INTO SAD (SEX, ACTION & DRAMA) SCENES with Dee Brice, Ashlyn Chase, Marcia James, Delilah Marvelle and Jessa Slade, 11:15 a.m.
Saturday: Giant Book Fair, 10:45 a.m.-2 p.m., Grand Ballroom
I’ll also be at all the evening parties, of course, probably dancing. If you see me limping during the days, you’ll know why.
Also also, I’m taking part in a “stalk the author signature” game with Ann Aguirre, Tes Hilaire & more. Come find me for your game sheet and signature. Someone will win an e-reader, a basket of books, and more.
If you’ve wondered about attending a romance reader convention, here are three useful tips:
- Bring an empty priority mailing box from the USPS, already filled out with your home address so you can mail your books back to yourself. You can pay online and drop the box at the hotel business office, easy-peasy. Books are crazy heavy, and you’ll be going home with more than you might expect. At least that always seems to happen to me
- Bring cute shoes AND comfortable shoes. You can wear the cute shoes the first day while you still care. On the second day and every day thereafter, you can switch to the comfortable shoes, because by then, you’ll be friends with everybody in the hotel and they’ll be in their comfortable shoes too. Heck, bring your slippers.
- Stay hydrated. I know, you think, it’s not like we’re lost in the desert. But those hotels are big enough that you can march for days. Bring a couple chocolate bars too.
You can never go wrong with extra chocolate bars.
by Jessa Slade on March 12th, 2012
Currently working on: Laundry
Mood: Squeaky clean
I’m posting a bit late since I just returned from a week in New York City. I was attending a published author conference and had SO MUCH FUN!… I mean, it was sooooo much work. (Just in case my XY is reading this.)
Our conference hotel was the Millennium Broadway just off Times Square. I feel like I am not a complete rube, but in New York, I am definitely a country mouse. So many people in such a compact space — there are actual pedestrian traffic jams — make me just a little crazy. But the energy is undeniable. Or maybe that’s all the power pulsing through the light bulbs on Times Square.
Since DARKNESS UNDONE officially released last Tuesday, I did a stock
signing tour of every bookstore in Manhattan I could find that carried a copy of the book. If you live in the New York area, you can find signed copies of DARKNESS UNDONE at almost all the Barnes & Nobles. You’ll find me lurking in the vicinity of Nalini Singh and Gena Showalter.
My roommate, historical author Delilah Marvelle and I hiked all over NYC. I Google Pedometered our route afterward; we hiked 8.5 MILES! Truly pounding pavement. But the sore feet were well worth it starting off with breakfast with fabulous bookseller, Stacey of Posman Books. Not only does the store have a glorious romance section, it is located in Grand Central Station. How cool is that?
I also had the chance to meet Carla from Book Monster Reviews who along with book friend Karina joined me, Laurie London and Erin Kellison for a beautiful spring day in Bryant Park. We sat for a couple hours, talking about books and eating Crumbs Bake Shop cupcakes. I think that might qualify as a little slice of heaven. Although the black bottom cheesecake brownie cupcake contains over a thousand calories (according to the placard at the shop) I felt entirely justified because of the aforementioned 8.5 MILES.
From the New York Central Library, a quote from John Milton:
A good book is the precious lifeblood of a master spirit, embalmed and treasured up on purpose to a life beyond life.
I’m sure he would have added friends and cupcakes too, had he thought about it.
I brought back some goodies to share (no cupcakes though) and am doing a giveaway through my newsletter. Sign up here.
Ah, New York, I miss you already.
by Jessa Slade on March 5th, 2012
Currently working on: Packing!
As you read this, I am probably in an airport, longing for free wifi, or maybe on an airplane in between Portland and New York which are REALLY far away from each other if you consult a map. (It’s also possible that as you read this, I am still packing since I’m typing this sorta late on Sunday night. But there’s no point going to sleep since I’m going to be up at OMG o’clock to be at the airport at 4:30 a.m.)
All this week I’m attending the PASIC industry conference where a bunch of writerly and publishery types get together and talk books. In New York! Heaven!
My excitement is all the greater because book 4 of the Marked Souls DARKNESS UNDONE releases on Tuesday. While I am in New York! If ever there is a place to celebrate a book release, it must be New York. There are COUNTLESS (trust me, I tried Google mapping them) bookstores on the relatively small island of Manhattan; these people love their books. I’ll be stocksigning every copy of DARKNESS UNDONE I can find in Manhattan, so if you live there, off you go.
If you live elsewhere and would like a signed bookplate instead, please contact me.
Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Powells | Indie Bound | Indigo | Blackstone Audio
Since I AM still packing (hey, it’s not even 11 p.m.!) I’m going to cut this short, but you’ll find PLENTY of my words as I’m guest posting all over the blogosphere this week and next, so please come say hey and comment for a chance to win books ‘n’ stuff.
March 5: I’m being interviewed at My Bookish Ways (hopefully sounding erudite and/or readable). And check out the fabulous review!:
“Jessa Slade has created a rich, dark, complex world and populated it with equally complex characters.”
– My Bookish Ways
March 6: Wherein I reveal that I am a terrible liar at Paranormal Freebies.
March 7: Sharing the love for nerd heroes with the Book Reading Gals.
March 8: The important of first — and second — kisses at Romanceaholic.
March 9: “Clothes make the man” (so where are my heroes’ shirts?!) at Seeing Night.
March 12: Seeing the good in bad guys at Good Choice Reading.
March 13: Pull up a chair, a book, and a cup of tea at Tea & Book.
March 14: Delving historically deep with Vanessa Kelly.
And if you missed them:
March 1: I’m at Book Monster Reviews today talking about the visual side of writing.
March 2: Mayhem at SciFi Guy! Choose your favorite weapon!
by Jessa Slade on June 27th, 2011
Currently working on: Missing all my friends in New York
As you read this, about 2,000 romance writers are converging on New York City for the annual Romance Writers of America conference. Con attendees will take workshop, “network” at the bar, giggle too much, and get blisters in the miles of hotel corridors.
In the weeks leading up to a major conference, the blogging world, Facebook and Twitter are full of advice for newbies old war horses trying to be more efficient with their conference time and money. The advice runs the gamut from the eminently practical (“stay hydrated” and “bring a sweater; some rooms are cold!”) to the sublime (“RWA is not a popularity conference. Which makes it easier to win”) to the ridiculous (“Remember, editors and agents are human too”; no they aren’t, if they hold the life of your work in their hands, that makes them demi-gods at least).
But I haven’t seen as much on post-conference advice. To rectify that…
1. Don’t lose momentum.
Conferences are exhausting. With the prep time before you leave, the travel stress, and the forced extroversion (not to mention the laundry and dirty dishes that mysteriously piled up at home while you were gone) it’s easy to come back from conference utterly drained. Take some time to recover, but don’t let it derail you for more days than the conference itself, which can easily happen.
2. SUBMIT your requested work.
The anecdotal number varies, but editors and agents all say that they get surprisingly few of the manuscripts they request at conferences. Don’t be that writer. Or if you want to be that writer, don’t take away the ed/ag appointment from a writer who WILL follow up. After conferences, there’s always a flurry of emails on writing loops asking “How long do I have to send in my story? Cuz, uh, actually, it’s not done. Really, it’s not even started.”
My answer (and not everyone agrees) is: Send it fast. It has to be good too. Not fast OR good; fast AND good. An editor or agent isn’t going to ding you on points if you take too long, but if she asked for it, it’s because she thinks she has a place for it.* Later, that maybe not be the case.
* Or because she’s just being nice. Which is a waste of everyone’s time. But don’t waste more time by NOT sending your work.
3. Do something with those business cards you collected.
If you followed the pre-conference advice and networked like crazy, you probably have lots of cards. Hopefully you followed good pre-con advice and jotted down a note on the card to remind you who this person was. Now to figure out what use you can make of those cards. Rather than keep scraps of paper around, you can data enter names, email addresses and the identifying feature you noted earlier into a word doc or spreadsheet for later retrieval. Send a quick email to people you want to remember so you have their addresses handy in your contact system.
4. Distribute all that swag.
You probably came home with more bookmarks, pens and plastic whatnots than you thought possible. Contact your local romance book club or indie bookstore to see if they’d like to paw through it for the vicarious thrill. Your local RWA chapter might be interested in deconstructing the swag to see what marketing efforts seemed effective.
5. Put your favorite workshop advice to use.
Handouts and jotted notes seem to accrue more easily than mastery. Actually TRY some of the craft, business or inspiration ideas that you learned. Also, share them with writing friends to reinforce them in your own mind. Keep a folder of only the very best (for you) of what you learned. That’s a great folder to take with you to writing retreats when you need a boost of remembered excitement.
6. Stay hydrated.
Hey, can’t hurt.
What’s your best post-conference advice? Anybody going anywhere else fun this summer? I’ll be at RomCon in Denver the first weekend of August and Authors After Dark in Philadelphia the second weekend of August. I’ll let you know if I follow my own advice!