August 7th, 2019

Golden Tips from RWA 2019

by Fae Rowen

Years ago, when I attended the UCI Summer Writing Institute, I learned about golden lines. These are the lines you go back and highlight after taking notes in a class or workshop or in a great book. These are the takeaway ideas, the ones you want to remember and implement in your writing.

Every year, after the annual RWA conference, I share my golden lines from the workshops and sessions I attended, so that those of you who were unable to take advantage of the talks presented by experts in writing and marketing are able to share in my experiences.

Here are my golden lines from this year’s conference in New York.

From Skye Warren, an indie author who accidentally grossed over seven figures in sales last year:

Your visibility = conversion (sales). More conversion gives more visibility.

If you don’t already have a closed Facebook reader group, put one together. Ask questions and run polls about your books and your characters. Let these readers in as you get ready to write a new book, with questions about names, book covers, etc.

Use reader quotes in your ads.

Mobile Only ads have the highest conversion (click through to sales site).

Do not spend on a new release or the first book in a series.

Write a bonus chapter for your previous release. Update that book the day before the release of your new book.

Marketing does make a difference.

For more info: www.skyewarren.com/rwa19

DEEP POV presented by Kristan Higgins and Sonali Dev:

Do not write description that is skippable, like, “I was nervous.”

Always tie descriptions to the story.

Use active verbs.

For deep POV, use the five sense like this:

  1. Sight: intellectual sense
  2. Sound: emotional
  3. Smell: memory sense
  4. Taste: deeply intimate; very sensual
  5. Touch: experiential sense

Example: “He walked in the room and I swear I felt a baby kick in my postmenopausal womb.”

  • Get across the character’s experiences and choices, their belief system, the history of impactful life events.
  • What is your character’s deepest fear? …deepest secret?
  • Think about the purpose of every scene. Why would the reader care about that scene?
  • Characters have opinions. Know them and show them.
  • Show the push/pull between what the character is thinking vs what the character needs.
  • Does the story arc move the character’s voice? Does s/he have different thoughts than in the beginning of the book?

Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts (AME:)

95% of all books are sold through personal recommendations. The micro-influencers have a smaller base, but they are more active.

Put clickable links in your newsletters and the back of your e-books.

Always put a call to action (ask for something) in each newsletter.

Vet your street team by checking their book reviews, that they’ve read all your books.

From Eliciting Emotion Panel of Mary, Winnie, and Reese:

Google up to twenty-one emotions. Our emotions are different because of:

  • Sense of time (distortion)
  • Sense of equilibrium (dizzy disorientation)
  • Sense of space (how we perceive distance and bodies)

Everything is colored by our emotions.

Your word choices can affect the mood of the scene.

The use of character tells, like in poker, are subtle, but your reader will get it.

The age of your character at their wounding will be the age they will act when the same wounding comes back to hit them again.

What’s the bulls-eye of the scene?

Emotions come from the character, not from the plot.

The external goals keep the characters together. The internal goals keep them apart.

Ramp up the story tension to ramp up the emotions.

Laurie Cooper on Facebook:

Compare your page with similar pages.

Ask your readers how they found you.

When you get a sign up, give them a call to action, like read more, which is a button that takes them to your website and excerpts.

Share teasers with text, then share link not website with the buy link.

Basic FREE marketing tutorials at www.facebook.com/business and www.facebook/business/learn.

Sign up at www.amyporterfield.com for free tutorials.

Get reader permission for anything (quotes!).

Last Three Chapters: Teri Michaels:

The HEA has to be earned.

You can do the wedding/honeymoon after the book ends—makes a great follow-up novella!

We must see the moment that both people recognize they love each other.

What is the best "golden tip" you've heard from a recent class or conference? What "golden tips" of your own do you have to share?

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About Fae

Fae Rowen discovered the romance genre after years as a science fiction freak. Writing futuristics and medieval paranormals, she jokes that she can live anywhere but the present. As a mathematician, she knows life’s a lot more fun when you get to define your world and its rules.

P.R.I.S.M., Fae's debut book, a young adult science fiction romance story of survival, betrayal, resolve, deceit, and love is now available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.Fae's second book in the series will be available for pre-order October 1, 2019.

23 responses to “Golden Tips from RWA 2019”

  1. angelaackerman1 says:

    These were terrific--thanks for sharing them! 🙂

  2. Laura Drake says:

    I only made it to part of one workshop (I know, I always mean to, but then I run into someone I haven't see in a long time....) So I'll share a golden tip from the workshop I gave, on Advanced Craft:

    Only show thoughts we could NOT guess. If the thoughts are opposite the dialogue, better yet! Example: “I’m so impressed with your body of work, Sir.”
    And I’m even more impressed with my hyperbole super-power.

  3. Thanks for sharing these great tips! I only made it to one workshop. It was on Tension with Maisey Yates and Jackie Ashenden and it was great.

    A couple of gems:

    "Heat comes from the emotional resistance of one character and the surrender of the other."
    "You don't need an external event after sex to recapture the tension. You need to use the conflict within the characters."
    "Conflict should be present even in the happy moments."

  4. Jenny Hansen says:

    When I am having trouble in a story, I consider one of these two tips to get back on track:

    1. The POV character always needs to be the one with the most to lose. (Someone who spoke for OCC told us that, and for the life of me, I can't remember who.)

    2. Story is all about showing the character's misbelief and correcting it. Stellar gem from Lisa Cron! I get in trouble when I don't keep the misbelief and the end goal in mind.

  5. Love these tips! Makes it less painful that I missed RWA this year. 🙂

  6. Sue says:

    This is a tip from Roni Loren's SLOW WRITING class or how to make your book so good no one can ignore you: Go deeper. Instead of settling for your first ideas for stories, scenes and characters. Usually the first ideas are...cliched. Also: Deliberate practice is where you stretch your abilities beyond where you're comfortable.

    • Fae Rowen says:

      Thanks for sharing a tip from that session, Sue. I wondered what would be covered. I already write so slow, I didn't figure I needed help with that!

    • Fae Rowen says:

      No problem, Julie. You know that the research shows if you share something you learn with someone else, you're more likely to remember and integrate it into your work...so, thank you!

    • Laura Drake says:

      LOVE that, Sue! And I can vouch for the fact that that's what it takes!

  7. Julie Glover says:

    Thank you so much! When others go to a big conference, I always feel like I not only miss the experience but all the great info there. I appreciate you sharing your takeaways! 🙂

  8. dholcomb1 says:

    such wonderful information--thanks for sharing

    denise

  9. Iola says:

    Great tips! I'm heading off to the Romance Writers of New Zealand conference in a couple of weeks, so I'll make sure to work out a couple of golden tips from each session!

    You quote Skye Warren as saying:

    "Write a bonus chapter for your previous release. Update that book the day before the release of your new book."

    I can see what she's saying, but what is her logic, please?

    • Fae Rowen says:

      Hi, Iola. When you update your e-book, the people who've already purchased it get a notice of the update. That notice gets your name on their radar, and if they download and read the updated pages, it gives them a link to purchase your next book easily.

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