NOTES FROM LAS VEGAS WRITERS CONFERENCE 2018

My notes from the Las Vegas Writers conference April 2018. It was well worth the money, particularly if you utilize early sign up for a discount. The speakers were professional, informative and interesting. It was a valuable experience for me. It’s long, but well worth reading through. 

Las Vegas Writers Conference 2018

Held at the Tuscany Hotel, in the conference rooms. Included three meals a day, free pitches, (sign up ahead of time) a raffle and a free Blue Pencil offering. Head Shots were also offered for a fee.

There was an additional Sunday session, featuring Jane Friedman, for an additional price. Lunch included. This was well worth the money. 

Choices of four sessions per one hour time slot.

The ones I attended:

  • How to get the most out of the conference. (Good for newcomers)

  • How to Analyze and Adjust your Social Media.

  • Be active on all networks (Google, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Keep your URL’s as similar as possible
  • Link back to your author webpage
  • Check to make sure your bios are up to date
  • Check to see if you have optimizer your SEO (YOAST for WordPress)
  • On your website have a call to action, sign up for email, Link to your book
  • Check your analytics
  • Become an Amazon affiliate
  • Essential Edits to Being a Best Seller

  • Have a unique outlook
  • Hero stays on a tightrope
  • Must solve obstacles
  • Have him or her question themselves, God, society
  • Use setting as a character
  • Use three of five senses in every chapter
  • Keep plot moving with action and change
  • Don’t put backstory in first few chapters
  • Keep people moving – not just talking to each other
  • Include a hook and heart
  • Use a dramatic question in the beginning
  • Chapter one and the ending should mirror each other. (problem and solution)
  • Make ending payoff at different levels (Emotional, physical, soul and heart)
  • Publishing by the Numbers

  • Basic information about how publishers work and how you receive your share
  • New Ways to Query and Pitch

  • Be brief
  • Research where to send it to the correct place
  • Follow the guidelines
  • Add: Genre, any prior publications, research, why book is different
  • Don’t give the end away
  • Look at first sentences of book descriptions on Amazon
  • Give comparison titles
  • Include your platform
  • Focus on the characters
  • You can find pitch offers on Twitter
  • Story Structure

  • A brief outline of how to structure a story. Mostly used a diagram.
  • Give reader someone to care about
  • Have a call to action or a need
  • Send character out for action
  • Search for solution
  • Find the answer
  • Take charge to solve
  • In Service of a Story

  • Three editors share how and why they picked projects
  • They all receive 99% of their books from agents
  • Usual time frame from acquisition to publishing is one year
  • Sometimes change title or cover
  • Usually need portions of book revised
  • Typical advance: $10,000 to $500,000
  • Usually know from the first few pages if they like it
  • Dynamic Dialogue

  • Character is revealed by what they say and don’t say
  • Use self-effacing dialogue
  • Drop tag lines. Use action of character
  • Use power verbs
  • Internal dialogue must be something reader might not know or be a surprise
  • Use action Not: He raised the gun. But: She said, “put the gun down.”
  • Let characters state hopes and fears
  • Use subtext – different meaning to what was said
  • Use foreshadowing
  • Writing High Concept

  • It’s inventive, literary, profound
  • Tools for Revision

  • Look for where you can improve manuscript
  • Have a plot and timeline checklist
  • Make sure there is a hook at the end of each chapter
  • Protagonist has a clear goal or goals
  • Inciting incident at page 30-50
  • Have an emotional and external conflict
  • Make sure stakes and obstacles are clear
  • Have a distinct turning point. When do they win?
  • The Art of Revision

  • Read out oud
  • Editors are usually right when they suggest revision
  • Examine your time line
  • Check facts
  • Make sure you enhance and advance
  • Use word search to find overused words (Prowriter or another tool)
  • Voice and tone must be consistent
  • Cut anything not essential to plot
  • Get to the end, then revise
  • Have a good Beta Reader
  • Read your entire book in one or two settings
  • Is there action and does it follow the plot?
  • Is the end satisfying?
  • Driving Amazon Sales with Keywords and other tips

  • Book should have the ability to “look inside”
  • Is it available through Amazon Prime?
  • Is your author name in blue? If so, it takes reader to your author page
  • Utilize Author Central
  • Post videos. Raises your visibility
  • If you click on your book, it should take you to the description
  • Make sure all reviews are posted
  • “From the Author” is where you can put keywords, add hot phrases and similar author names or books. Adds to searchability
  • Keywords are not just phrases, but authors, book titles, news stories
  • You will need 3,00 keywords to start. Put them in an Excel spreadsheet
  • Where to put them
  • Book Description
  • Author Bio
  • Author Central Page
  • Blogs
  • Reviews – get reviewer to put in their review
  • You can buy adds
  • Start with a 50 cent per click bid
  • Set up for 36-48 hours
  • Run three campaigns at a time. At least 1,00 keywords per campaign
  • Check which keywords worked
  • Then run fourth campaign using the 50 keywords that worked best plus another 1,000
  • Run fourth campaign 3-4 days non-fiction weekdays, fiction weekends
  • What are Bookstores and Libraries Looking For?

  • Information on how they chose books to buy. Purchased through distributors and wholesalers
  • The Art of Interviewing

  • Use Hindenburg App or Zoom recorder
  • Get person to open up by sharing about yourself
  • Use Excel spreadsheet to document: Date, Dictation points, topic
  • Creating Dynamic Characters

  • Have characters who are opposites
  • Character is built by how they deal with obstacles
  • Write your character’s bio
  • Attributes of character must be justified (real)
  • Jane Friedman’s Class: The Business of Being A Writer

  • Get influencers to talk about your work
  • Use Mail Chimp for email list
  • Review other’s books to gain authors as fans
  • Get reviews on Goodreads: Leslie A. Lindsay = top 100 reviewer
  • Have a website
  • Maintain an email list
  • Have consistent engagement – blog
  • Purchase your domain name
  • Be sure all your information is above the “fold” on your website
  • Put your book covers above the “fold” on website
  • Create a tag line for yourself: About you not your book
  • Have a dedicated page for each book
  • Create links to where they can be purchased
  • Bio page must be in third person
  • Use widget sections
  • Large type in headers
  • One pop-up at the most on website
  • Don’t use sliding pages: people hate them
  • Use Google Analytics to monitor your traffic and presence
  • On each page have pointers to other pages
  • Check your SEO: Make sure your name comes up if you google it
  • Check questions people ask and word they look for to optimize keywords
  • Be on all social media, but concentrate on the ones that provide traffic for you
  • Be consistent across all your media and bios
  • Avoid, whining, direct sales pitches, automated posts, posting junk or promo stuff
  • Put your book on Pintrest
  • Use a newsletter if you have time
  • Write when you have time, then schedule for public
  • When launching your book send out email blast
  • People remember when you use humor or make them smile
  • Best practice for email signup is double opt-in. sign up then they have to get email to confirm
  • Always thank people for signing up
  • Good blogs have: lists, bullets, headlines, photos

 

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TheNextBigWriter.com

I’m still working on my thriller, but it is coming along a little slower than I would like. The good news is, I think it’s better than I expected at this point in time. I know that sounds negative, but because I joined thenextbigwriter.com I have had such great editing from other members, I’m way ahead in my first drafts.

The members are helpful and make great suggestions. I don’t always use them all, as sometimes I fell like my version is better. They do correct grammar at times, but most stick to suggestions for sentence structure, flow, plot, character development, theme and how interesting the story is. Since my manuscript,  “The Hanging Girl” is a mystery/thriller, I’ve received several suggestions on how to make it more exciting and create tension.

The site is free to join, but to fully participate you pay a small amount monthly or an annual fee of I believe $69.00. There are different groups within the main group, so if you are writing a YA novel or non-fiction or anything else, you can join a group just for that genre. I think it’s a valuable ally to have.

Cheers

Sharron

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Working on a New Book!

In-between traveling with my husband, I have finally found the time to begin a new novel. This one will  surprise you …it is a thriller! It won’t be finished until next year, but I will keep you updated on my progress. You’ll love my new character, Sergeant Matt Monahan from the Coronado Police Department.

Not much usually happens on Coronado Island, except petty theft and drunk driving. But, on a peaceful Sunday morning in the fall,  all that changes when Matt encounters a dead girl whose boyfriend is a former Navy Seal.

More to come……

In the meantime, if you haven’t already read my first two books, you can find them on Amazon.

Surviving La Bestia: Chronicles the terrible dangers Javier Salazar and his little sister, Ana, encounter as they escape to America from drug torn Honduras.

Waiting on the Outside: The story of my son’s journey to prison and a white supremacist gang.

 

 

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PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW!

Just a reminder for those of you out there who have already read my new book, and I know there are a lot of you. Please leave a review on Amazon. Just got to near the bottom of the page for the book, under customer reviews, and you will see a yellow tab that says write a customer review. Click on that tab and it will direct you to write your review. I would appreciate it!

GRODZINSKY_Surviving La Beastia_3D book

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Giveaway Complete

Congratulations to the ten winners of my new book, Surviving La Bestia.  Thanks to all those almost 200 readers who entered the giveaway!  I appreciate it.

I will be hosting another giveaway on Goodreads in the near future and will be letting you all now when that will happen. This story about Javier Salazar’s and his little sister’s journey from Honduras through Mexico riding La Bestia is one I hope you won’t forget. In the meantime, if you want to purchase the book go to:

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Only Seven More Days to Enter Amazon Contest for a Free Kindle Book

Only seven more days to enter the Amazon contest to win a free kindle version of my latest book Surviving La Bestia. The contest ends July 30, so get your entries in today. Just follow this link:

LINK: See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Surviving La Bestia (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/9b7b207cfe100ed8 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Jul 30, 2017 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

GRODZINSKY_Surviving La Beastia_3D book

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Surviving La Bestia Giveaway Contest

My latest book and first novel, SURVIVING LA BESTIA, is now available at Amazon. I am running a free giveaway for a short time, so if you want a chance for a free copy, just go to Amazon and enter the giveaway contest through July.  PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW! I would very much appreciate it.

LINK: See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Surviving La Bestia (Kindle Edition). https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/9b7b207cfe100ed8 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Jul 30, 2017 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

Javier Salazar and his little sister, Ana, leave their barrio in Honduras and set out on a perilous journey to reach their mother in America. Along the way they befriend other migrants, endure unbelievable hardships and danger, and ride La Bestia, the Death Train through Mexico. To see if they survive, please go to the “Buy on Amazon” link above!

GRODZINSKY_Surviving La Beastia_3D book

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Surviving La Bestia

Follow the link below to read the first chapter of my new book, Surviving La Bestia, before it is published! Enjoy!

http://www.chapterbuzz.com/op2myst/432/surviving-la-bestia-by-sharron-grodzinsky/the-barrio

Here is a brief summary of the plot.

With nowhere to run from the Mara Salvatrucha gang in Honduras, Javier Salazar and his little sister, Ana, set out on a perilous journey to join their mother in America. Along their journey, they endure incredible hardships and dangers, and wonder if they will ever make it across the border. They develop close friendships with other migrants, and encounter gang members who care nothing for the lives of those traveling through their country, except to rob, rape, and extort them. Traveling on La Bestia, the train of death, they quickly learn how treacherous riding the train is. It is a hazardous journey, and one that many do not complete. Javier and Ana risk everything, including their lives, to reach the promised land.

 

 

 

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SOLITARY WORDS

Just published! SOLITARY WORDS: REFLECTIONS FROM INSIDE by Brett McKeehan I’m excited to let you know Brett’s book has finally been published and is available on Amazon. It was a lot of…

Source: SOLITARY WORDS

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Solitary Words : Reflections from Inside

Solitary Words : Reflections from Inside, a book of poetry and art by Brett McKeehan will be out soon. I am just finishing compiling the art and poetry so that I can send it to Create Space. I will…

Source: Solitary Words : Reflections from Inside

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