A huge congrats to Dorchester’s 2010 Rita finalists!  In no particular order:

    

 

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I was fortunate enough to be with Elisabeth Naughton in Portland, OR,  for the annual Public Libraries Assoc. conference when she got the announcement that STOLEN FURY had double finaled for Best First Book and Romantic Suspense.  We had a fantastic time celebrating.

I also had the pleasure of being on a panel about chick lit and women’s fiction with Susan Wiggs (another double Rita finalist!), Jane Porter (also a Rita finalist!), Beth Kendrick and super-librarian Joyce Saricks.  Teresa Bergen has a nice recap of the panel–include how chick lit has become a dirty word among some houses and how it’s evolved for others.  It might just not be as dead as you think.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to to go to Nationals this year, but if I were going to be there, here are the panels I wouldn’t miss and why:

  • The Google Book Settlement – Jan Constantine, General Council of the Authors Guild.  The Google thing (as I technically like to call it) is very confusing, changing every day, and will impact a lot of people.  It’s vital to understand how it affects you and what rights you have. Thurs., 2-3 p.m.
  • What Not to Write – author Eloisa James and Avon editor Carrie Ferron. This is basically a trend session, and those are always interesting.  However, they also need to be taken with a grain of salt and the knowledge that what’s a taboo at one house could be perfectly acceptable at another. Thurs., 2-3 p.m.
  • How to Use Networking without Becoming a User – Tanya Michna.  I don’t know the presenter, but the topic is certainly eye-catching. So much of promotion and even selling can be about who you know or someone putting in a good word for you. But how do you reach out to people without seeming needy? Thurs., 3:15-4:15
  • Straight Talk, Librarians to Writers – John Charles, Susan Gibberman, and Deborah Schneider.  The library market is vital.  These longtime champions of romance in libraries will help you make the most of the market – going over what libraries can do for you, what you can do for them, and most especially how to deal with librarians who might not be so inclined to feature romance. Fri., 8:30-9:30 a.m.
  • Writing the Hot Historical – agent Lucienne Diver, Janet Mullany, Pam Rosenthal.  I want hot, emotionally complex historicals.  But with humor too–see Neurotica below. Write them and send them to me.  Fri., 8:30-9:30 a.m.
  • Online  Promotion – Lori Foster, Jenna Petersen, Michelle Buonfiglio, Danielle Jackson.  These ladies are the experts – from both sides of field, both authors and reviewers.  Fri., 11-noon
  • Neurotica: How adding humor can jumpstart your career like crazy – author Emily Bryan.  No matter what your writing style, you always need a touch of humor.  And Emily is a master.  She knows how to really hook readers with that first line, too.  Fri., 2-3 p.m.
  • Learn to Rewrite – author Anna DeStefano.  Every author is going to have her own process when it comes to edits and rewrites. But if you struggle with revisions, having some extra tips never hurts. Because an author who can’t revise or refuses to rewrite won’t stay published long.  Sat., 8:30-9:30 a.m.
  • Make it Happen: 10 tips to breaking in or breaking back in – authors Christie Craig and Faye Hughes. So many authors are in this place.  I think the biggest key is going to be persistence.  But that’s only one.  Christie and Faye have nine more.  Sat., 8:30-9:30 a.m.
  • Anatomy of a Bestseller – editor Chris Keeslar, authors Angie Fox and C.L. Wilson. This was originally my proposal, so of course I think everyone should go. 😉  Angie Fox and C.L. Wilson both hit the national bestseller lists with debuts. Being the rational, scientifically minded person that I am, I wondered what traits the books might share that could have helped them sell so well without any kind of name recognition. This panel will discuss some of their commonalities as well as specific efforts from the authors and publisher.  Sat., 11-noon
  • How to Catch Flies: Professionalism and choosing your business reputation – agent Laura Bradford, Jennifer Schober. There are a few authors I’d met at various conferences and without even reading a word, I thought I’d like to work with them.  They seemed pleasant, professional, well-organized, and promotional minded. This panel will give you an idea of how to project that  image. Sat., 12:45-1:45
  • The Billionaire Tycoon’s Secret Promotional Baby: Making the Most of Online Marketing – authors Carrie Lofty, Ann Aguirre, Barbara Carridad Ferrer; Smart Bitches’ Sarah Wendell; DearAuthor’s Jane Litte. Though there might be some overlap from the other Online Promotions panel, with publishers not having as many ad dollars, online promo is more important than ever and having numerous strategies at your disposal is essential. 
  • Why Publishing is Making You Crazy and What You Can Do About It: the Tao of publishing – agent Steve Axelrod, author Julie Anne Long. Learn what you can control and what you can’t in the business and focus on what matters most.  There’s so much author anxiety out there right now that this is a fantastic reminder of what to let go of and how to do it. Sat., 2-3 p.m.
  • Dorchester Spotlight Editor Chris Keelsar presents what Dorchester does, what we’re looking for (hint: dragons), what’s next, and some exciting new projects and opportunities.  Bring your questions!  Sat., 2-3