Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Networking for Writers

It’s always great to gather with other writers and talk about the craft you love. Recently, I had the privilege of presenting a Fiction Writing Workshop to Florida Sisters in Crime. If you live in Northern Florida, consider joining this dynamic group. We met at a library and their community room was filled with over 50 attendees, all eager to take notes.

We covered fiction writing essentials in the morning and business aspects in the afternoon. In between, people met each other and mingled. That’s the best part of conferences, too. You never know who you’ll discover sitting next to you in a seminar or at the bar. You’ll make new writer friends, greet old acquaintances, and learn the industry buzz. Everything I’ve learned about the business of being a professional writer, I have gained from other authors.
This past weekend, I attended a meeting over on Florida’s west coast. The Southwest Florida Romance Writers meets regularly in Estero, located between Naples and Fort Myers. Whoever wants to meet for lunch first gathers in the Bistro downstairs at the Miromar Design Center. The meeting with a speaker begins at 1:00 on the third floor. Member Michael Joy shared some tips he’d learned during a residency in a Master of Fine Arts program. I enjoyed his teaching technique as much as the tools he mentioned on creating realistic dialogue.
Writers are very generous in sharing what we know. Attending local meetings, reading online blogs, going to conferences, and entering writing contests offer a tremendous amount of valuable information and feedback. In Florida, we have branch chapters of RWA, MWA, and Sisters in Crime. This year the Ninc national conference in October will be held here, too. It’s New Rules, New Tools: Writers in Charge, an essential and dynamic topic. And in case you didn’t already know, Sleuthfest will be moving to Orlando next March so you can bring your families along.
Don’t know what all these abbreviations mean? Then jump on the bandwagon and find out. There’s nothing more gratifying than schmoozing with fellow authors and sharing industry news. Join as many different writers organizations as you can afford and attend meetings. Get to know authors in other genres and exchange ideas. Let’s mingle!
*****
If you live in SE Florida, there’s still time to sign up for the remaining classes at the Author’s Academy. All workshops are held at Murder on the Beach Bookstore, 273 NE 2nd Avenue, Delray Beach, FL. Instructors are multi-published authors. Call 561-279-7790 or email murdermb@gate.net for reservations. $25 per person per class.
Saturday, September 10, 10am – Noon
How To Get Published. Learn what it takes to get your work published.
Instructor: Joanna Campbell Slan, author of Photo Snap Shot.

Saturday, September 24, 10am - Noon

Finding an Agent. Query Letters, Synopses, and the Pitch!
Instructor: Nancy J. Cohen, author of the Bad Hair Day mysteries.

And More Local Author Events:

Tuesday, October 11, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
, Sun, Sand & Suspense Panel, “Three Dangerous Dames,” Nancy Cohen, Elaine Viets, and Deborah Sharp; Broward County Main Library, 100 S. Andrews Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33301, 954-357-7444

Saturday, October 29, 2:00 – 3:30pm,
Florida Romance Writers Panel Discussion and Signing, Delray Beach Public Library, 100 West Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444

9 comments:

  1. I've been to Sleuthfest a couple of times--it's a great conference. My first Sleuthfest helped me transition from pre-published to published status. When I went to the first conference, my manuscript wasn't finished. After reading the first few chapters, an editor from a major house asked for the entire manuscript. I had to rush home and finish! I didn't wind up publishing with that house, but I got an agent and contract soon thereafter. Sleuthfest was the jolt of encouragement I needed at the time.

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  2. All these opportunities to come together with other writers always makes me scratch my head when people bemoan how lonely a writer's life is. Granted, if I could be a hermit, I would, so my "hang out with other people" button requires much, much less pressing than anyone else I know.

    But opportunities abound to gather together. I have been very pleased to watch the opportunities for writers to gather increase steadily since moving to Arizona over 14 years ago.

    Both conferences and local writers groups are a great way to recharge your batteries.

    BK Jackson

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  3. Kathryn, you're a SleuthFest success story! I got my first agent at an FRW conference, the first one I'd attended. And yes, BK,hanging out with other writers always recharges my battery. I just came from critique group, another way we hang together. We're all truly a community!

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  4. Florida Writer's Association is sponsoring a conference I plan to attend weekend of October 21-23 this year. The only other one I've been to was here in Tallahassee a few months back. It was great!

    This time, in Orlando, I've armed myself with business cards that I designed to look like by blog. :)

    I know, how cheesy is that?

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  5. Florida has so many writer events, it's hard to keep track. Diane, it sounds as though you are armed and ready with your business cards!

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  6. BTW, I have to give a shout-out to RWA and it's many chapters. I'm not a member, but at least here in Arizona (and I'm sure in other places) RWA has played a crucial role in bringing education and networking opportunities to writers through their own conferences and broader one day clinics.

    I'm so thankful that so many writers give back. That is way cool.

    BK Jackson

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  7. Ditto, BK. I've learned everything about the business of writing from RWA. I belong to three chapters here in Florida and the FF&P chapter, plus Mystery Writers of America, the Authors Guild, Sisters in Crime, Novelists, Inc. and International Thriller Writers. Through the online loops and newsletters, I learn so much.

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  8. Nancy, you know I'm a networking animal! I love it. I believe it's a major requirement in the writing process. You never know who and what you don't know. The only way to find out is to get out there!!

    I met my editor and agent through conference networking. The connection wouldn't have happened unless we met face-to-face. I know that for a fact. Great post, Nancy.

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