TWO Magnificent OWLS in March

Whether it’s your manuscript or your writing business that needs work, we have you covered with our next two OWLS.  They start next Monday, so don’t delay or dither – decide!

lanaBuilding Your WordPress Author Website
From the Ground Up

with Lana Pecherczyk

Take control of your career and learn how to manage a simple WordPress website and blog then turn it into a successful self-managed powerhouse for your author business. Learn via easy walkthrough videos as Lana builds an author website before your eyes, and talks about content creation, e-commerce, traffic acquirement and more. Downloadable PDFs and worksheets will be available so you can revise at your leisure. Whether you’re a digital immigrant or an author just wanting the latest hot tips on WordPress, you can get the author targeted advice from the current RWA Webmistress Lana Pecherczyk. Each student must be prepared to either set up a free WordPress.org account, or purchase a domain and hosting (explained how to inside the course).

Register and get more details here

workshop_show-don

Bring your story into focus:
why ‘show don’t tell’ is a layer cake

with Sandy Vaile

Bring your story into focus

Why ‘show don’t tell’ is like a layer cake.

‘Show don’t tell’ is the lynch-pin of great writing. I’m sure you’ve all heard the term, but are you applying it effectively? Delve into the vivid realm of showing, and realise a balance between description and brevity that will captivate readers and not let them go.

This course best suits modern fiction writers.

Register and get more details here

Hoot Hoot! Two OWLs!

Manuscript getting away from you? Characters confused about their Goals, Motivations & Conflicts? You need our February Owls! For GMC, see http://romanceaustralia.com/a-sparkling-guide-to-gripping-goal-motivation-conflict/ and Aeon Timeline, see http://romanceaustralia.com/quickly-learn-aeon-timeline-for-fiction-writers-authors/

Thinking about 2017 – I can hear you yelling at me over the wrapping crinkle

Seriously – all the best writers are going to need January’s OWL. come take a look!

Author Branding: Why you need it before you sell

 

There’s time for one more OWL this year!

5 Reasons to Take Short Story Writing

With NaNo going in full swing, and end-of-the-year deadlines looming, it’s the perfect time to add in one more project, right?

  1. Learn how to write short!

It’s a given, right? Every time I teach a workshop, some students say they tend to write LONG, so they’re looking for tips to tighten their storylines.

  1. Potential for publication

The ultimate goal in the course is to complete a short story, and submit it for a call. If you need that added umpf to hit “send,” this class may be for you!

  1. Gain inspiration

You can either come to the class with an idea, or discover a new one. Many people are amazed at the variety of Calls for Submission out there. Need a story idea? You may find food for your muse.

  1. Take a writing “break”

Turning toward writing short stories or novellas between longer works acts as a way to take a mini-break. Write a bridge between stories or perhaps a shorter piece to kick off a new series.

  1. Make an end-of-the-year goal

Yes, it’s December, and 2017 is sprinting toward us. It’s also the last push before the end of the year. Make it a goal to finish a story this year.

Hope to see you there! For more information, visit:

http://romanceaustralia.com/owl-writing-the-short-story-for-submission/

Louisa Bacio

OWL 2 for November. Have you heard about Miss Jones? Understanding character-driven plotting through analysing Bridget Jones’s Diary.

samantha-bond

Have You Heard About Miss Jones? Understanding Character Driven Plotting Through Analysing Bridget Jones’ Diary with Samantha Bond.

You’re probably familiar with the phrase: “the plot thickens”. But exactly what is plot and how, as a writer, do you come up with your own original, compelling plots?

Let’s hand over to the amazing Samantha Bond so she can tell us…

Do you love writing but find that you either:

  1. a) have trouble coming up with ideas for stories, or
  2. b) start stories only to run out of steam part-way through?

I had both of those issues once too.

In fact, the main thing that scared the bejesus out of me when I started my first novel was knowing just what to write. I had the kernel of an idea and a few characters, but how was I going to spin this into 300-400 pages of novel? “Outline it”, I was told. Plot it out so you don’t have to face the terror of the blank page.

Great advice, if you know how to do it.

At that point in my writing career, I didn’t know how to plot or outline, so I invested many hours in learning how plot works. I read and I did courses and I hassled people far more learned than me, and I discovered that there’s so much information on plot that it can be overwhelming and therefore not very useful. But the good news for any of you considering doing my Bridget Jones inspired OWL on plotting, is that I’ve filtered through lots of that information for you. The result is what I believe to be a simple and workable model for understanding and using plot.

Because she’s awesome, I’ve drawn inspiration from iconic chic lit character, Bridget Jones, to demonstrate ideas and explain the concept of character-led plotting. And to demonstrate that character-led plotting works for just about every type of story, not just Rom Com’s, I’ve also used 80s action hunk, Bruce Willis, and his equally iconic character from Die Hard, John McLane, to show it in, ahem, action in action stories.

If you were lucky enough to see Michael Hauge at the RWA convention in August, then some of the theory in this course will be familiar. That’s because this isn’t new information. Information about plotting and how story works has been around forever. But what is different about my course is its practical application. I’m an action gal — I want to know how to USE information, not just read it. And so the focus for this OWL is on getting you to put character-led plotting theories into action to generate your own original plots. All the theory in the world is great, but if you can’t easily apply it, it’s really not that much good to you. So while I’m certainly not claiming to be any Micheal Hauge, I do think this is a good adjunct to his wonderful workshop because it shows you the nuts and bolts of things and how you can get that theory working for you in a practical sense.

Basically, by the end of this OWL, I want you to have an understanding of what plot is, how it functions in fiction, and how you can generate your own plots in your writing. I want you to never fear the blank page again because, once you’ve done this when someone wisely advises you to “outline it”, you’ll know exactly how.

Hope to see you over at my November OWL, Have you heard about Miss Jones? Understanding character-driven plotting through analysing Bridget Jones’s Diary. It’s gonna be a blast with big knickers!

 

Course Dates: 01/11/2016 – 28/11/2016

Cost: RWA Member – $30. Non-RWA Member – $40.

Register at:  http://www.romanceaustralia.com/owl/26

The trick is to understand the difference between ‘story’ and ‘plot’. In this workshop, Samantha will demonstrate how plot works through an analysis of arguably the greatest chick-lit novel of all time, Bridget Jones’ Diary. But more than simply analyse, this workshop will arm participants with tools to create their own plots through an understanding of how characters reacting to challenge results in plot. While this course will examine theory, it is a hands-on practical course designed to get you writing.

Samantha Bond is a reformed corporate lawyer, now writer and public servant. Her creative work has been published in numerous national literary journals, anthologies and magazines. She has an Advanced Diploma of Professional Writing winning the award for Highest Overall Achievement for her graduating class, and now teaches in that course. Samantha also writes reviews for the Indaily and Glam Adelaide and between these two publications, has had over 200 reviews published. Samantha does freelance corporate writing work as well as creative writing mentoring and if you’d like her services, she’s contactable through her website www.samanthastaceybond.com). Finally, Samantha is a busy mum of two littlies, is an unapologetic chocolate addict, believes that Buffy would so slay Edward (which perhaps shows her age) and is a writers’ festival groupie.

November OWL 1. Self-Publishing for Beginners with Cathleen Ross

Ever wondered if self-publishing is for you but haven’t quite been able to navigate your way through to make the decision? Cathleen Ross has the answers in one of our two November OWLs

Course Dates: 01/11/2016 – 28/11/2016

Cost: RWA Member – $30. Non-RWA Member – $40.

Register at:  http://www.romanceaustralia.com/owl/25

cathleen-ross

Self Publishing Made Easy, coming in November 2016

 My name is Cathleen Ross and I’ve been self publishing since 2011. As a member of RWA for over twenty years, I’ve seen a lot of changes.  When I went to RWA in America in 2010, I saw a lot of known and not so well known writers taking their careers into their own hands and self publishing. They wanted to do things their way and self publishing gave them the chance.

I don’t consider myself particularly technical but I can follow instructions if they’re outlined properly. If you feel the same way then this online course is for you because I’ve got it down to 5 easy steps.

Since 2011, I’ve written and formatted twelve different books/novellas/short stories and one boxed set. And guess what! I’m earning seventy percent royalties on my work priced 2.99 and over on Amazon, which beats anything a publisher can offer. Bear in mind, that once you self publish you become the publisher which means you are responsible for buying a cover, the blurb, marketing and uploading your story. It is doable and fun.

As a pioneer in this country of self publishing, and a trainer with 30 years experience, I’m on a mission to make it possible for you because I think every writer shouldhave this skill. I will answer all your questions and encourage a friendly online classroom where students also chip in and help others. When I’ve run this course in the past, I’ve found some of my students are smarter with covers and writing blurbs than I am but I’m not fussed. The more you jump in there and participate, the more encouragement you’ll get from me so you get the best product possible.

I am what as known as a hybrid author, published with traditional publishers while also self-publishing my own titles.

The advent of commercially viable self-publishing has meant unprecedented  opportunities for authors to get their stories out to the reading public all over the world.

I’m going to show you how to prepare your manuscripts for self-publication and how to use three platforms Smashwords, Draft to Digital and Amazon so you can choose where and when you would like to self publish.

You don’t need to be a graphic designer. You do not have to know any HTML. You do need to invest time and energy in getting your book as good as it can possibly be.

Remember readers love buying ebooks. They don’t care who the publisher is so long as they are good, professionally produced books they love.

Come and learn an essential skill for your future.

Best

Cathleen Ross

 

Subjects to be covered in this four-week OWL

Information on selling platforms: Smashwords, Amazon, itunes etc; Steps involved in uploading a story; Editing; Covers; Formatting; Blurbs – what makes a good blurb, what to put in, what to leave out etc; Marketing / Advertising/ The latest sites/results and numbers; Business Practices, setting up bank accounts, issues with US payments etc; ITIN numbers; Accounting Issues either as individuals / setting up as a group publisher; Links  / info on where to find following services – covers, editing, etc; What makes a good BIO.

 

Cathleen Ross thinks self-publishing is akin to the invention of the printing press. Ahead of the wave, she started self-publishing in 2011 and has watched her income from writing grow. She believes this medium should be available to all writers. Cathleen is also published with Harlequin, Escape publishing and Random House.  Four of her titles, both indie and conventionally published, have hit the Amazon best-seller lists this year. Cathleen has the Smashwords document down to five easy steps that go to Premium status. She is a qualified teacher (BA Dip.Ed and Grad. Dip Communications Management) and a published author/editor. She has taught for RWA (Australia), The Society of Women Authors, RWA (USA) and run a number of online workshops. Please see www.cathleenross.com for a list her of publications.

cathleen-ross

 

Hoot, Hoot! We have two OWLs in November 2016

Self-Publishing for Beginners with Cathleen Ross  and Plotting(character driven) with Samantha Bond

Two vital OWLs by two amazing women – not to be missed.

More information to follow.

 

 

Make Facebook Your Friend: Ask me how!

Actually, don’t ask me, ask Sara Hood.  Better still, sign up for her October OWL and learn it from her!  Social media is a fact of life for writers these days, but it can be mystifying and frustrating for the uninitiated.  So an online workshop with this title has to be a good idea!

Make Facebook your friend: six ways to make Facebook work for you as a writer, without mortgaging your home

Registration is now open and you can sign up here: http://www.romanceaustralia.com/new/showowls.asp

But now, over to Sara!

11-50am-sara-headshots-fb-1

Of all the articies I’ve written for Hearts Talk*, by far the one that generated the most response was earlier this year where I busted some of the most commonly believed Facebook myths.

Frequently (and sadly) those myths are based on a misunderstanding of what Facebook is and how it works. Or even a misunderstanding about why Facebook is there in the first place. (Clue: it’s not out to force you to advertise by wilfully restricting who gets to see your posts, but it’s also not a charity.)

When people ask me ‘is it worth being on Facebook?’ my reply is always ‘with 1.6 billion accounts what’s not to like?’.

Let’s get this straight: it is very easy to get Facebook wrong.  It doesn’t help that Facebook itself doesn’t communicate that well and there is a tsunami of ‘experts’ who fill the void, some of whom are little more than snakeoil salesmen, and directly contradict each other. Or have a ‘guaranteed’ strategy that costs a mere $50 per lead. All that does is confuse and bewilder and frustrate.

So the most critical challenge for a writer when trying to make Facebook work for you is working out who to listen to and how to succeed without wasting money and driving yourself nuts.

That’s where this OWL comes in. Six ways to make Facebook your friend. They’re not hard. They won’t require you to first complete a PhD in rocket science. Nor will they cost gargantuan amounts of money to implement.

The OWL also won’t suck up your precious time. It’s a series of PDFs, released each week from 3 October, which you can work through in your own time. There’s then a Facebook group where you can ask questions (and I promise to be there at least once a day) and at the end an online live webinar for you to ask the questions that couldn’t be answered in the Facebook group. We can share screens and look at the back end of Facebook, live.

I won’t over promise: Facebook is harder now that before because there are so many more people competing for screen time, it takes time and it takes commitment.  This OWL will also show you how to track if you’re making a difference.

It starts on 3 October and runs all month, with the webinar scheduled for the last week. It will be recorded and if you can’t make it you are invited send your questions in and I’ll answer them in the session.

If you’re an aspiring writer this is a great way to start to get your marketing foundations in place. For emerging and established writers it’s a great way to make sure you’re hitting all the right buttons.

As I said a few paragraphs ago, with 1.6 billion accounts what’s not to love about Facebook? You just have to learn how to make friends with it first.

So, if any of this sounds like you, see you next month for the October OWL.

It’s going to be fun!
Registration is now open.  http://www.romanceaustralia.com/new/owlrego.asp?id=23

$30 for RWA members and $40 for those who aren’t.

* In case you haven’t noticed, I write a book marketing article in each issue of Hearts Talk! Feel free to send in a question and I’ll do my best to answer it. (And for those who don’t know, Hearts Talk is the member journal for RWA.  You can join RWA here.)

Sara Hood has been a member of RWA for 8 years, is still thoroughly unpublished and knows all too well that finishing a manuscript might be a good idea. She’s also a longstanding member of the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild, and RWA-auspiced writing group, the Saturday Ladies Bridge Club.  She’s worked in marketing for more than thirty years and runs a consultancy providing marketing services for organisations in the wider music sector.  She spent half of July this year in Glasgow running the social media for an international conference of music educators.

September OWL: Selling your book!

It’s nearly conference time here in RWA-land, but when our lives go back to normal, many of us will need to submit our books – a process that is about as popular among writers as getting a root canal.

But don’t despair!  Because riding to the rescue in the nick of time is our September OWL!  And here’s the presenter, Samantha Bond, to tell you how… (for more info, and to book, click here)

Samantha BondYou’ve written a stand-out story and now it’s time for (gasp) submission. Eek! You know if you don’t get this part right, the agent or publisher won’t even get to that manuscript you’ve just spent the last year (or ten) slaving over. Oh, the pressure!

Relax. Breathe. It’s OK.

Most writers know they need to provide a “book package” that varies slightly from publisher to publisher, but will inevitably contain a synopsis, cover letter, author bio and perhaps blurb. The good news is you can prepare a kick-arse package that’s ready to go, and tweak it to suit the individual specifications of your intended submittee.

When I was starting out some years ago, I thought whoever devised the concept of the synopsis must be a complete sadist. I mean, what kind of cruel and unusual torture involves reducing 400 pages of novel to two 1.5 spaced standard A4s?! This task necessarily means you have to leave stuff out. Lots of stuff. So what parts do you leave out, what bits do you leave in, and how should you write the darned thing? Just what makes a good synopsis that will hook your ideal agent or publisher and MAKE them pick up your amazing manuscript?

I asked all these questions and more of the many mentors I’ve had and I can thankfully report that, with some examples, an explanation of the theory behind the synopsis and other tools, it’s not the hand-wringing task it at first appears. Which brings me to the OWL I’m teaching in September called “Synopsis, blurb, cover letter, bio — your book selling tools”. I work best when I understand the purpose of a thing, and have good examples to work from, so that’s the approach I’ve taken with this OWL. I’ve included lots of theory and I’ve called upon my network of writer pals to provide me with examples of their materials. You’ll get to see what different types of synopses, cover letters, author bio’s and blurbs have worked for a variety of published authors. I’ve also strong-armed my longstanding mentor and editor, Robb Grindstaff (http://robbgrindstaff.com/writing/) into providing a bit of assistance, and he’s going to be available on our forum to answer your questions — many of Robb’s clients have landed agent and publishing deals, so make good use of him!

Also, because I teach in the Professional Writing stream at TAFE, I’ve seen first-hand that one-on-one feedback is often the most useful part of a course. So I’m also offering all participants the opportunity to submit their synopsis to me in week four (after we’ve covered the theory, done some exercises, and seen examples, of course) for individual feedback about your strengths and weaknesses. Feedback can pickpocket Dear Writer of their blind spots which is always helpful, not necessarily painless, but I do promise to be gentle! For this reason, I’ve capped the number of participants or I may drown under a sea of synopses — yet another reason they are instruments of torture — so book in quick!

If you want to know more about me and my creds to teach you this stuff, head over to my website: www.samanthastaceybond.com. Hope to see you in September!

For a full course outline and to book, see the RWA website: http://www.romanceaustralia.com/owl/24

Have Fun Researching Your Novel – OWL this July!

Our online courses (OWLs) keep getting better and better.  We have such a depth of skills in our membership and the OWLs let you access their expertise at a fantastic price.  Our July OWL is with Carla Caruso, so without further ado, here she is to tell you about it.

Carla Caruso, author pic, HarperCollins

by Carla Caruso

Many writers have done extreme things in the name of research.

Bestselling Canadian-Australian author – and former model – Tara Moss has spent time in morgues and courtrooms, been set on fire and choked unconscious, earned a certificate as a private investigator, shot firearms, flown with the RAAF, and toured the FBI and LAPD headquarters.

Britain’s George Orwell lived in the slums to learn what it was like to be poor and unwashed, and American journo Hunter. S Thompson hung out with the Hells Angels for his non-fiction tale.

Bill Broyles, who wrote the Tom Hanks movie, Cast Away, also stranded himself on an isolated island for R.E.A.L. This experience inspired many of the film’s iconic scenes, such as Hanks’ character licking water droplets from leaves, making a spear out of a rock, and chowing down on raw fish. Even Wilson the Volleyball was inspired by a real ball that washed ashore! Unlike Hanks’ character, though, Broyles only lasted 10 days as a castaway before diarrhoea got the better of him…

Know of other writers and artists who have really hurled themselves into their research?

Of course, novel research doesn’t have to be this extreme. You’re free to take it as far as you want. But doing some research is essential if you want to add ‘layers’ of authenticity to a story and stretch yourself creatively.

Which brings me to the OWL– or online course – I’m teaching this July for the Romance Writers of Australia. It’s called ‘Have Fun Researching Your Novel’ and I’ll be using my background as a print journalist (and romance author with Penguin and HarperCollins) to get you out amongst it to add colour and depth to your work-in-progress.

Topics will include:

  • Interviewing techniques
  • Historical research
  • Travel research
  • Online research, and more.

Hope to see you over on Moodle!

You can do some more research on the OWL here 😉 http://www.romanceaustralia.com/owl/22

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