Saturday, May 26, 2012

DFWcon 2012 Review

I am back from a fun-filled weekend at DFWcon (a writer’s conference in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area). Last year was my first year to attend, so I was thrilled to return this year.

The night before the conference started, I was lucky enough to meet up with several people at the Tweet-n-Greet event. Obviously, everyone there uses the social media site, Twitter. It was so awesome meeting the people I had been chatting with! Janet did an amazing job setting this up!

The keynote speaker was James Rollins. I was lucky enough to sit in on one of his panels, which was ‘The Bestsellers Panel’. Jodi Thomas and Lori Wilde were also on this panel. They were candid and spoke honestly. I couldn’t have asked for more!

I also sat in on Brenna Smith’s ‘How to Network Effectively at a Conference’. This class taught the fine art of networking. Such as, if someone is alone, then approach them. If there are three or more… approach them. BUT… if two people are talking, then don’t approach them. They could be pitching their book or having a private convo.

Leann Harris taught the art of ‘Understanding Your Style of Writing’. Is your book driven by Plot, Character, or Theme? Great information and a fun quiz!

I’m going to get real here… Jodi Thomas’ workshop on ‘Sparking Creativity’ blew my mind. She was such a pleasure to listen to. Her stories had me laughing aloud. She also had us do a little exercise, which was a lot of fun.

Roni Loren taught a class on ‘Writing Love Scenes’. WOW! I loved this class and took about three pages worth of notes!

The Gong Show was great, as always. George (the voice) has a true talent for reading aloud! And it was interesting to see what the agents were or weren’t looking for in a query letter.

I ended the night at the Reception in the ballroom. This is a chance for everyone to mingle, network, and have a few drinks. There was also a silent auction this year, which I think was a nice touch. I won a stay at the Hyatt Regency Hotel - I LOVE this hotel!

Day two started with a bang. I took Jenny Martin’s ‘Finding and Strengthening Your Voice’ class. Again, this was a class where I took several pages worth of notes. She was a pleasure to listen to!

I then had a meeting with agent Laurie McLean. I won a contest through DFWcon where Laurie took my (dreaded) Query letter and reviewed it for me. She gave me SO much advice and help. Then she asked for a partial and full synopsis of my manuscript! I had to try so hard not to squeal out loud!!!

After getting my head off cloud nine, I went to another panel, which was ‘The Agent/Author Relationship’. This was the teams of: Rosemary Clement-Moore & Lucienne Diver, A. Lee Martinez and Sally Harding, and Jenny Martin and Sara Crowe. I loved watching the authors and their agents interact.

My next class was ‘The YA Hero’s Journey’ taught by Rosemary Clement-Moore. Or, as she said it should be called ‘The crazy way she plots her books’. I LOVED the graphs she used to show the phases a ‘hero’ travels on during their journey. Using her method, I was able to spot the ‘Herald’ of my own story! Interesting to see it apply to my own work!! J

The last class of the conference that I took was ‘Erotic Romance 101’ taught by Roni Loren. Again, I took so many notes in this one. Roni is very knowledgeable in this genre and had a ton of advice. I also picked up some reading suggestions (yay!)

The Gong Show this time around involved the reading of the First Page of a manuscript. Again, it was interesting to see what the agents liked or disliked.

I ended up leaving before the conference was over so that I could make the long trip home. (Which ended up taking four hours due to road construction!)

I just want to thank the entire DFWcon team for making this such a wonderful experience! And I am already counting down the days until next year’s conference!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

5 Things I Learned at DFWcon

I am gearing up for DFWcon, which is a writer’s conference in the Dallas/ Ft. Worth area. This will be the second time I have attended and I am very excited. Last year I was a little scared and intimidated to be around so many great writers, but at the end I was pleasantly shocked to find I had made many friends and I hadn’t made a fool of myself.

This year I am going into the conference with a smile on my face. Through Twitter (#DFWcon) I have met several people that are going and we are all meeting up. I am also participating in the Gong Show as well as a Pitch Session. (These are both things that I didn’t do last year due to fear)

I started thinking about the Writers out there who are going to the conference for the first time. Wow. They might be feeling like I did last year. So I came up with this:

The Top 5 Things I Learned Last Year

5. Bring cash- A lot of the vendors only accepted cash, plus it was great to have at the hotel bar ;)

4. Bring Plenty of Business Cards -Yeah, I was totally the girl last year who didn’t bring enough and had to resort to handing out little cards I made using the hotel’s computer and printer. Not exactly how I wanted to be remembered lol.

3. Bring a Notebook and Pen - You wouldn’t believe how many people I saw that didn’t have these two very important items. Pen and Paper go a long way ;)

2. A conference is not the appropriate time to test a new skin product. Sadly, I can say I found this out the hard way. I used a new face wash and had an allergic reaction to it. My face was red and splotchy… and it itched like crazy. Luckily, I was able to take the hotel shuttle and get some medicine. But… Lesson learned lol.

1. Don’t be afraid to Network - Everyone there is in the same boat as you. They are a little nervous or shy or even scared. But the most important thing is they are all Writers. And once you start talking to them, it is like opening a floodgate and you find there are people who truly “GET” writing.


I hope this list helps and I look forward to seeing old friends and making new ones at DFWcon 2012!