During a panel discussion about the world wide web, author Annie Jones stressed the importance of having an online presence to expand our reach. It is a good marketing tool, she said, but also a vital community. Why do we need a community? Building connections, and more importantly, friendships, she says, provides support and brainstorming opportunities, among other things, that aid our journey.
I'd met Annie before (she and I belong to the writer's group that sponsored the event), but it was nice to hear her insight in more detail. Annie's blog for writers can be found here. Annie's other blog, Dear Helen Hartman, offers fun and timeless advice with a vintage twist.
Author Virginia Smith shared how her experience in the corporate world helps her writing. Writing full time now, Virginia stressed how crucial it is to understand the business. Get to know markets and genres, find your niche, and note trends, she encouraged. Have a detailed plan - or at least work on developing one as you go, and maintain a "planning mentality". Every ship needs a rudder, after all.
I thought it interesting that Virginia's mysteries dictated her transformation from Seat of the Pants to Plotter. I learned too, that she lives about 20 minutes away from me, so it's possible that we could bump into each other while shopping. Maybe I should keep a list of questions in my purse in case I see her at Starbucks. :) For more info on Virginia and her books, stop by her site.
It was great meeting all the speakers, but it was an especially fun treat to meet Ann Gabhart. You might recall the interview and giveaway I did with Ann back in March. Well, she's just as nice in person as she is in a blog interview. Ann's latest books are historical fiction; she discussed her research and the interesting things one can discover in the process. Primary sources, of course, are the mainstays, but journals, interviews, and even family memories play a large part as well. Her goal is to generate the flavor of the period and people to create a good, memorable story.
Ann feels that it is okay to take some creative license, within reason, since it is historical fiction, after all. My current WIP is the same genre, and while this flexibility seems inevitable, it's nice to hear it from a real live author. More of Ann's wisdom and info can be found at her site or on her blog.
So that's my conference adventure in a nutshell. I highly recommend attending one, large or small, every so often. It's a great experience!
Oh and one more thing...
The new site find of the week is E-Junkie.Info. Okay, so I had a guest post there too this week, (thanks to all who stopped by to read it!), but it features an assortment of posts, from stuff for writers and artists, to info of a techie nature.
Have you found any new sites lately? What's going on in your neck of the woods this weekend?
Have a great weekend,
Photo credit: Columbine http://www.sxc.hu/photo/926811