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Wait. What Now? Bouchercon.

Bouchercon 2012 is coming to Cleveland, Ohio!

Wait. What is Bouchercon you ask?

Bouchercon is the world mystery convention and has been taking place annually since 1970. It is open to anyone and is a place for fans, authors and professionals to gather and celebrate their love of the mystery genre. It is named for a famed mystery critic Anthony Boucher. During the convention there are panels and discussions and interviews with authors and people from the mystery community covering all parts of the genre. There are signing events for people to meet their favorite authors face-to-face and get books signed.

Imagine my thrill to find that after 42 years of never once coming to Ohio, Bouchercon 2012 is coming to Cleveland only an hour away from me! This is a HUGE thrill for a bunch of reasons.

1. Death by Chocolate (my debut novel) releases in March which means I can attend as an author!

  • and I can do book signings!
  • and maybe, perhaps, if the cookie crumbles my way…be on a panel!
  • or used somehow in promotion of the event!

2. I get to meet with and learn from some of the most amazing mystery and thriller writers today!

3. I hope to make friends and network in ways that last. Like every other profession, writing often comes back to who you know, who you helped, and the impression you made.

Not everyone reading this post is lucky enough to have a national convention show up on their doorstep, but everyone has some kind of writing conference, retreat or guild close enough to drive to…I think. With a little preparation and determination you can get out there and meet some amazing writers, editors, agents, and aspirings too. I hope you’ll take the time to make it happen this year.

Start by lifting your chin the next time you tell someone you’re a writer. It’s a wonderful, challenging crazy calling. Making friends in the “know” will help :)

Preparing Your Toolbox

Every writer needs a toolbox. At the COFW conference earlier this month, the toolbox was discussed by a panel of best selling authors. Are you thinking “What do I need a toolbox for?” Well, all writers need a toolbox. Guest blogging is one place this will come in handy right away. If you aren’t already guest blogging, you should think about it. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t published YET. Guest blogging is a great way to get more comfortable talking about writing and it adds to your web presence too. We all need more friends on this side of the manuscript. :)

If you are published or have signed a contract, you will need the same few items again and again. No matter where you are on your writing journey, a toolbox is handy dandy writing tool.

Looking for or rewriting a bio every time you post somewhere new stinks. It’s the reason we have email signatures. No one wants to write it over and over and over. Make a folder on your computer called ToolBox and put in your tools. W

What goes in your toolbox?

1. TWO bios. You need a short one like you use on your twitter profile- a tag line of sorts, and a longer one. Samples:

  • I am a mother of three, wife to a sane person and Ring Master at the Lindsey Circus. Most days you’ll find me online, amped up on caffeine & wielding a book.
  • As an only child I always had plenty of time to people watch and make things up. When I didn’t think I could make a living at the latter, my love of people led me to a BA in Psychology instead. A few years and three kids later, I discovered the thrill of writing. Writing lets me harness my seemingly endless supply of energy and enthusiasm and create something of value in the wake.  My sweet romance novella Bloom will launch the Turquoise Morning Press’s new Honey Creek line in Jan 2012. I’ve contracted three novellas for my Seeds of Love series with TMP and will be planting those seeds throughout 2012. My humorous women’s fiction Death by Chocolate will be available for download December 2011, and it hits shelves in April 2012 as the first in my Killer Confections Saga! I blog about books and writing at http://blog.juliealindsey.com and Tweet @JulieALindsey Say “Hi!”

2.  If you have a blog or website or links to other ways people can get to know you better, put those in a nice little list or paragraph and save them in your toolbox.

3. Your pitch blurbs. Pitches are like your query letter. Pull out a strong  paragraph describing what you’ve written. Title, genre, and a paragraph like you’d put on the back cover – of you don’t already have a cover. If you do, then save that.

4. Keep all your contact information together too. Its a big time saver to have the list ready to copy and paste. Save it in your toolbox.

5. Keep a list of your awards or writing credits. You never know when you might be asked about these or who would be interested in knowing. Make a list and keep them in your toolbox. For example, I won the 2010 Alien Vampire Bunny Contest Scott Eagan has every year. I wouldn’t list that on my submissions normally, BUT in the event I needed to contact him, this would be of interest to him. It’s a familiarity issue. He knows I’m not a cold call. I’m someone familiar with him and his work and I’ve even participated in his events in the past. So, keeping a ready list for reference is a great time saver. Add it to your toolbox.

A toolbox is a great time saver. I highly recommend you put one together now and then find ways to use it. Guest post. Participate in Wow! Women on Writing’s Friday Speak Out, or features like it. Contact online magazines. Get in the game and don’t forget your toolbox :)

Preparing to Nano – I Got A PLAN

This is my first attempt at NaNoWriMo and I’m already a Nano rebel. Yeah. I look like a rebel. No shock there LOL. For those who have asked how I’m preparing for the mad dash to 50K, I am sharing my feeble plan :)

1. I decided what I will write about. For me, it makes the most sense to complete a WIP. No that’s NOT the traditional NaNo thing to do – hence the rebel part. BUT I owe my publisher a sequel by May 1st. I have about 16K now, but have been sidetracked and unfocused. NaNoing 50K of the sequel will help me get almost finished up and then I have time to polish, refresh, rework and mold it into fabulousness. Please stop eye rolling. It will be! LOL

2. I know I like short chapters with a bit of a cliff hanger or intrigue at the end of each when I write. I also know my chapters tend to run around 2K each. So, I’ve broken down the 50K into 2K chunks for chapters and given each a sentence to tell me what the main trial or point will be, like a chapter title to remind me.

3. I’m now developing the chapters into paragraph summaries of what I want to play out in those chapters.

The end.

That is all. That’s my brilliant three step plan. I have the advantage here of already knowing most of my characters. This is, after all, a sequel. So, I’ve done much of the character development and can focus on the story this time. I hope the outline will reduce the amount of time I sit staring at the keys in November and increase the amount of words flowing from brain to fingers.

We shall see.

What’s your NaNoWriMo Plan?? BTW next year I plan to completely wing it for the experience of pantsing 50k in 30days :)

Something Like A Phenomenon… & Me

If you read a lot of author-agent-writer blogs you’ve probably heard about this. I ran into it today and was kinda stoked to be involved. But not really cause it also meant a rejection, but you know, what can you do. Take the good with the bad and all that. Anyway, the psych major in me just won’t die and I’m so tickled, I’m posting about it.

I call it group think because I’ve always liked to say that. It’s not the exact right term, but it works. “Collective conscience” works too. LOL. Here’s what I’m talking about. Every now and then writers around the world will write a big ole eighty thousand plus word novel, edit it , polish it and submit it….and a bunch of them will be the same thing! I don’t mean like a bunch are about vampires. I mean like agents and editors have days when they find in their slush pile 10 manuscripts about a girl and her pet chinchilla who grow weed in the school greenhouse to pay for college.

Is that as completely fascinating to you as it is to me? I mean, not the chinchilla – the concept. Writers who have never even heard of one another let alone talked about what they were writing, came up with and executed the same idea, then polished and submitted it at virtually the same time.  I get all Dr. Freud over stuff like this and don my white lab coat and chew the stem of my glasses while I think about the amazingness of the human condition. I’m so freaking happy right now that this happens. For real. I am.

So, today I got a rejection on a project of mine. No big deal. Rejection is the name of the game and it’s one little piece of my bigger bulging puzzle (sidenote: the word bulging always makes me *snicker*) Anyhow, the rejection was so kind and supportive. The reason behind it: they just bought a couple of other things too similar to add mine to their line up. Yes. The No was no fun. But ME ME ME!! I was part of the group think, collective conscience phenomenon. I love it!

It’s super duty coolness and I HAD to tell you about it.

Ever been a part of it too? Did you recently write that same chinchilla story? Tell the truth. You did, huh?

A Web Presence Will Subject You to Haters

I have something to say to those of you who are deciding if they need a blog or a twitter account or a face book page. I still say Go For It because there are about a million reasons it’s wonderful. Branding, networking, building a fan base…I could go on. But this post is about something else. This is me saying: we all know once we publish our first book, there will be haters.

I’m here  to tell you the haters already hate you. It’s what they do. They scoff and grimace and gnash their teeth at little children and old women and puppies and rainbows.

Once you put yourself out there, you’re fair game. You will at some point get rude comments, know-it-all comments… People will point out your typos or things you didn’t say exactly precisely right. For example: I might blog to tell new writers to avoid was sentences because they tend to be telly. I might say there are better ways to say the same thing. A hater will jump on their  keyboard indignant and start banging our how smart they are in your comments “Sometimes WAS IS the right way to say it” and then they’ll pontificate in a comment longer than your original post about all the ways you were wrong and they are right.

I’m just sayin. It will happen.

Here’s what you do.

1. Roll your eyes. 

2. Pop over to their blog and see they only have one follower and it’s their great-grandmother.

3. Know your post was written for a purpose they obvs didn’t understand it, but your friends and readers will.

4. Vow to never-ever-never write a know-it-all comment on another person’s blog. I mean, what does that really get you? It irritates someone else and that’s all it accomplishes. Nothing is gained from publicly pointing out someone else’s mis-bloggings.

5. Keep your chin up and let your readers and friends and followers continue to see you for you. Get to know them and do your thing.

It’s a big world out there and haters abound.

Consider this a small test of what is to come when you do have a book being reviewed and passed around. You can’t please everyone. Make sure you’re being yourself and don’t be tempted to call out a hater. Believe me that’s what they LIVE for. LOL

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