Top 10 takeaways from the Florida Writers Conference

In my last post I summarized the workshops I attended at the Florida Writers Conference to give you a glimpse at what was included at the event, to help you decide whether a writers conference is for you.Gold top 10 winner

Today I’m going to present my 10 takeaways from the conference:

  1. Figure out what works best for you as a writer
  • Determine your best time & environment for writing
  • Pick a genre you love (& read a lot), instead of following a hot trend/fad
  • Decide whether you are willing/able to do all the marketing for your book (indie might be the way to go) or if you need a team behind you (traditional publishing)

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  1. Determine your audience
  • Who are your readers? (age, gender, interests, hobbies…)
  • What are problems/issues they are interested in?
  • What do readers in your genre expect and what do they want to read right now?
  • Where (physically and online) can you find and target your readers?

 

  1. Make your pitch/book blurb attention grabbing
  • For a pitch state genre, word count and title of your novel first
  • Keep it short
  • Start with the hook
  • End with a sentence that makes your audience wonder what happens next

 

  1. Writing and marketing are not actions but processes
  • Always keep on writing: if you are stuck in a project, can’t find literary agents, or your book isn’t selling online – put it aside for a few months and begin a new project in the meantime
  • Marketing happens before, during and after book launch (it should continue for as long as your book is on the market)

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  1. Believability
  • Whether you are writing a fight scene or a dialogue between teenagers, make it realistic
  • Whenever possible research through observation, either in real life or through video the people/actions you are writing about

 

  1. Read out loud
  • The quickest way to check whether your dialogue is stilted, your descriptions too long or a scene confusing, is to read it out loud to yourself

 

  1. Villains do more than thwarting the hero
  • Make your villain a 3D character
  • Give your villain a backstory
  • Ask how the villain contrasts and compliments the protagonist

 

  1. Backstory – know it all, don’t include alliceberg
  • Know 100% of your character’s backstory, but reveal less than 40%
  • Is it necessary to give reader this information?
  • Is it necessary to give reader this information right now?
  • Is your backstory slowing down your plot?

 

  1. Verbs, nouns and adjective
  • Use strong and descriptive verbs and nouns
  • Use adjectives sparingly

 

  1. Get feedback
  • Before publishing get beta readers/critique partners (10-20 is a good range)
  • Hire a freelance editor (content vs. grammar editor)

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I hope these takeaways will help you in writing, editing and reaching your goal of successful publishing.

 

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