By Patricia Stoltey
I felt obligated to stick to the same word count I suggested for the rest of our blog’s contributors and guests, but it was hard. I took so many notes, and I learned so much, that I still feel as though I fell off my diet and stuffed myself too full. Let’s see if the post will be lean enough if I give you the name of the session, the instructor’s name, and one thing I learned (all paraphrased). I’ll skip details about the guest speakers and just tell you they were all wonderful.
On Friday, I worked the registration table until 2:00 PM and then had to check into the hotel room, so I didn’t get to my first session until 3:00. That was Bill Konigsberg’s Seven Deadly Sins of Dialogue in Young-Adult Fiction.
First deadly sin: Overuse of slang
Agent Panel with Sally Harding, Natalie Lakosil, Kathleen Rushall, and Sarah Joy Freese.
One of the worst things an author can do in his query letter is not talk about his book. The format to follow is “The hook, the book, and the cook,” and all need to be brief.
In the Middle: Pluses and Minuses of Small Press Publishing, Katriena Knights
Contracts with small presses tend to be shorter in duration and often for only one format. This allows a book to have 2-3 good life cycles.
Saturday was an amazing day filled with difficult choices. Picking which workshop to attend was hard, and I often changed my mind at the last minute.
The Artist’s Way: Still Fresh, Robin Owens
When challenged to write pseudo-morning pages for ten minutes, I discovered some authors (Janet Lane, for instance) are very creative at 8:00 AM. I, however, was just grumpy and mostly scribbled on about needing another cup of coffee.
Why Would Librarians Buy Your Book—Or Not?, Mary Gilgannon and Alice Kober
The mini-synopsis (story blurb) on the back cover (and often included in book catalogues) is critical to librarian selection.
How to Art Direct Your Book’s Cover Design, Karen Duvall
The latest trend in covers is to use models in headless shots, or silhouettes, or from the back.
The Point of No Return: Crossing the Threshold from Traditionally Published to Self-Published, Jeff Shelby
The new exploding market is New Adult for young women age 18-25 with plenty of romance, sex, drama, and bad boys. Normal length: 65,000 words.
An Agent Reads the Slush Pile, Kristin Nelson and Sally Harding
Don’t do world building in a prologue. If you use a prologue, it should set up a question or establish a scene that will become important later in the story.
Who’s Your Narrator?, Ronald Malfi
Dialogue needs to reflect each character’s voice, even when the chapter or scene is not from that character’s POV.
The Hybrid Author, Karyn Marcus and Kristin Nelson
I learned all about the story of Hugh Howey who began by self-publishing and was later picked up by a major publisher for his compiled book, Wool. I’d never heard anything about this author before. The story is too long to tell here. Sorry about that.
Sunday morning I skipped the continental breakfast of fruit and pastries and joined friends in the restaurant for a real breakfast. The waitress forgot to bring my bacon. Can you believe that? Forgot to bring my bacon!
I attended the 8:00 AM session, still upset, but quickly settled in to enjoy The Road Map to a Successful E-Pub Career Shift, Cate Rowan
Cover art for e-books needs to pop when it’s displayed in thumbnail size (that’s where the online bookseller shows a line of books that were purchased at the same time as the search book).
I, You, Them: How Perspective Powers Your Story, Trai Cartwright
Holy cow! I still have new things to learn about Point of View. Do you know the difference between Third Close Dramatic and Third Close Limited? I had them confused. Sigh! I’m not going to try to explain them here. I’d probably get it wrong (even though I think I took really good notes).
And that’s my super-condensed version from twenty-seven 4 1/2” x 6 1/2” pages of notes. I could go on and on…
Patricia Stoltey is the author of two amateur sleuth mysteries published by Five Star/Cengage in hardcover and Harlequin Worldwide mass market paperbacks. The Prairie Grass Murders and The Desert Hedge Murders are now available for Kindle and Nook. Her blog is known for featuring guest authors who write in a variety of genres.