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

 

GRODZINSKY_Surviving La Beastia_3D bookGRODZINSKY_Waiting 3D book_SMALL

 

 

 

 

About Sharron Grodzinsky

Author, blogger and professional seeker of new adventures. After spending many years in the healthcare field, I now devote my energies to writing. I've finished my first book, "Waiting on the Outside" (The story of my sons' journey to incarceration) and my second book, "Surviving La Bestia". (Two immigrant children make a perilous journey over two thousand miles trying to get to America.) Both are available on Amazon. Writing is not an easy task, but if you feel the absolute necessity to write, then you are a writer! I am writing my third book, "The Hanging Girl". I am also partnering with Jon Ponder, CEO of Hope for Prisoners, to bring his story, "I Am Hope", A story of transformation and hope to light. I hope to have both completed by the end of the year. A little ambitious I think, but if you don't aim for the sky you won't land there.
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