Conference Spotlight on: ANGELA JAMES

 Today we meet one of the featured speakers at “From Here to Eternity”, ANGELA JAMES, Executive Editor of Carina Press.  Angela will present conference workshops on Digital Publishing (Sunday morning) and Social Media for Authors (A-Day.)  Angela is also on several panels and will take pitches on Friday.

Welcome to the RWAustralia Blog, Angela.  Can you describe yourself in 10 words or less?

Nice Mommy, Evil Editor! Passionate about books, digital and food.

Your job in 10 words or less.

Going where no woman (or man) has gone before.

 What is the best part of your job? 

The best part is meeting authors and readers in person. I love the in-person communication and exchange of ideas.

 The worst?

I know people expect that most editors will say that rejecting manuscripts is the worst part of our job, and it’s true, that part’s no fun, but I actually think the worst part of my job is the sheer volume of email I get!

 What’s the most interesting/exciting acquisition you’ve made recently?

 We’re doing three holiday novella collections in December, and one of them is a contemporary novella holiday collection that will feature HelenKay Dimon, Jaci Burton, Alison Kent and Shannon Stacey. I think that’s an embarrassment of riches in the awesome contemporary authors category!

 What are you most looking forward to doing on your visit to Australia?

Watching my husband experience Australia. He didn’t get to come with me last time, and he’s very, very excited about this trip. He plans to climb the Sydney Bridge (I do not). I loved my experience of Australia last time and I want him to have a similarly positive experience.

 What is the one thing you absolutely, positively cannot travel without?

Besides my passport, money and phone (along with makeup, shoes and clothes?) My iPad. I could go without my laptop, ereaders and any paper books as long as I had my iPad. It’s my traveling media center.

What do you enjoy most about writing conferences?

I actually really love presenting, and the energy that comes from the audience interaction with my presentation. It’s a fantastic natural high.

What is the most memorable conference you’ve attended (for better or worse)?

I won’t name the conferences that qualify as not happily memorable, but there are two. One was not a romance conference, it was a horror conference, and the panels were very poorly attended (like 5 people in a panel audience) because it was in Vegas and everyone was out gambling! And then, in one panel, a gentleman right at the front fell asleep and started snoring.

The other conference was one where the editors and agents were scheduled for all-day pitch appointments on Saturday. We were all put in this one small room, and we started getting punchy and cracking jokes, because it felt almost as if we were imprisoned, and only let out for lunch and if we were doing a workshop. Otherwise, it was about 6 hours of pitches and we were burnt out by lunchtime. We all skipped the conference lunch and went to our rooms to hide for that hour. I felt sorry for the afternoon pitches because we were really tired and cranky by then!

It’s hard to name the best memory for a conference, because honestly, the conference horror stories are pretty rare for me. I’ve attended some awesome ones. I will say that the 2010 RT conference hotel will probably always be a happy memory for me. I was there right when we were launching Carina Press, and launching a big marketing campaign. I spent hours in my room working, and at one point tweeted that I could really use a cosmopolitan martini. 15 minutes later, a waiter delivered TWO of them. The conference hotel, the Colombus Hyatt, was watching the conference hashtag on Twitter, saw my tweet and arranged for me to get martinis. It was awesome.

Any advice for conference first-timers and/or nervous introverts?

If you’re afraid no one will talk to you, carry an interesting bag, or wear some unique jewelry. It gives people a reason to say something to you. Don’t be afraid to talk to other people. I don’t think conferences are meant to be experienced as a solitary venture, and I believe the experience is always much more memorable and positive when you interact with others.

 Standing next to you in line waiting for the elevator/bar/lunch/bathroom, what is the best question (or surefire conversation-starter) an RWAussie can ask? 

I try to take my own advice, and usually wear some sort of interesting necklace, to make it easier for people to talk to me (editors are scary, I hear). But I’m also always happy when people ask me about what I’m reading, or have read recently. I love to talk about books (from all publishers). Also, a lot of people have opened up conversation by commenting on my recent Twitter feed. It’s a nice way to make a conversation personal! (My twitter:

What is the number one message/lesson you hope participants take away from your session(s):

SOCIAL MEDIA FOR AUTHORS: Be aware of a consistent, professional brand message.

DIGITAL PUBLISHING: Publishing is an exciting place to be, and a reputable publisher can help you navigate the territory and push your book to the next level.

If you’re interested in pitching to Angela at “From Here to Eternity” (not in a small, crowded room after six  unbroken hours of appointments, I hasten to add) make sure you read the Pitching feature May’s Hearts Talk and check out the conference website Pitches page from May 4.

Leave a comment


  1. Angela, it’s so great that you’re coming back to Australia. I’m sure your husband will have a great time climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The best way for you to participate is from a fabulous bar that looks out on the bridge. It’s like watching ants.

    While in Melbourne, he might also want to watch an Australian Rules football match. Fast and furious – it’s a great spectator sport. And our footballers aren’t all covered up like yours — bare arms, bare thighs, bare heads — what’s not to love?

  2. Angela, I just found a youtube that gives you a bit of an idea of Australian rules football.

    And Melbourne is the heart of football territory — it’s where the game started, and the conference hotel is a 10 minute walk from the main football ground

  3. What a great interview! I like the advice to carry a different hand bag or wear a nice necklace as a conversation starter! For me its all about the shoes. If you wear killer shoes, I’ll come right up and tell you (maybe even ask where you bought them). Not shy much! Works everytime!
    Angela, I hope you’re coming to the cocktail/costume party on the Friday night. We always have a ball!

    I already watch your tweets but I’ll keep an extra eye out for martini orders that weekend =)


  4. Angela, I’m looking forward to your conference presentation and learning more about Carina Press. Great martini story! I’m sure your husband will love Australia.

  5. And I’ve just had to make the very hard decision I can’t manage to go to conference this year! Would love to meet you and hear your presentations, Angela. Unfortunately I simply have too many other commitments causing us to fly to mainland Australia already this year. And sometime I really do need to finish this current manuscript!

  6. Cath Evans

     /  April 28, 2011

    Hi Angela,
    Thanks for telling us a bit about you in the Blog. That martini story is amazing. What great service.

    I’ve climbed the Bridge a few times and it’s a fantastic experience. Your husband will love it – and I reckon you should have a go at it too. It’s not too taxing and the view is spectacular on a nice day (and still good on a bad day!) but it is hair-raising if you’re scared of heights.

    Looking forward to August.


  7. Imelda

     /  April 28, 2011

    That has to be hands-down the best use of twitter I have ever heard of. Gotta get me a twitter account! No one told me before it could yield martinis!

    Looking forward to meeting you, Angela

  8. Thanks so much for letting me share the spotlight today!

    Anne, the lovely Fiona Lowe actually emailed me a few weeks ago and asked if my husband would be interested in attending an Australian football match with her husband while we were there. My response? Um, forget my husband, I want to go! Bronwyn was generous enough to tell me my schedule was clear enough for those few hours to tag along. I love sports, so I can’t wait to go, especially after your description of all that bare skin 😉

    Cath, I’m afraid I am a bit afraid of heights. It’s possible I could overcome it, and I considered it, because I thought I’d love to take some photos, but then realized no cameras are allowed anyway. I think I like Anne’s idea of watching from a bar. Do they have bars that have views specifically for that purpose?

    If there are other suggestions of things we should do in Melbourne or Sydney, I would love to hear them. We’ve built time for sightseeing (especially in Sydney) into our schedule. I was in Melbourne last time, so I got to see a few things. I want to go back to the Queen’s Market again.

    I’d also love to find a place where Josh can experience the koalas and kangaroos. I was able to do that at a wildlife reserve outside Brisbane, but don’t know what’s similar in Melbourne or Sydney.

    All in all, we’re very excited about coming, and I’m looking forward to the conference a lot.

  9. Coming in late here but great to learn more about you Angela. Can’t wait to meet you in person at the conf 🙂

  10. Hi Angela, look forward to meeting you face to face in Melbourne. 🙂


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