SouthWest Florida Romance Writer’s Conference

swfrrget-attachmentI’m back home safe and sound from our trip to Estero, Florida but I’m still flying high with the energy. I went to the conference with my partner in crime, Judith Kammeraad, and as usual, we rocked! When I told people I was going to Estero, they asked, “What? Where?” We get the same response from people when we say we live in Hernando. Several difference though! Estero is much more cosmopolitan then Hernando. The shopping, hotels and eateries proved that! Speaking of the hotel; our room was gorgeous and huge. I wish the conference was longer so we could have stayed there! Those of you who follow me on Facebook and Twitter saw the pics and I’m sure you’d agree.

Both Judy and I were teachers in our past lives and both of us are from up north. Judy from Michigan, me from NYC. We both love learning and soaked up the information like sponges. And there was a lot of information to soak up!

The conference was well planned. So, a big thank you to Karen Auriti, the conference coordinator and all the members of SWFRW who made the events run seamlessly.

The Valentine’s dinner party was fun! Our very own Barbara Gardner from SSRA joined us and we had great conversation at the dinner table with Barbara Vey and multi, multi-published author Jaime Rush. We talked about genres, the trends, creating the series, blogging and lots more.

The title of the conference was “Getting Your Book Sold” and the lectures were geared for just that. The first panel included Gwen Hayes of Entangled Publishing, Debra Werksman of Sourcebooks and Barb Wilson, the Executive Editor of Taliesin Publishing. Each came with their own points of view of what works and what doesn’t in today’s industry trends and markets. They talked about pitching and what they want in a story. Aside from being so informative and women in the know they were so approachable. When Judy and I had breakfast Sunday morning with Barb and Deb we spoke about everything, not only the writing industry.

Jennifer Fusco, marketing and publicity professional talked about eighteen ways to promote your book. I consider myself to be social media savvy, but I learned a lot that I can still do when Gemini becomes a published entity.

Rae Monet, web site and book cover design professional talked about WordPress, and templates. I could identify with what she said, since I’m using WordPress on my site and this blog.

During lunch on Saturday, there was Speed Dating. Yes, it was SWFRW’s version. At lunch each of the speakers spent ten minutes at each table answering questions. That was cool. We got to meet all of the presenters.

After lunch, Barbara Vey and Sheila Clover English spoke about “Building Reader Loyalty,’ blogging with groups of writers, publicizing and promoting your book, using Book Trailers, a term that Sheila trademarked, that only she can officially use. They talked about finding your audience and keeping them, how to use social media and how to engage the reader.

At the pitch session, I got a full manuscript request for Gemini. But I’m keeping it a secret to whom. But YAY! I’m truly excited!

In the afternoon they had the raffle drawings. I won a great basket filled with books, some writer tools and what else do writers love? Yes chocolate. Lots of chocolate Kisses! I also won, not one but two twenty-five page critiques from two agents. I’ll use those for my current WIP, “Operation Destiny,” a Romantic Suspense with a DEA agent Hero and prescription drug trafficker suspect proved innocent, Heroine.

For dinner, Judy and I roamed the plaza and couldn’t get into a restaurant without a reservation. Another big difference from Hernando! But lady luck was in our favor! We met Barbara, Sheila and Rae who had just sat down at a café and they invited us to join them. We had fun! For a couple of hours we talked as if we were bff”s.

So there it is! In a little more than a nutshell. Hope you enjoyed hearing about yet another one of my adventures. I certainly had fun and would do it again in a heartbeat!  Though I’m still waiting for the conference that invites those male cover models!

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  1. Oh, I’m thrilled at your positive experience at the conference, Ronnie. It sounds as if it was very well put together. I like the idea of the speed dating, 10 minutes of questions at a time. Thanks for sharing your trip!

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