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GRL Recap Day 1

Posted in: General

I got in yesterday afternoon, even after getting lost on the way to the hotel. Twice. At the exact same place both times I drove to the hotel. I was laughing so hard at myself for doing that. Even with the GPS I managed to miss the turn. TWICE! But I did make it back safe and sound and had some fun yesterday catching up with friends from last year, and making new ones.

The writers workshop was great as a beginner writer. Some of the information was stuff that I already knew, but I’m sure that’s the case for pretty much everyone that was there. While I would have loved some sessions on motivation, developing characters or settings, or things of that nature, the sessions we had were great.

Session One:
(So You’ve Written a Book, Now What?)

Riptide Publishing went over some of the things in your manuscript that could keep it from getting accepted. They also talked about the editing process and how they go through a story many different times to get it as polished as it can be. We were able to see some real examples of stories that were submitted and try to find some of the editing issues that bring readers out of the story. They touched a little bit on some common mistakes and things that are overused in stories.
Even though I don’t have plans to submit to any publishing houses at this time (not that it won’t change at some point!) the information was still relevant to me. I won’t be getting pretty acceptance letters, but I’ll want to use the tips I got here to help polish my stories.

Session Two:
(Editing – What’s it all about?)

Kris Jacen from MLR Press talked to us a bit more about editing. But it was more the total overview of the entire process from submit to publish, and what happens after publish. She went over all of the steps of editing process. Starting at overall editing (developmental edits or broad edits) to fill in plot holes, make sure all of the parts work together, and there’s nothing left hanging at the end. She said there can be considerable back and forth, and versions of edits as the author and editor build a relationship. Then there’s line editing that looks at word choices (did you use “just” 50 times in one ten page chapter) and the technical grammar aspects of the story. The line editor is a whole new person so that there’s another set of eyes on the book to catch more mistakes. Next is copy editing or proofreading. Kris mentioned that some of the different houses have different names for this level and some are combined into one where others have it separate. But this is also a third (and sometimes fourth) set of eyes on your story. Finally once all of the edits are complete then authors get a galley proof where you have one last chance to fix anything that needs fixing.
Briefly Kris touched on how to interact with bloggers and to never, ever, EVER argue with reviewers and readers. That’s advice I’ve heard before but it bears repeating. As an author we love what we put on a page. However we have to realize that not everyone that reads it will. AND THAT’S OK! As a reader, not every book I read is my absolute favorite of all time books. But someone took the time to write it and get it published so that’s wonderful. It’s just not for me. The same will be the case when I publish something.

Session Three:
(Spotlight on Craft: Point-of-View)

This session was presented by Ariel Tachna from Dreamspinner press. She talked about the different types of point-of-view (first, second, third person omniscient, third person limited). She didn’t talk much about second since it’s not used very much. However it was interesting to hear her explain how third person omniscient can be perceived as head hopping if you don’t create a strong narrator’s voice or it’s too similar to one of the character’s voice.
For me this was the session that was the least helpful. I learned all about voices a long time ago. But I could tell that others were getting good information from it. It was nice to be reminded of some of the nuances of point-of-view .

Session Four:
(Blurb Writing)

Most authors hate writing blurbs, and synopsis. Samhain Publishing’s presentation about both of them, and query letters gave us tips to use to write great ones. Keeping blurbs concise and without common blurb tropes such as rhetorical questions (Will love prevail?), showing instead of telling are all important. They let us know that the blurb is what brings the reader to your book. A well crafted blurb can make readers want to know more while one that is bad will make readers skip it completely.

Session Five:
(Marketing and Creating an Author Brand)

I actually skipped this session because I was visiting with a wonderful friend during this time. However I know important information was in there. I’m hoping to ask someone that was there if they could go repeat some of the information that was given. Building your brand as an author is just as important as writing good books.

Session Six:
(The Art of Working with Review Blogs)

Reviews are one of the hardest things to deal with after your book is published. The four GRL Featured Bloggers (Boys in Our Books, Joyfully Jay, Prism Book Alliance, The Novel Approach) talked about some of the things that bother them, the best ways to go about requesting a review, and how to be a good guest on their blogs.
It was great listening to the different blogger perspectives on why they do what they do and how they deal with authors behaving badly. The biggest thing I took away from this session was to always ask if they’ll review your books, the worst they can say is no. Also to check the guidelines on each blog to see how they want you to go about requesting the review.


The rest of the day was filled with so much fun and excitement for tomorrow. I managed to catch up with some authors and friends from last year. I also made new friends that I can’t wait to continue to connect with over the weekend. I did stop someone because I loved their shirt and found out it’s a Shirt.Woot! I cannot wait for Thursday’s events. So much fun is in store.


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