RWA 2009 Workshop Review part 1

I consider the $100 cost of the RWA Conference workshops money well spent. Worth every penny. I have now listened to all the workshops, other than 2-3 that I knew I had no interest in.

I am NOT going to comment on all the workshops since some, for whatever reason, I did not care for or the subject matter wasn’t one I’m interested in at this point in my career. YMMV.

Workshops I end up not mentioning you may love. Ones I loved you might hate. Also, this is only part 1 because I already had most of this noted so it’s a quick post for me. There are more workshops to talk about. (For what it’s worth, right now I’m most concerned with story and character — making them bigger and better.)

One surprise was how much GREAT information was in the publisher spotlights. Not so much about what they’re buying but about story-telling — amazing stuff in each and every one. (NB, I did not listen to the Avalon or Steeple Hill spotlights since I don’t think I’ll ever write inspirational. Given that all the other spotlights were fantastic, this may be a mistake.) The Harlequin workshops were also really good. I did skip the one about moving from category to single title, as those issues don’t apply to me.

14-009 Homeland Security: was actually REALLY interesting. The speaker had some really great stories and she just loves her job so much you can’t help but catch the enthusiasm. Great details to be tucked away in the brain vault.

14-011 Google Book Settlement
– informative. Probably worth a listen if the settlement is still alive or not substantially changed by the current negotiations.

14-012 Pro Session
: Make sure you listen to Madelaine Hunter. She gave a GREAT talk. The rest is pretty good, too, but for me she was a standout. The agent panel was good, too.

14-034 Writing the Hot Historical – everything Pam Rosenthal said was fascinating and thought provoking, whether you write historicals or not.

14-035 Secrets of the Best Selling Sisterhood
– SEP and Jayne Ann Krentz. Worth a listen.

14-039 – Joan Johnston – Writing the Breakout Nove
l. Lots of interesting tips and things to think about.

14-042 Buy this Book – Gardiner, Poelle – Give this a listen. Top agents.

14-047 Under the Skin – Very good. Give a listen.

14-054 Intellectual Property – Moderated by Nora Roberts. Make sure you listen to Nora’s story about how she was plagiarized. Riveting. You’ll get angry and want to cry on her behalf. The speakers were good, but hard to understand at times (heavy accents, unclear diction).
14-056 Eloisa James Awards luncheon. Her speech will make you cry.

14-062: The Fire in Fiction. Donald Maass
. Will def make you think. Some is kind of obvious but he tells a story (toward the end I think) and the room was COMPLETELY silent while he told it. A masterful example of show not tell. Have a listen. I have already listened to this one a second time.

14-071 Why we Love Mr. Darcy. Brenda Chin, Julia Quinn, L. Ghurk
e: Recommended. This quickly veers off into career decisions and discussions. Worth a listen for everything Quinn says about her career.

14-072 One, Two or Three. Kristin Nelson, Natasha Kern. This one is a MUST listen. Chilling bad-agent story. Great discussion of the thinking behind agenting a book deal. FYI, Kristin Nelson is my agent.

14-076 Setting as Character. Jade Lee
. Worth a listen. She says some very interesting things. Plus she’s funny and a great speaker.

14-082 Mauled Men etc
. This one is about what happens after someone dies mostly in re funeral homes. I recommend listening because the speaker is good and there’s all kinds of unexpected interesting facts and information in this that will probably come in handy one day.

14-084 Spotlight on St. Martin’s
. I consider this a MUST listen. Jennifer Enderlin in particular has some GREAT tips and insights. You probably won’t have to listen to all of it, but don’t miss the first half.

14-088 The good the bad the ugly in New media
. Depressing, but do listen. It’s about marketing and having a publicist. The min. budget of $7500 for EFFECTIVE marketing is just freaking depressing and out of reach for must authors. There are some good ideas and tips.

14-092 Make it Happen. 10 Tips to Breaking in
. Christie Craig’s story was inspirational. I heard about this one at the conference — she made quite an impact and I can see why.

14-094 Legal Flavored Research
. Some interesting stuff here.

14-101 How to Sell to Harlequin’s London Office
. Despite the title, there was some truly awesome story advice in this one. I gave this one 5 stars.

14-102 Anatomy of a Best Seller
. This was good. Chris Keeslar of Dorchester is a great editor and I think writers need to sit up and pay attention when editors are speaking.

14-106 Turning Points, Jennifer Crusie
. I’m looking for new ways to think about story, and this gave me some.

14-108 – Spotlight on Sourcebooks
. Listen to this one.

That’s it for now. This is roughly 3/4’s of the workshops with some great ones yet to come. But I think I missed a few.

FTC Disclosure: I don’t have to disclose a damn thing. I paid for these workshop recordings. Plus there’s no advertising here.

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One Response to “RWA 2009 Workshop Review part 1”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you, Carolyn! With money tight at the moment, your review of the workshops helped.

    Now, off to buy a few.