Posts Tagged ‘writing conferences’

Just last week, I had to write another author bio. Though I reluctantly did so, I hate writing an author biography for a publication, website, con booklet, etc. Either I feel like I’m “bragging,” under-selling myself, or selecting the wrong things to include.

The simpler is better wisdom doesn’t always apply. Sometimes, if your bio is too simple, you appear unprofessional or inexperienced when compared to other writers included in an anthology, magazine, con directory of panel participants, or writers’ conference.

Then again, you don’t want to include every place you’ve been published, every award you’ve ever won, and every education tidbit. Judicious selection is best–so what’s that?

Depending on the location where your bio is to appear, you select those professional achievements which most closely align with the interests of the readers or attendees. What do I mean?

When I have a story appearing in a science fiction anthology, I don’t typically mention I’ve been published in “Faerie Magazine” and other fantasy publications or Killing It Softly 2 or other horror publications. Instead, I focus on writing which is science fiction in nature, listing Lost Signals of the Terran Republic, Outposts of Beyond,  Defending the Future: Dogs of War, or other places which have published my science fiction stories.

This means, I have a science fiction bio, a fantasy bio, and a horror bio–but wait, there’s more! A writing conference bio needs to reflect your experience and expertise in the subjects of the panels or workshops you’re presenting. Plus, it needs to lure an audience into attending.

For more on writing multiple bios, here’s the link to an informative post from author friend, Steven Southard: Tailoring Your Author Bio.

Thanks for reading, and keep on writing! – Vonnie

Read Full Post »

152 “A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” – Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon’s statement is true for all of us (regardless of gender). Opportunity does come knocking occasionally, and sometimes chances for success appear serendipitously in our inboxes, but more likely we must create our opportunities.

As a writer, I can sit back and wait for editors of anthologies to ask for my stories – which is lovely when it happens, but still a rare privilege for me. Or I can research markets, locate opportunities, and either write a new story for an antho or check my files for an appropriately themed piece of fiction to send.

I can check my email and phone messages for bloggers and reporters begging for an interview or a feature, or I can get online and look for blogs which might be a good fit for me and my book/books. Then, I can write a query letter and go through the process to “land” an interview, guest blog slot, or feature.

I can sit on my sofa and wait for a bookstore manager to contact me for a book signing, or I call the bookstore, find when the manager has a moment to chat, stop by, and see if a book signing (whether individual or with a group of other authors) is something we can make happen.

I can slump in an armchair and moan because lots of writing conference organizers aren’t calling me to appear and lead workshops, or I can contact the people in charge of writing conferences and ask about the process for presenting a program at their next conference.

I can sigh loudly and lean my chin on my hand while gazing out the window wondering why more science-fiction/fantasy cons are not inviting me to be a panelist or I can find out who is inviting guest authors/editors to various sf/f/h cons and learn what I have to do to get an invite.

You get the idea. I need to make opportunities, not wait for that lucky break. And though I’ve written this post from a writer’s point of view, it applies to most goals which require someone to open a door for you.

So readers, think about how you can make opportunities to reach your goals. And though I wish you good luck — don’t rely on luck, rely on yourself and hard work!

(And if you are interested in interviewing me, featuring me or my books, or having me post a guest post on your blog – let me know. If you are a conference or con organizer and want me to participate – contact me. Just practicing what I preach, and trying to make my own opportunities!) 🙂

Read Full Post »

I’m always on the look out for creative book marketing ideas.

To begin with, I encourage other authors to build and maintain an author’s platform. (And I’m constantly trying to maintain mine). Included in the building blocks of a platform should be an Author’s Facebook page, a Twitter account, a blog/website, and an Author’s Goodreads page. There are lots of other items to add – including an Amazon Author’s Page/Bio, Pinterest page, and a bio page (which includes your books) on organizational pages (like the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, your state Arts Council, etc.)

Then, I encourage other authors to participate in signings, readings, writing conferences, and other events where you not only get to promote yourself and market your books, but have an opportunity to engage the reading public. Readers really do like to meet and talk to authors! I try to participate in 6 to 10 events per year.

Free book promos and joint author promotions are other ideas which have worked. Here’s an interesting article from “She Writes,” Creative Marketing Ideas That Pay Off, by Tracy Slater.

Happy reading!

Read Full Post »

Thanks to speculative author, Jennifer Allis Provost, for stopping by and urging writers to step away from their computers and get out.

Yes, You Probably Do Need to Get Out More by Jennifer Allis Provost

Jennifer Allis Provost “As writers scan the internet for writing-related advice, they invariably come across the following, in one form or another: You need to get out there.

Writing is, by its very nature, a solitary endeavor. Yes, there are critique groups and beta readers and book clubs, but writing itself only takes one person. Not only is it easy to get lost in your own words, once your masterpiece is complete you need to sell it. And, if you have no publishing-related contacts, that is going to be pretty tough.

So, what’s a writer to do? How do you meet successful agents and authors and editors? How can you get your business cards in the hands of people that matter?

A good place to start is writing conferences. They typically offer craft workshops, discussions led by well-known authors, and maybe even pitch sessions. They are a great place to meet people, learn what’s happening in the industry, and get loads of advice.

Since I write speculative fiction, I forgo most writing conferences and attend genre conventions. Easter Weekend found me at Smith College’s Conbust, a smaller con close to home. I was on four panels: Fairies, The Publishing Industry, Urban Fantasy, and How to Get Published.

All of the panels went well, but the most extraordinary thing happened during the Publishing Industry panel. I was crashed by Bruce Coville and Tamora Pierce.

Bruce Coville and Tamora fricken Pierce!

They were concerned that I had to run the panel all by my lonesome, and offered their assistance. Not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I quickly made room and we had a rollicking good discussion. Afterward, Tamora Pierce took one of my cards.

Tamora Pierce took one of my cards!

Jennifer Allis Provost Copper Girl So, the moral of the story is this: yes, you do need to get out there! If I wasn’t in the habit of attending conventions, I never would have had the opportunity to meet two such well-known authors, or give either of them my card. Will anything come of Ms. Pierce having my info. Probably not. But, she has it, and that’s got to count for something.”

Jennifer Allis Provost is a native New Englander who lives in a sprawling colonial along with her beautiful and precocious twins, a dog, a parrot (maroon bellied conure, to be exact), two cats, and a wonderful husband who never forgets to buy ice cream. As a child, she read anything and everything she could get her hands on, including a set of encyclopedias, but fantasy was always her favorite. She spends her days drinking vast amounts of coffee, arguing with her computer, and avoiding any and all domestic behavior.

Her latest release, COPPER GIRL, is due out from Spence City on June 25, 2013. Learn more about her, and her upcoming releases, here: http://jenniferallisprovost.com/Home_Page.html and here: http://jenniferallisprovost.blogspot.com/

Thanks again to Jennifer Allis Provost for her guest post. Watch Whimsical Words for more guests, blogs from me, and Readers & Writers Recipes. Have a wonderful day! – Vonnie

Read Full Post »