Purposeful Romantic Cinema

Sally J. Walker ~ By Sally J. Walker

Pairing up is a recognized life experience of the human species. Awareness of the need surfaces in puberty.  Some people sublimate it for a variety of reasons.  Others embrace it and evolve a determination to find that special Someone to share life experiences.  Sometimes those determined folk succeed.  Other times they are frustrated.  And sometimes people simply stumble upon the person meant to travel with them for the rest of their lifetime.

Attitudes toward the “Pairing Process” are as unique as each human for a variety of reasons.  Those of us who write romance observe and incorporate those attitudes into the pairing stories we weave.  Our objective is to depict the journey of discovery that others will enjoy reading and watching.

Frequently romance writers deal with cynics and people discomfited by the principles of romantic relationships.  We are not deterred.  We know what a thrill it is to have life’s obstacles overcome in order to end up in the arms of the beloved.  That makes us perpetual optimists.  In a world full of negatives and disturbing threats, romantic storytellers provide the Hope of happiness  through pairing.


Novels are a 1:1 experience.  The cinematic world is a relative group orgy.  A huge group of artists MAKE the film then many people gather before their TV sets or settle in a public theater to experience the story.

rosesCreating the characters and events that will absorb the awareness of the audience demands a specialized form of storytelling, from script formatting to manipulation of time and place to stimulating the imaginations of all those other cinematic artists who contribute their expertise to the creation of the film. The reality of writing a romantic film is that the writer fades into background.  We are not important beyond the blue print we created.  All those other collaborators take over the storytelling.  Ultimately, they too are not meant to be obvious.  Even the actors become the characters in a well-done film. That happens for one purpose:  to enthrall the audience.


The genre of “Romantic Comedies” is not intended to create perpetual laughs.  It is about the “feel good” quality of the story.  There certainly may be drama or tragedy, however, ultimately the problems will be resolved, the obstacles overcome and the pairing will take place.

For some people—mostly males—this concept is too sugar-coated and the ending predictable.  If they had their choice, they would go to an Action-Adventure film. They share this film to please the romantic-minded people in their lives.  A writer’s challenge is to absorb that cynic’s imagination, to surprise him into discovering he can “care.”

The Romantic film-goer doesn’t sit in the theater expecting a depiction of the worse life experiences in the characters’ lives.  They KNOW the couple will end up together.  They want the story to depict HOW that happens.  The ending is not rocket science complicated . . . but the story’s events need to be in order to enthrall the audience, both genre enthusiasts and reluctant cynics.


Screenwriting is a specialized discipline that requires knowledge of what the film industry needs, just as romance writing is a specialized craft.  One cannot create a screenplay without studying the craft, just as one cannot depict a fictionalized romance without knowledge of reader/audience expectations.

A romantic story is more than Beginning-Middle-Ending structure.  It is a complex depiction of dreams and needs, character angst and joys.  Most importantly it is about awareness of the desire to pair with another human being, the need to survive WITH another human being whatever life circumstance is thrown at them.

* Click here for more information about Sally's upcoming workshop. *

Sally Walker’s published credits include literary, romance and western novels, a nonfiction essay collection, several creative writing textbooks, stage plays, poetry, and many magazine articles on the craft of writing, including staff contributions to two international film magazines for 10 years. With 32 screenplays written, several under negotiation at various studios and her novel-to-screenplay adaptation on her plate, Sally has an entertainment attorney representing her in Hollywood. In addition to long time active memberships in such national writing organizations as RWA, WWA and SCBWI, she was president of a state-wide writers organization 2007-2011. She keeps to a strenuous writing schedule and still has time to work as Editorial Director for The Fiction Works, supervising acquisitions and sub-contracted editors, as well as Script Supervisor for material sent to TFW’s affiliated Misty Mountain Productions. Sally has taught writing seminars, both on-site and on-line, for over 30 years and is the facilitator for the weekly meetings of the Nebraska Writers Workshop in Ralston, NE.  For more information on her works and classes go to her website at http://www.sallyjwalker.com

How to Launch Your First Kindle Book and Make $1,000 in 30 Days

SHB paid graph

If you’ve ever thought of publishing a Kindle book, stop what you’re doing and read this!

Lise Cartwright is a self confessed (or is that obsessed?!) shoe fanatic that has found her passion in writing and indie publishing. We will be hosting both Lise Cartwright and Steve Windsor from Author Basics next Wednesday February 24th for a LIVE webinar where Lise will go more in-depth on her Kindle tips and tricks, as well as their new blog: Author Basics and how it can help you to Become One Of The Few Authors Who Make Money.


Take it away Lise!


What I learned from launching 3 self published books in 60 days on Amazon…

Before we jump into this massive blog post, you’re probably wondering who the heck I am… My name is Lise Cartwright and I’m a direct success story from Location Rebel. Thanks to Sean and the LR community, I quit my job in June 2012 and haven’t looked back.

I’ve spent the last 2.5 years freelancing as a writer and social media consultant. I’ve enjoyed every minute of working for myself, but around December of 2013, I started looking at some other avenues to make money. I don’t like to have my eggs all in the one basket and was beginning to feel a little bit like my basket was getting a tad on the empty side…

So, I jumped straight  into the self publishing industry in December 2013, when I self published my first book (which is now on Kindle). I clearly didn’t know enough about self publishing because I didn’t even put the book on Amazon.

Things didn’t click for me until I came across a blog post written by Steve Scott. This man is a machine and is making well over $45,000 USD PER MONTH.

After reading about what Steve was doing, I wanted to know more! I wanted to learn as much as I could about this space, because if you’re going to do something well, you need to learn as much as you can, in my opinion. So I looked at what Pat Flynn, Chris Ducker, Natalie Sisson and Tim Grahl were doing. I learned a lot!

Fast forward to July 2014 when I started my Kindle self publishing journey. I published my first Kindle book in September 2014 and since then, have published a further 5 books on Kindle and 5 on CreateSpace (paperbacks).

But, that’s enough about me! What I want to share with you is the success I’ve been having with launching books on Kindle at $0.99 rather than free and then raising the price, which is a common strategy.

The free strategy is simple:

  1. Get 5-10 reviews on your live book in Kindle, prior to your launch date

  2. When you upload your book in KDP, set the price around $6.99 – $9.99

  3. Set your KDP Select free days (up to 5 days), with the view of launching on a Sunday

  4. Submit your free book to free submission sites 2-3 days before launch

  5. Day 1-3 of launch, list your book daily on free Facebook groups, tell your friends and family and everyone else you know to download it!

  6. Day 4-5 of launch, monitor book rank in the free store, once it hits Top 100 (or as close to that as possible) and holds for a few hours, switch to paid, at $0.99

That’s pretty much the gist of it.

It’s important to have a comparison, so you know in your own mind which strategy you might choose to go for when you launch your Kindle book. Below is the first launch I did following the free strategy above.

Free Launch – No Gym Needed Book

My first ever Kindle book was written during the course I took in July by James Roper and Chandler Bolt, Self Publishing School. The book is called , No Gym Needed: Quick and Simple Workouts for Gals on the Go, and did amazingly well (by my standards), getting over 7,000 downloads during the 3 days it was free.

I just want to point something out here. Downloads refers to the number of books that were given away for free. They do not equate to sales. You don’t get paid for free downloads. Something to remember as you read on…

It reached #35 in the Top 100 Free Kindle Store and was a Best Seller in the two categories I had it listed in – Health & Fitness > Women’s Health and Self Help > Stress Management.

NGN 35 rank

Why does this even matter? If you’re book can reach the Top 100 in the Free Kindle Store, it bodes well for your book once it switches to paid. The key is to stop your promo (manually) once you’re ‘holding’ in the Top 100. During your free promo, your book will move up and down the ranks almost by the hour. Take screenshots as often as you can and monitor your book until you notice it start to move down – this is when you want to switch to paid.

NGN book 1 stats

No Gym Needed Metrics

Right now, this book is ranked #11,075 in the overall Paid Kindle Store, which means that on average, I’m making 1-10 sales per day using www.kdpcalculator.com.

By looking at the past 30 days, you can see that I’m actually making more than that.

NGN paid graph

You’ll notice a couple of spikes (red line), this is from putting the book on sale at $0.99 and also being featured in the Brazilian store by Amazon.

The blue line shows Prime and Kindle Unlimited access – which I get paid for as long as 10% of the first part of the book is read. This can equate for another $500 in income per month, or more.

So this probably seems like a great strategy – and it is.

But, the reason that I’m moving away from this strategy is for a few reasons that I’ll outline for you below.

Why I’m Ditching Free:

  1. Perceived Value – I noticed that people that bought my book were more engaged with the emails I sent following sign up for the freebie compared with those who accessed the book for free. I want to build a following, so want good engagement, not just people looking for free stuff.

  2. This is a Business – I want to recoup costs associated with self publishing a book as quickly as possible.

  3. Building an Author Platform – I want to provide value where possible – by launching at free, while my books can get into many more hands, it doesn’t mean that these same people will take action on what the books are delivering. I want to make a difference through my books. It comes back to perceived value…

Ok, that’s the free strategy covered. The only time this might be worthwhile is if you have absolutely no list at all and you are looking to build a following – then this would be a good option. But it wouldn’t be the option I’d use for any of your next books.

Now, let’s look at a strategy that has been super successful for me. It propelled me from earning $800 per month to $1,000+ per month from my Kindle books.

I’m going to share with you what I did and how you can follow these same steps to achieve the same results.

The only cavet is that I’m publishing books every month, which helps in the overall strategy. If you just launch one book, you may not experience the same results. Remember, this is a business for me, and it’s about consistency – Amazon has it’s own algorithms and part of that is giving more ‘weight’ to author’s who are consistenly publishing on a regular basis.

Ok, let’s jump straight into the juicy details!

Paid Launch – Side Hustle Blueprint Book

With Side Hustle Blueprint: How to Make an Extra $1000 in 30 Days Without Leaving Your Day Job, I wanted to try a paid launch. I wanted to test a few theories I’d read for myself.

These included launching a book at $0.99 for 3 weeks and then switching it to permafree (where your book is listed as permanently free on Amazon) for 2 months then switching it back to the full price.

And while on the surface this appeared to have a lot of merit, once I started down this path, someone sagely advised me that why would I switch to permafree and hurt my rankings when I could just play around with the pricing instead?

So following the advice given above, I switched tactics and this is the strategy I followed (amended from a few different sources):

  1. Soft launch book to my author list, asking for reviews in exchange for a free PDF copy

  2. Contacted my main newsletter list from Outsourced Freelancing Success with the same offer

  3. Ask reviewers to leave a live review on my book’s Amazon page on a specific date (allowed 7 days to read and review)

  4. Dropped book price to $0.99 and submitted the book to 99 cent promo sites (all free)

  5. Submitted book to a www.buckbooks.net promotion (free submission)

  6. Left book at $0.99 for 3 weeks

  7. Increased price to $2.99 and then $3.99 (within a week of each other)

Let’s delve into each of these steps more so you can try this for yourself.

Step 1 – Soft Launch to Author List

As part of my author platform, I’ve been collecting emails for my author list. I do this by placing a link to my author website (www.lisecartwright.com) at the front and back of each of my books.

People who visit that page are presented with the option to join my VIP list to get notifications of new books, discounts and promotions.

So part of step 1 is creating an opt-in for your author list. This could be a free book, audio book etc. Choose something that is relevant to your audience.

Once you have an author list, you can utilise them for your launches.

Here’s what I did (and what you can do too):

  1. 2 weeks prior to my ‘hard’ launch date, I sent an email to my author list. You can see a copy of this email here

  2. You’ll see from the email that I asked them if they’d like a free copy of my new book in exchange for a review (or they could pay for the book instead!)

  3. The caveat was that the review would have to be left on the day of the books ‘hard’ launch date, and that if they couldn’t commit to that, then they couldn’t get a free copy

I had 10 people respond to that email saying that they would be happy to read and review the book.

Step 2 – Get More Reviews

In addition to my author list, I also contacted my main newsletter list on www.outsourcedfreelancingsuccess.com with the same offer – an advanced copy of my new book (for free) in exchange for a review.

This only worked because the Side Hustle Blueprint book was of value to this list. If your book fits in well with any lists you have, then it makes sense to approach them. If it doesn’t, then don’t spam those lists – it’s a quick way to see your email autoresponder service provider close your account.

I also reached out to some Mastermind groups I belonged to and a couple of Facebook groups I belonged to, all with the same ask.

As with the author list, the requirement was to leave a review on a specific date.

There are a couple of variations you can do with this. You could have people leave reviews over a few days, so they weren’t all on the one day. I got people to do this with my second paid launch.

The point is that you need at least 10 reviews to let Amazon know that you’re book is worthwhile and that people are liking it.

Step 3 – Upload Book to KDP

Five days prior to your launch date, upload your book to KDP and set the price at your desired price point. Aim for between $2.99 – $9.99 so you’re earning 70% commission.

DO NOT upload the book any earlier. The reason? You only get featured on the “Hot New Releases” list for the first 30 days of your book going live – you want to make the most of those 30 days. Your 30 days starts from the day you hit publish in the KDP dashboard.

I typically price my books around the $3.99 price point. This is based on word count and number of pages. My books sit around the 25,000 word count which equates to about 100 pages on a Kindle.

If you’re book is bigger than that, you might consider listing at a higher price point.

Step 4 – Drop Price to $0.99

The 3-4 days before your ‘hard’ launch date, drop your books price to $0.99. Submit it to promotion sites that will notify their lists that you’re book is on sale.

The majority of these sites offer a free submission service, but there are paid options as well. Google “kindle promotion sites” and you’ll be presented with a number of options.

I submitted my book to over 15 99 cent promo sites. Keep in mind that a number of these sites require at least 3-7 days notification of a promotion. This is why you want to leave your book at $0.99 for a 3 week duration.

Step 5 – Use a Buck Books Promo

If you haven’t heard of Buck Books, you’re missing out, both as an author and a reader. I came across Buck Books as part of being a member of Pat Flynn’s Facebook group.

Buck Books has an email list that they email daily with 99 cent book (hence ‘Buck Books’) deals across every genre, from non-fiction to fiction.

As an author, you can get your book featured on one of these days for free. All you have to do is ensure that your book is listed at $0.99 when the promotion runs.

Buck Books is free to submit your book to (for now) and you can do that by visiting this page:

If you’re a reader, you can sign up to the email list here.

You’ll need to plan this promo for at least 7 days in advance of the actual date you want the promo to happen. It is getting more and more popular. The guys at Buck Books are great and will let you know if your proposed date is not doable and offer you other options.

Planning ahead is key.

Step 6 – 3 Weeks at $0.99

As I mentioned above, you want to leave your book at $0.99 for 3 weeks. The main reason for this is that you don’t want all the free promos happening all on the same day. You want to spread the dates around.

I had one week of being featured across the free submission sites and then the Buck Books promo the following week and then I also emailed my own lists the third week letting them know that the sale was coming to an end.

You can also pay for promotions too. I did a couple of these, costing $30 all up across the 3 sites I used.

Another promotional tool I like to use is called ‘Tweet Your Books’ and I used it during my free launch strategy. You can find these service at www.tweetyourbooks.com – I used the 1 day option.

Step 7 – Increase Price

Once your book has been sitting at $0.99 for 3 weeks and it’s climbed the Kindle store paid ranks, it’s time to increase the price.

I increased the price to $2.99 for one week and then increased it to $3.99.

Depending on your niche, this might be what you do. Or your book might be priced higher. Regardless, you should always increase from $0.99 to $2.99 and then increase the price further following that.

By doing this, you’ll ensure that your book stays in the Top 20 Best Sellers within the categories its listed in.

Ok, now that I’ve explained the steps, let’s look at the results of this paid launch and then compare it with the free launch.

Side Hustle Blueprint Results

During the 3 week period it was listed at $0.99 (including the Buck Books promo) I received 1,510 sales, with a gross profit of approx. $550 USD.

It reached #594 in the Top 100 Paid Kindle Store and was a Best Seller in the two categories I had it listed in – Business & Money > Finance and Education & Teaching > Adult & Continuing Education.

SHB 594 rank

I ended up changing the categories during my monthly maintenance checklist and it has been in the Top 5 Best Sellers in Education & Training > Adult & Continuing Education since it was published!

SHB category rank

Lets look at the metrics in comparison to the first and second launches:

NGN and SHB stats

I think the results speak for themselves. Not only did I sell more books, but the following 30 days I made over $1,000 with my Side Hustle Blueprint book. And the following 30 (December) are on track for the same, just from one book!

Right now the Side Hustle Blueprint book is ranked at #10,756 in the Paid Kindle Store and #1 in Adult & Continuing Education category. So based on the KDP Calculator, I should be getting 1-10 sales per day.

In fact, I’m doing far better than that, as you can see below:

SHB paid graph

The spikes all coincide with a promotion. The one around the 17/18 November was my birthday promotion and the one around 27/28 November was Black Friday/Thanksgiving.

I want to thank you for reading all the way to the end of this post! I know it’s a lot of information to take in, but I hope the takeaway is that you can make some serious money from Kindle and you can do it quicker if you launch at paid rather than free.

Swear to tell the truth: Why you need this class.

Hello Everyone, If you'd like to learn even more about writing characters who find themselves involved with law enforcement or sitting in a court room, sign up for Jody's September workshop. You can find more information and registration details here. Meanwhile, this post is a great starting point. Enjoy! ~ Jody Lebel Why do so many television shows and movies include courtroom scenes? Because people love drama.  They love to try to figure out who committed the crime.  They love the fight between right and wrong, the humor, the gut wrenching outcomes, and the struggle.   Courts tear lives apart and build new ones.  Readers pick sides and cheer the character on.  If you write the scene correctly, that is. Maybe you already have a novel, story, or other writing project that has a character involved with the court system, but oftentimes the law can accidentally drift into your plot.  A car could hit someone.  Your character might be subject to discrimination at work.  Doctors make a wrong diagnosis. Companies handling hazardous materials don’t dispose of them the right way and cause problems. When they get a divorce, your characters have to do it through the civil justice system. If a character dies, their will has to go through probate. Anything that can go wrong can end up in court.  When that happens do you know how to choreograph the scene?  Will your characters act appropriately, be in the right court, and say the right things?  Will the actions of the police ring true? Most people who work in the courts or in law enforcement can't read or watch stories about it because the factual errors are too frustrating. Gross misunderstanding of how the justice system works can take away from even the best plot, and take your readers out of the story.  A place we don’t want them to ever go. Getting it right will enhance your story. Getting it wrong may make the reader close your book and vow to never buy another written by you. This class is for all levels of writers.  I’ll walk you through the mystery that is ‘court’.  As we go along I encourage you to ask me questions about your WIP.  It’s important that you get that scene right and I want to help you do it.  Our month-long class will be split into 4 weeks of either 3 or 4 lessons per week, totaling 14 classes in all.  We will cover courtrooms, trials, different types of courts, the players, the lingo, writing legal scenes, sentencing, crime scene work, and cops.  I hope to see you there. Following sixteen years as a travel agent (more travel than money) Jody Lebel switched gears, returned to school and became a court reporter (more money than travel). She swapped jetting off to fun and exotic locations for reporting the cases of murderers, rapists, and thieves who are, by the way, almost never in a good mood.  Being assigned to the chief judge in Broward County exposed her to a wide spectrum of cases; from funny to tragic to bizarre to downright creepy.  She has reported everything from a homeless guy who had jumped the turnstile on the Metrorail and was now in jail for not having a quarter, to the Tamiami Strangler, a serial killer who murdered six women.I have participated as a panel member in multiple writing conferences on the subject of writing accurate courtroom, legal and police scenes.  On my last panel the speakers consisted of a judge, an attorney and myself as the court reporter. I revamped this in-person session to form an on-line class which allows me to expand the lessons, and assist writers to construct solid, realistic legal/police scenes.I am a criminal court stenographer by day, and have been working in the field since 1997 in both southern Florida and Massachusetts.

Who Wants to Write Fast and Clean?

Sallycolor~ By Sally J. Walker From October 6 through October 31, I will be teaching an on-line course for RWA’s Contemporary Romance Writers Chapter titled “Scene-by-Scene Writing.”  Though it truly is a fundamental approach to structuring the unfolding events or plot of any story, in the past I have also had experienced storytellers take the course to tweak and adjust their plotting process.  Why?  Such a microscopic examination of what NEEDS to happen results in a logical plot. The writer can see BOTH the forest AND the trees.  The elements are easily identifiable. When the structure is so simply broken down, the writing flows much faster. The imagination gets in the habit of seeing plot events in this simplistic manner until it becomes natural habit and not painful second-guessing. A recently in vogue term for one type of writer is “panster” for the seat-of-the-pants writer who never pre-plans either character or plot.  This is in contrast to the “planner” who does character profiles and plot outlines.  I have long been a “planner” although when I sit down to spew my daily page count I let my “panster” loose on the computer page. I have achieved a creative balance that makes me prolific enough to juggle several projects at one time (usually one novel and a couple of screenplays).  I can do this efficiently and satisfactorily because I have incorporated the “Scene-by-Scene” concepts.  They work. Because they work, I have created this course to teach HOW they work. Certainly some people have resisted this kind of nearly obsessive structure.  They claimed it confused and even subverted their creativity. Methinks these people were a bit resistive to change. The vast majority of people who have used the principles have repeatedly proclaimed that their stories easily flowing no matter how complex the plot gets! These risk-taking writers and their readers have ended up more satisfied . . . because the plot unfolds logically without extraneous side-trips.  The truly insightful, THINKING writer works in control and with purpose rather than randomly “hoping” the day’s writing will be logical.  Using this approach does not inhibit, but FREES the mind to possibility and choice. Another bonus is, when revising material spewed in an intense write-a-thon, the “holes” in logic are much easier to identify. When we are so close to our stories, rarely do we see the problems.  Our brain is ecstatic to just get words on paper.  Frequently, that brain will slide right by what is missing with the mental assumption it is there. Analyzing a Scene (and its Sequel-bridge to the next Scene . . . as well as the break-away to a subplot) slows the writer down to look for the progressive beats of logic.  Making the concepts part of your writing habits builds confidence and makes spewing a whole lot easier. So, if you want to learn how to write fast through logic and feel your creative energy exploding with exciting possibility, come on down and take “Scene-by-Scene Writing.” A Bit Extra This course comes just in time for NaNo.  How fortuitous.  As a bonus, at the course’s midpoint, I will provide participants a file of daily prompts titled “A Novel in 30 days” that can march you through NaNo!  So, this is a 2-for-1 deal!
Sally Walker’s published credits include literary, romance and western novels, a nonfiction essay collection, several creative writing textbooks, stage plays, poetry, and many magazine articles on the craft of writing, including staff contributions to two international film magazines for 10 years. With 30 screenplays written, one optioned in 2013, several under negotiation at three different studios and two novel-to-screenplay adaptations on her plate, Sally has a well-respected manager representing her in Hollywood. In addition to long time active memberships in such national writing organizations as RWA, WWA and SCBWI, she was president of the prestigious Nebraska Writers Guild 2007-2011. She keeps to a strenuous writing schedule and still has time to work as Editorial Director for The Fiction Works, supervising acquisitions and sub-contracted editors. Sally has taught writing seminars, both on-site and on-line, for over 25 years and is the facilitator for the weekly meetings of the Nebraska Writers Workshop in Ralston, NE.  For more information on her works and classes go to her website at http://www.sallyjwalker.com

Our Chapter Members’ #RWA14 Panels!

Check out our chapter members' panels at this week's RWA Nationals Conference!

Thursday 7/24, 8:30-9:30 a.m.

Juggling Two Careers: Strategies for Keeping All Your Balls in the Air (CAREER) Speakers: Jennifer Lohmann and Kelly Maher Two authors with day jobs as librarians share strategies for balancing two careers and multiple identities including career planning, increasing productivity, pen names, when or should two jobs intermingle, and what to do when they can’t be kept apart.  

Thursday 7/24, 11-12 p.m.

The Six Goals of Online Book Promotions (and the Tools to Achieve Them) (MARKETING) Speaker: Laura Kaye A best-selling author discusses a new perspective on online book promotion, offers concrete advice, and shares the approaches that allow authors to use social media more effectively.  

Thursday 7/24, 11-12 p.m.

Untie Your Tongue: How to Lead Successful Workshops and Author Events with Confidence (CAREER) Speakers: Asa Maria Bradley and Rebecca Zanetti Two authors pull on their vast experiences as college professors to show how to successfully plan and lead any workshop or author event. Learn how to make the event fun, for both the author and attendees, as well as how to enhance social media interactions with readers.  

Thursday 7/24, 3:15-4:15 p.m.

Brand Smart: Your Guide to Creating an Author Brand (MARKETING) Speaker: Kristin Wallace An author and 15-year veteran of the advertising industry will teach participants how to use marketing tools to develop an author brand, identify target readers, and develop a marketing plan to reach them.  

Thursday 7/24, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Paranormal Romances: Dead, Soft, or Rearing Up to Bite? (INDUSTRY) Speakers: Kate Douglas, Cynthia Eden, Justine Willis, and Rebecca Zanetti Join best-selling paranormal authors and a national account sales director for a frank discussion regarding the paranormal market. See what it takes to make your book stand out in a crowded market and how the different paranormal species are selling in different formats.  

Friday 7/25, 12:45-1:45 p.m.

The Hybrid Author: How to Stay Diversified (and Keep Up!) in Today’s Constantly Changing Market (CAREER) Speakers: Bella Andre, Jennifer L. Armentrout, Lauren Blakely, Laura Kaye, and Monica Murphy Best-selling authors who are published in a variety of formats/publishing models discuss and answer questions on the many options available to writers in today’s changing publishing market.  

Friday 7/25, 2-3 p.m.

A Global Affair (CAREER) Speakers: Donna Alward, Sun Chara, Jennifer Hayward, and Lynn Marie Hulsman Discover how to take charge of your product and launch your book onto the world marketplace and build name recognition, readership, and sales.  

Friday 7/25, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

A Tale of Four Houses: Lessons Learned on Divergent Paths to Success (CAREER) Speakers: Alyssa Alexander, Tracy Brogan, Kimberly Kincaid, and Jennifer McQuiston Join best-selling and award-winning authors for a discussion on the trials and tribulations of getting that book contract and what to expect during the first year of publication. Learn how four authors, each at a different publishing house, carved their own path and benefitted from each others’ experiences and knowledge.  

Saturday 7/26, 11-12 p.m.

Managing the Modern Romance Career (CAREER) Speakers: Jennifer L. Armentrout and Laura Kaye Two New York Times best-selling authors reveal how they manage their careers and protect their interests when working with multiple publishers, writing in more than one romantic subgenre, and publishing the frequent releases that readers expect.  

Saturday 7/26, 12:45-1:45 p.m.

Bifocals, Air Conditioning and Depends®: The Challenges and Benefits of Being a “Mature” Author (WRITER'S LIFE) Speaker: Nancy Fraser Explore the challenges and benefits of being a mature author in the sometimes youth-oriented world of romance publishing, including recognizing the pluses maturity brings to your work and the marketplace.  

Saturday 7/26, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Cooperative Marketing: Get More Bang for Your Buck with Less Work (MARKETING) Speakers: Robin Covington, Avery Flynn, and Kimberly Kincaid A panel of authors discusses how they work together to reach beyond their individual readerships, broaden their audience through social media, and get more for their advertising dollar.   Happy conference! And let us know what you learn!  

Quilting 101: Patchworking the Perfect Plot (Even If You’re A Pantser) Workshop

  Instructor: Suzanne Johnson When: October 7, 2013 - November 4, 2013 Cost: $20
  If you have any questions, please email them to RWAContemporaryRomance at gmail dot com.   Course Description Do storyboards, sticky notes, spreadsheets and index cards give you hives? Does your manuscript wander in circles--yet you’re afraid a detailed outline will suck the heart and soul out of your writing? All you need is a simple word-processing program to stitch together the perfect quilt of a plot to keep your novel on track and moving in the right direction--while still giving your muse room to play. We’ll use a six-step technique to plot a novel from start to finish, and give you a huge head-start on your first draft (and the dreaded synopsis). This will be a working course! Bring your best idea (the one that's been bubbling in your brain for six months) or a manuscript that's wandering in the desert, and we'll shape it up and get it moving. We’ll also be deconstructing a novel into its outline as part of this class, and I’ve chosen Jennifer Crusie's Bet Me. If you have a chance to read it before the class, it will make the deconstruction more familiar, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Over the course of the month, you'll put together the perfect quilt, er, novel. Classes will include: 1) Picking the Right Pattern. Just as a quilt uses small pieces that fit together to create a whole, a novel is created of the Big Idea--your overriding storyline--plus several Small Ideas, or subplots. 2) Choosing the Fabric. Your novel can have its pattern, but without the perfect fabrics, you won’t end up with a pretty quilt. In a novel, your characters are your fabrics. At this stage, you’ll decide who your dominant hero (or heroine) will be, identify the secondary lead character, and determine what roles your supporting cast will play. 3) Color Arrangement. Before beginning to stitch, the successful quilter decides how those squares of fabric will be placed to make the most effective use of the pattern. In our novels, this step involves identifying relationships―not just the relationship between a hero and heroine, but between all characters, and between each character and the Big Idea. 4) Basting. Here's where we really start to have fun. We'll choose the threads of our story through the relationships we've identified and start to think about how to put them together. Each relationship should have a story arc that progresses from start to finish. 5) Piecing the Quilt Top. We'll take each of our relationship arcs and rearrange them into a single plot arc. At the end of this stage, each person will have a rough sentence outline of a complete novel. This outline will also serve as an easy foundation to writing the dreaded synopsis. 6) Backing, Batting and Binding. A quilt top is beautiful, but unfinished. In this final lesson, participants will go back through their plot arc and begin to flesh out scenes. The "backing and binding" stage can be as simple or as detailed as the author wishes; those who develop a more detailed, fleshed-out plot arc will find themselves well along their way in creating a first draft of their novels.   About the Instructor Suzanne Johnson is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series with Tor Books. Royal Street and River Road were released in 2012, and Elysian Fields will release on August 13. Under the name Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series with Montlake Romance (Redemption, Absolution, Omega), and a new "paranormal romantic suspense" serial novel for Montlake, Storm Force, currently available for Kindle and available in print and audio June 18. A longtime New Orleans resident now living in Auburn, Alabama, Suzanne is also a veteran journalist with more than fifty national awards in writing and editing nonfiction. She is an active member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and is a member of the Georgia, Southern Magic, and Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapters of RWA.