Monday, March 25, 2013

What are you doing now?

Yes, right now?

Well, me; I'm trying to decide what to do next. Do I start editing or do I start promoting my yet to be released latest novel or do I look at the conference's I've been to and figure out if I have done half of the things they suggested.

+Austin Camacho will be attending Thrillerfest and of course our conference, C3. I know for a fact that he always plans his confernences in advance to make sure that he doesn't over book himself.

+Dee Lawrence attended a conference for the first time last year and she attended it again this year. +Bay to Ocean Writers Conference is where I asked her to come out, sight unseen and she gave it a try and she liked it enough to come out again this year.

+Lauren Carr has invested a lot of time and energy into help with the C3 conference and we are so grateful to have her on board.

+Penny Clover Petersen is another author who will give Malice Domestic a look to see if her cozy mystery will do well there.

+Christine Verstraete will look into conferences that will fit her new zombie book coming out in July.

DB Corey will also look into attending the malice domestic conference and hopefully we get a lot of good information from it.

So I will ask you again...what are you doing right now?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Authors Meeting Readers: Nightmare or Dream?

By Lauren Carr
Imagine this: Writers Conference. You are a published author with your first, second, third, or whatever book, traveling for hours to spend a whole weekend at a hotel promoting your book(s).
Your job, should you chose to accept it, is to convince the readers, fellow authors, and, if you are lucky to get the opportunity, literary agents and publishers, to like, if not love, your book enough for them to invest in buying it.
Why would any author not take on this opportunity? Well, there can be many reasons that some authors would be hesitant. For one, how many of us have the money to invest in registration and hotel for a conference that would be a sure thing.
Suppose you fail? Suppose you don’t sell anything? Suppose you sit up in front of everyone at your panel discussion only to learn afterwards that you had a big hunk of lettuce stuck to your teeth the whole time and no one told you?
Then, you would have invested the money into registration and a hotel and end up financially in the hole. Not to mention the deep wound in your pride as you sit at your table at your book signing hour with Nora Roberts next to you with her line of admirers spilling out the door while you’re sitting there playing with your pen. (Been there, done that.)
At one mystery conference, after my second mystery came out in a big expensive hardback ($26), I was seated next to an author with a six-dollar mass paperback. She and other authors, who also had mass paperbacks, had lines around the tables while I sold one book. I came away from that conference feeling like a failure.
No, this post is not to tell you not to go to C3, I’m telling you to go!
Today, social media is the thing for book promotion. Basically, it’s free, which means your only investment is your time. Believe me. I know. I rarely do in-person book events anymore. It’s either a sure thing or for a good cause. I get more out of Twitter, Facebook, and the other sites. Plus, I can do it naked while having a bad hair day.
However, you can’t let that be your whole book promotion package. There are readers who love to meet writers and this is an opportunity to shine. In person, you can let your personality sparkle. Readers will see how fast you are at delivering a witty line on the panel. They can see how bright your smile is.
Your enthusiasm for your book will really come through in a way that it can’t across the Internet. Once, at a book event, a reader told me that she was buying all of my books because I loved them so much that she knew she would, too. As she sat reading my books, she could pick up my enthusiasm which would not have happened on Facebook.
When readers meet authors at a book event, not only will they have a face, they will have a person—a real-live friend—not just an avatarto associate with your books. It’s a personal connection that can’t be made across the Internet.
So, here is another way to think about traveling to the C3 conference:
Suppose you succeed? Suppose you sell everything? Suppose you walk into the conference room for your panel and floor everyone with your sparkling personality and walk out of that room with a roomful of new fans.
So sign up for C3. Submit a short story to the C3 anthology (there is still time and openings). Get dressed, and comb your hair, and come to Baltimore to meet your fans and make new ones. Don’t forget to brush your teeth and use deodorant.
I’ll get dressed … I promise.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Why am I attending?

I’ve attended writer’s conferences before. Maryland Writer’s Association, Bay to Ocean Writer’s Conference ... a couple others whose names escape me at the moment. I found them enjoyable, even if I did feel like a fish out of water.
I had been writing for maybe a year-and-a-half, had finished what I call today, my practice novel (it wasn’t very good), and began my quest for publication. I heard that conferences were the way to go to get a feel for the industry. I could meet publishers and editors, attend Q&As with authors manning a variety of panels and roundtables, and the pièce de résistance, if you will, schedule a sit-down with an agent; a fifteen-minute, one-on-one shot to deliver your pitch to one of publishing’s gatekeepers. But that kind of undivided attention costs extra. And it should. Time is money, as they say, and your fifty-or-so-bucks buys you that time.
But, I decided I wouldn’t spend the money. “Fifty bucks buys a lot of U.S. stamps,” I said to myself. “I can reach a lot of agents for fifty bucks. Why should I spend it on just one?”
Looking back at the experience now, I realize that I was the person folks refer to as the guy who just fell off the proverbial turnip truck. Soliciting an agent takes months and months of customized query crafting, synopsis sculpting (at different page lengths), cover-letter cobbling, label printing, stamp sticking, and envelope licking—all to be able to finally sit back and collect the rejections. In light of that, fifty bucks seemed like a bargain.
So I spent the dough; talked to an agent from one of the BIG New York agencies, delivered a flawless pitch, and sat back to listen to what he had to say. The feedback was immediate. I had more work to do.
Was I disappointed? Of course. Did I learn something? Yup! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. And I did. Why? Because what I didn’t have to do, was wait months on end for responses that contained zero advice, if they responded at all.
And what does this have to do with the C3 Conference you ask? Well there will be agents, editors, publishers, and authors like most writers’ conferences, but the C3 isn’t just a writer’s conference. It’s a fan conference, and speaking as a newly minted author whose book will be released in August, I’m just dying to meet (and make) some fans. Just a couple will do, and family doesn’t count. Plus I am anxious to meet Jeffery Deaver, Trice Hickman, and John Gilstrap ... just to name a few; accomplished authors who I hope will bestow upon me the benefit of their invaluable experience while allowing me a glimpse at the big-time—and I think that’s pretty cool.
If you are a writer, and want to publish (and what writer doesn’t?), I think you will find C3 a better fit than going the traditional route. The old established way is hard. Very hard! Even today’s most well known names were rejected uncounted times. Independent publishers like Intrigue and Acorn are coming into their own, and represent a new direction in the publishing industry. They are in the hunt for writers who are good, but have experienced rejection after rejection like me. They will give you a chance, simply because they are new, they are hungry, and they are looking for the next Stephen King or James Patterson or Isaac Asimov. The publishing industry is changing because technology has allowed it, and anyone who ever dreamed of seeing their novel on a bookstore’s New Releases shelf will benefit.
I think you will be very excited about what you find here. Take advantage of this conference while you can. There aren’t many like it, and you don’t want to be standing on the platform when the train leaves the station.  
As someone very special to me said when I was about to quit, “You’ve worked so hard and learned so much, why would you give up now?”
Good advice. I’m glad I took it. Check me out on for more "observations"
DB Corey



Monday, March 11, 2013

Memoriable First

I’m Ann Arbaugh and I’m happy to join Intrigue Publishing and the C3 Board as the Conference Volunteer Coordinator.  
My first professional experience with Conferences was back in 2006.
Austin’s wife, Denise, was the Maryland Writers Association Conference Coordinator.  She put out a call for volunteers and I stepped in. I thought I’d be helping with a small task, but Denise really needed someone to organize all the volunteers. No problem, I said.  
Sometimes it’s better not to know how big a job really is becaue you don’t have time to talk yourself out of it.  
There were many communications about which volunteer to assign to what position, how many people were needed, and many other details that needed attention. Yes, there were even a few emails from Denise.  She was afraid I’d back out.

Not a chance. 
The weeks passed quickly. 
Conference day was filled with meeting new people, running up stairs, and making sure everyone was in place. The facility didn’t have catering, so we took care of the food on our own.  I had to make regular runs between coolers and our rooms, bottled water filling my arms, making sure that our moderators didn’t run dry. 
I sat in on several sessions for minutes while catching my breath. 
At the end of the day, we relaxed at a cocktail hour. Everyone who worked the conference was tired. I felt like I’d been in a whirlwind all day. My brain was fried and I wondered how I did as a first-time volunteer coordinator.  
Then Denise came up and repeated what one attendee told her – “This was your best conference ever.” 
That’s all I needed to hear. 
Since that time, I’ve attended many local conferences and retreats in Maryland and Pennsylvania. Each one was put together by a great team of volunteers. 
Flash forward to August 2012 and a short email from Denise asking if I’d like to help Intrigue Publishing with the C3 Conference. Being cautious, I asked for more info. I checked the website and was very impressed. 
Three days...Lots of sessions... Hunt Valley Inn... And Jeffrey Deaver? Seriously? My reply email said “sign me up”. 
Every C3 meeting makes me more excited about the Conference. Ideas are coming together. My job, so far, is to add ideas and thoughts regarding our volunteers. My real work begins in a few months. 
For now, I’m going to sit back and pick up another Deaver novel.

My assignment is to read several books by each of our guests by the time September arrives. 
Why don’t you pull up a chair and join me.

Which authors will you be reading? 

Monday, March 4, 2013

What's the appeal?

What is it that makes Cons so appealing? First of all what kind Con are we speaking of? Is it a scifi convention or writing conference? And are you going as a fan or an author or both?

I am Amy McCorkle and my first Con as a professional was the 2011 Fandom Fest/Fright Night Film Festival.  I went as a way to promote my work and to get my name out there. As someone who writes under a pen name as well as my given name it was a great way to get my feet wet. I had a table with hardly anything on it, some bookmarks and trading cards and I sat next to a generous individual, Bertena Varney  who showed me the ropes.

I learned valuable things on how to network and even found a publisher there. (My second one) Hydra specializes in speculative fiction.

Scifi Conventions are great events where everyone is a fan, even the authors, and everyone helps each other out. It’s a very inclusive atmosphere and the friends you make at one Con are very likely the people you’ll see at another and it’s a great way to network professionally and personally.

Writers Conferences on the other hand are places where there is a more business-like attitude. People are often there to learn how to get published. There are the exceptions like Romfest and RomCon which are reader oriented romance versions of the sci-fi cons, but when you go to a writers conference you are going somewhere to either learn something, learn how to sell your work, or promote your work.

I like both aspects of the conventions and conferences but often conventions are cheaper than conferences.

Whereas the membership fee for a sci-fi con is 30-50 bucks a straight conference can be 200-300 dollars at best for registration alone. And for those of us on a budget that can be intimidating. Especially when trying to bust through the slush pile.

A nice thing about sci-fi cons is that sometimes speculative fiction small presses are there to pitch too. The bigger conferences are nice to pitch to the agents. I haven’t been to any mystery conferences. Until this year. This year I have two or three of the more expensive conferences to attend.

I’m attending Romfest, Killer Nashville, and Creatures, Crimes, and Creativity. All of which are more expensive than Fandom Fest which I will be comped for. But these conferences could advance my career. I am looking forward to them as the camaraderie that one feels at these things is wonderful. And that is ultimately why I love the Cons and Conferences most of all.