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Friday, October 24, 2014

Gleanings from the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference #NJRW2014

My program from the conference. You can see from the smileys I added how much I enjoyed it!

Happy Friday everyone! I attended the Put Your Heart in a Book New Jersey Romance Writers Conference last weekend and had a wonderful time. I attended with four other writer friends, three of whom pitched with great success. Me, I took the no stress route and went just to hear the speakers and attend the presentations.

Susan Mallery was the Keynote Speaker Saturday morning. What an inspiring speech that was. She spoke about her somewhat circuitous route to mega-success and the importance of having a plan for one’s writing career. Susan is amazing--she wrote one hundred books before she broke through to the New York Times Bestseller List! Later on, I attended her Screw the Muse, I’m on Deadline presentation, where she discussed time management, feeling that the “well is dry” and that deadliest of all threats, negative self-talk (aka “my book sucks”). When she’s on a roll, Susan writes seventy-five pages a week!

Our lunchtime speaker was Jennifer Probst, who stepped in on short notice. She really hit it out of the part. Her speech was very moving, and really stressed the importance of perseverance. She overcame a lot of career disappointment before The Marriage Bargain came out and hit the charts. What I learned from her: never give up.

I got a lot out of author Nancy Herkness’ presentation Sell Your Book, Not Your Soul: How to Write a Commercial Book From Your Heart. She stressed the importance of hooks in a story. It’s important to study the market and learn what’s popular so your story will have broad appeal while still containing elements you care about, thus making it your own. This is the formula she used to create her successful Whisper Horse Series.

During her Keynote Speech, Susan Mallery mentioned Joan Johnston’s books. This reminded me that Susan Meier also mentioned the author during a presentation for the Central New York Romance Writers.  So now I’m reading Joan Johnston’s The Texan. Of course, I’m hooked. Now I understand why her name is on so many authors’ tongues.

This is only a smidge of what I experienced and learned over the weekend. I’ve returned a bit overwhelmed, but definitely inspired. Only ninety three more books to write, and maybe I can be the next Susan Mallery!

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