Friday, August 13, 2010

Published Authors Day conference

     On Thursday I attended the RWAustralia's Published Author Day at the beginning of their annual conference, which this year was located at the Crown Plaza hotel in Coogee, Sydney.
My friend and fellow author Maggi Andersen and I travelled into Sydney together and left at 7:30am, hit the peak hour morning traffic and made it into the conference room with 15 minutes to spare at 9:45!
    After grabbing a coffee and a seat we settled down to listen to the first speaker, which should have been comedian Wendy Harmer, but she had got confused with venues and was running late. So the order of speakers was pushed up and New York agent at Spencer Hill, Jennifer Schober stepped in and gave a talk on Professionalism and Branding: how they can impact on your career development. She made a lot of good points about branding who you are as an author and that how you behave on social media's such as Twitter and facebook affects how you are seen as a professional, etc.

Photo of Karly Blakemore-Mowle is in the middle and Fiona Palmer is the right of the picture. I can't remember the name of the author on the left of the photo, sorry!


After Ms Schober, Dr John Barletta spoke about Maintaining Engagement and Flow with your Writing and Life, but I have to say I found his talk a little redundant, but I'm sure others enjoyed it. I am not a fan of psychology and think a lot of it is just common sense, but enough of that.
Then we finally had comedian Wendy Harmer in the room after a mad dash across the city to be with us. Wendy spoke about her books and made us all laugh with clever anecdotes on writing and life in general. She was very funny and I could have listened to her for a lot longer.
Once Wendy left us we had lunch, a buffet of salads and rolls and another much needed coffee. The weather was fine and we ate outside overlooking the ocean.
Catching up with friends I've emailed for years, putting faces to names was such fun and lunch went by very quickly.
The next speaker was Felicity Packard, she spoke about her role in writing about the true crimes for the TV show Underbelly for the 9 network. I found her talk very interesting.

Photo of Maggi Andersen and I'm dreadful but I can't remember this lady's name. Sorry!


Then we had a panel of Deb Dixon, author and owner of Belles Books publishing, Diane Moggy, Vice president at Harlequin and again agent Jennifer Schober. They each talked about what they required, the state of the industry and I was especially interested in Deb's talk about the rise of ebooks in the publishing world and how we, as authors, need to adjust and accept it. If large publishers like American publisher Dorchester can decide to go to ebook and POD methods and no longer release mass market, then that can happen to any publisher and we need to be prepared for changes.
After the panel we listened to Jennifer St George and her talk on; Working with the Media/Making Your Own News. That was interesting, too and I learnt a few things about marketing yourself as an author.
We then went outside again for afternoon tea, before returning to the Roundtable part. The large room was split into three smaller rooms and in each room the authors could go to discussions on either Epublishing, Single Title publishing, or Harlequin publishing.
  I went to the single titles discussion, headed by Berkley author Annie Gracie and enjoyed it very much, sitting in a large circle we all introduced ourselves and talked about balancing writing in our lives and the effects of being published, of promoting and getting on with the job of being an author in this difficult economic climate.


Photo is of me and lovely fellow Samhain author Caitlyn Nicholas.

By about 5:20pm, Maggi and I were in the car and heading for the long drive home through more traffic. I had a slight headache but I had found the day informative and very worthwhile. I'm so glad I attended, not just because I learned a few things but it is always great to spend time with people who understand what it is to be a writer, they know of the highs and lows, and meeting such special people gives us all the spur of encouragement to keep going and do our very best at writing the books we love.
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