Love Gone Wild – The Organised Writer

Who needs a little bit of organisation in their author life?

Come and join Ally Blake at conference to gather advice from multiple accomplished writers on how they go about using their time, space and writing brain most efficiently. Ally will load you up with multiple tools with which to make being busy work for you.

Ally is a best-selling romance novelist with more than thirty books published in multiple languages and more than four million copies sold worldwide. See how this busy mum of three, writer, volunteer, book cover designer and graphics creator manages to keep her computer is a zen-like field of organised wonder.

REMEMBER: Registrations close July 15th, 2017 – Don’t Miss Out. Book your ticket at: bit.ly/RWA17Events

organised

Love Gone Wild – Self-publishing success stories and how to get it right.

Thinking or self-publishing and/or want to learn more about it? This session at this year’s conference will provide you with some very beneficial insights.

Amy Andrews, author of over 60 books, will moderate this panel of hugely successful Australian indie authors to discuss a diverse range of issues involving their self-publishing journeys as well as advice and debunking myths.

Come and hear from Clare Connelly, who has published over 42 titles and seen over 500 000 paid downloads, Chris Taylor, who turned down a deal with one of the big 5 has now written 19 romantic suspense books with over 100 000 paid downloads, and Rachel Amphlett, who has sold Italian rights to her indie published debut thriller and has seen six figure downloads of her breakout romantic suspense novel.

These three hugely successful Australian indie authors talk business. Find out what worked, what didn’t and everything in between.

Remember, registrations for Love Gone Wild close on July 15th, so don’t miss out. Register now at: bit.ly/RWA17Events 

selfpub

Love Gone Wild – Changes to Manuscript Assessments selection criteria.

IMPORTANT NOTICE – Taking on board feedback provided by many of our members who want to take advantage of this opportunity of having their work assessed by their choice of agent, editor or publisher, we are pleased to announce we have broadened the submission criteria for manuscript assessments.

The submission criteria for ALL authors is:

Manuscript Assessments criteria is now the same for all. Aspiring, Emerging and Established may submit:

  1. A one page synopsis, bio, optional photo and your full manuscript

or

2. A one page synopsis, bio, optional photo, a minimum of your first 3-Chapters (full manuscript may be submitted) and a two-page proposal.

For further details please visit the web for further terms and conditions and formatting requirements. Visit: http://bit.ly/RWA17PitchAssess

To register for Manuscript Assessments: http://bit.ly/RWA17PDA

manuscripts

A Writer’s Life: Plotting, with Helen Bianchin

This fabulous (italics mine because I think it’s fabulous – Ed.) article first appeared in the September 2016 edition of Hearts Talk, the journal of the Romance Writers of Australia.  For more info on the column, and on RWA membership, see the end of this post!  But for now, over to Helen…

helen-bianchin-portrait

Plotting with Helen Bianchin

I spent the first year of my writing career convinced a book had to be written from page one through to the end. I stalled so many times, eventually threw my hands in the air, muttered something pithy in Italian, then vowed out loud: where does it say there’s a rule a book has to be written consecutively from start to finish?

Remember, in the early 1970s, there were few ‘how-to write’ books around, and the only other M&B authors I knew were Essie Summers and Gloria Bevan. That was until one day Robyn Donald and her husband were in Auckland, discovered there was only one Bianchin in the phonebook and rang me. They visited that very day, and a friendship was forged, which has lasted until the present. Not long after that, Daphne Clair began her Ring o’ Roses newsletter and there was contact!

I tried the pantser route way back when, and ended up with sentences, paragraphs, pages all over the place. Soon I discovered it was a method that didn’t work for me.

What did work was to choose a premise (or it would choose me) and I’d make notes, choose names, setting, get it all handwritten into a notebook, think about it (including procrastination), compose a supposedly perfect scene on the edge of sleep, positive I’d remember it in glorious detail on waking the next morning. Yes, well, we know how that goes…

Through trial and error, I discovered I think in scenes—usually out of sequence. I have to say curling up in a comfy chair with pen and notepad works. The ideas happen and I scribble them down. Then I key them into the computer while the ideas are fresh and there’s hope I can decipher my scribble—or at least get the gist of it, editing as I go along, expanding, enhancing, numbering each draft scene before printing it out. It’s a weird method, and you wouldn’t believe how many times I vow to discard it and write in a professional manner (whatever that is!)

However, I have tried other methods. I know Joy Dingwell used to hand-write on the right side of a lined notebook—mainly all dialogue—then she’d go back and handwrite on the left side of the lined notebook the emotional bits, the scenery, etc. and balloon each bit into where it should fit. When the handwritten notebook was complete, she’d edit, add, then type it all out on an old typewriter in what passed for MS format at that time.

I know of authors who have adapted a similar methodology with handwriting on the right side of a lined notebook (or unlined) and use different-coloured sticky-pad sheets containing handwritten emotion, scenery etc, high and low points, and stick them onto the left side of the notebook. At least with the latter, the sticky-pad sheets can be easily moved and switched around. When the current long-languishing MS is finally finished, I think I’ll give this method a try.

Others use a whiteboard—I think if I tried that, I’d end up erasing something deep and meaningful to be lost forevermore.

Then there’s Scrivener. Some authors swear by it. Others try it and decide it’s not for them. I bought the program with the intention of trialling it when the long-languishing MS finally travels through the ether to London. I even upgraded to the latest version. I’ll let you know how I go (just don’t hold your breath!).

I must admit I witness the published output of varying authors and wonder if they sleep. Writing must occupy every waking minute of their lives…or they have glorious brainpower whereby they key in the right words with the speed of light.

In conclusion, there is no right way. There’s only your way. Even so experimenting with different ways may work really well.

– Helen Bianchin

 

A long-time bestseller for Harlequin Mills & Boon, Helen Bianchin’s books are sold in 26 languages in more than 109 countries. Helen is much beloved in the romance writing community, and was RWA’s first-ever Hall of Fame author. She’s always been a huge supporter of new writers as well as established authors and still participates on the RWA email loops.

Anne Gracie’s A Writer’s Life is a regular column featured in Romance Writers of Australia’s monthly journal, Hearts Talk. Packed full of articles on craft, the publishing industry and interviews with romance authors, Hearts Talk is a valued and much-loved benefit to your RWA membership. If you’re not already an RWA member, join up here [http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/99/Join-RWA].

 

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.

 

 

A Writer’s Life: Ditching Perfection

Today we are starting a new feature on the RWA blog, where we interview our members about their writing lives.   Today’s guest is Anna Hackett.  This column first appeared in this month’s Hearts Talk, the RWA newsletter.  So if you are a member, don’t forget to read it.  And if you aren’t, you might want to join, now that you’ve seen what you’re missing out on!

Anna-Hackett2-208x300When I started writing this article, I tried to think about the things I’d like to go back and tell my younger writer self. Little pearls of wisdom I wish I’d known when I first started writing. The list got a little long…and many of those things I think I just needed to experience and grow through as part of my journey as a writer.

But one thing stood out.

There is one thing that made a big difference in my writing career and it is the one thing I wish I could have realized sooner.

That thing: ditching the pursuit of perfection.

Now, many of us are conditioned to think we need to achieve perfection in our lives (especially women!) We think we need the perfect house, kept in the perfect condition, with our perfectly behaved kids, our loving, perfect marriage, our perfect, successful career and we have to look perfect while we’re doing all of that! We feel the need to be superwoman and have it all.

There’s a quote by Salvador Dali — Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it. He’s right. Deep down, we all know it.

As writers, we can fall into the trap of needing our writing to be “perfect.” It’s easy to do. When that story idea bursts inside our head, it seems flawless. It’s exciting, thrilling, gut-wrenching. It’s the best story idea ever! Then once we start putting the words to the blank page…well, the story never seems to come out as perfectly as what we had in our head. That’s when the pursuit of perfection becomes harmful. The doubts, the dreaded inner editor, all start whispering (or shouting) at us and suddenly we’re avoiding doing the writing, we’re agonizing over it, we’re procrastinating.

If we do manage to get the draft done, then that pursuit of perfection can have us endlessly editing and polishing—over and over—and we’re never quite finished. But it doesn’t stop there. The elusive pursuit of perfect can mean we never let our story out into the world. We worry it isn’t good enough, that we’ll receive criticism, rejections from agents and publishers, bad reviews from readers and reviewers, no sales. It can paralyze us from doing that thing we’re supposed to do—tell and share the stories inside us.

I don’t remember when I finally decided to give perfection a boot to the face, but it was the best thing I ever did. Suddenly, I was focused on just getting words out—any words, they didn’t have to be perfect or even good ones. Then I focused on editing until the story was done (not perfect!) Then I sent those stories out there as they were, for better or worse.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t keep learning, honing our craft, and improving. We should also always listen to trusted, constructive criticism that helps us become better writers. But if you keep waiting for your stories to be perfect, you’re letting good, great, wonderful, and pretty darn awesome stories get away.

If you’re waiting until your story is so amazing, so perfect that everyone will love it, no one will criticize it, and it’ll never get a bad comment…you’ll never begin, let alone finish.

So, don’t let your good, great and amazing pass you by.

Ditch perfection and begin.

– Anna Hackett [http://annahackettbooks.com]

Western Australian writer Anna Hackett is a mining engineer, a mother of two young sons, and a USA Today bestseller. She writes fast-paced action/adventure/sci-fi/romance. She’s published with Harlequin and Carina Press and now she’s self-publishing and writing up a storm.

 

Anne Gracie’s A Writer’s Life is a regular column featured in Romance Writers of Australia’s monthly journal, Hearts Talk. Packed full of articles on craft, the publishing industry and interviews with romance authors, Hearts Talk is a valued and much-loved benefit to your RWA membership. If you’re not already an RWA member, join up here [http://www.romanceaustralia.com/p/99/Join-RWA].

Lilian Darcy on love, publishing and new options for writers

For many readers of this blog, and romance generally, Lilian Darcy needs no introduction.  A Waldenbooks bestseller, five-time Rita finalist and long-standing member of RWA, she has been delighting readers of Harlequin Mills and Boon books for many years.  But recently, like many authors, she has also been exploring other publishing opportunities.  We asked her to tell us a bit about that.  Here’s what she said…

Lillian DarcyI love Valentine’s Day.

And I love my birthday.

And what do you know, both events occur on the exact same date, so, you know…

Go me! Valentine baby! Romance writer! Yay! Wowza! Appropriate coincidence or what????

Right, having got that out of my system I’d now like to have a serious discussion about one option for authors trying to navigate their way through the choppy seas of modern publishing.

If I really stretch, I can almost make this tie in thematically with Valentine’s Day…

Because just as the right two people are greater as a couple than the sum of their single selves, the right group of authors coming together to form, effectively, their own publishing company can be greater than the sum of their individual careers.

This is way too serious and complex a topic for one short blog, but if you’re looking to the future and wondering what your options are, today could be a kind of first-day-of-the-rest-of-your-life episode, when it comes to thinking along those lines.

Authors can now band together without traditional publisher involvement in any number of ways, ranging from a loose group that acts as beta readers or copy editors for each other, to writing an ongoing indie-published series together and chipping in for a group website to promote it, to creating a full-on author-founded and author-friendly legally incorporated publishing company. This last option is what I’ve been doing for the past year, while also continuing to write for Harlequin Special Edition, but it was the fabulous Jane Porter’s idea so I can’t take any credit for it.

Before the Tule Publishing Group came into being, I was enjoying my category romance career and I’d published one of my backlist novels and two new ones on my own, but even with supportive author loops, etc, the latter can be an awfully lonely way of doing things, I found.

The control is fabulous. The weight of work, especially if you’re a bit of a clunky dork (what, me?) when it comes to promotion, not so much.

Combining with other authors and going into the whole Let’s Be Our Own Publisher thing in a big way is working much better for me, although again I’d strongly caution that it’s still not easy. Nothing about a writing career is easy, no matter what route you choose. To create your own publishing company, you need money and/or massive time to invest up front with no guarantee of a return, you need trust and communication and reliability, you need business savvy and nimble responses to the market. Most of all you need the right authors. It’s not something to jump into lightly, on a whim.

Still, in the case of The Tule Group and Montana Born Books I think the results are starting to speak for themselves.

If you’ve been thinking of something like this for your own career, I strongly suggest you take a look.

Lilian’s latest release from Montana Born Books is The Sweetest Thing.

TheSweetestThing_LilianDarcy_smallTully Morgan hasn’t been back to Marietta for more than a few brief visits since the night of the 1996 senior prom eighteen years ago, when the chance exposure of a long-held family secret sent her running to her uncle in California in shock. She stood up her date Ren Fletcher that night, and she hasn’t seen him since.

Now she’s here for an extended stay, to help take care of her seriously ill mother. It’s an edgy reconciliation, the first time that Tully, Patty and Sugar Morgan have been together since that long ago prom night. Tully has had so much anger toward Sugar… can she ever forgive her?

And Sugar still has one more secret that needs to be dealt with, one that needs Ren Fletcher’s help. Has he forgiven Tully for leaving him in the lurch on prom night? And is there any chance that he and Tully can rekindle what they might once have had, when he’s still tied to someone else?

Out soon in print, too!  For a link to the ebook on Amazon, clink on the cover.  For updates on this and other books, go to www.montanabornbooks.com or Like us on Facebook

You can find Lilian and her books at 

www.liliandarcy.com

www.liliandarcy.com/blog

https://www.facebook.com/LilianDarcy

https://twitter.com/liliandarcy

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