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The Value of Online Writer’s Conferences

WANAConBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

If you were to pull out the laundry list of things writers are supposed to do to be successful, one of the items you’d be sure to find is attend writer’s conferences.

And everyone who included that on their list would be right. I wouldn’t be writing to you now if it wasn’t for the writer’s conferences I attended when I was first starting out. I gained the inspiration I needed to keep going. I learned invaluable lessons on craft and platform building. I developed the network of contacts that earned me my start as an editor.

On a lot of levels, I am where I am because of the writer’s conferences I attended in those early years.

But what’s often devalued when we talk about writer’s conferences is just how difficult it can be to actually attend one.

I probably don’t need to go over the reasons this is so, but I will anyway.

Reason #1 – Cost

The least expensive conference I’ve been to cost over $400 in registration, plus the money I spent on gas to drive the four hours round trip and the two nights in a hotel. I’ve been to conferences across the country where the registration fee was over $900, and that was without factoring in airfare and gas to reach the airport (two hours from my home).

Conferences are a major investment, which means they can be a major bone of contention if you’re married. And, sometimes, the money just isn’t there and there’s no responsible way to get it.

Reason #2 – Need to Travel

In the past I was blessed with the freedom to travel because I don’t yet have children, we were a two-car household, and my husband’s schedule was flexible enough that he could juggle the care of our home and pets while I was away.

But things are different now. With my husband back in school, we’ve gone down to a single car and he needs it seven days a week between classes and work. He has no flexibility in his schedule. Leaving our Great Dane in her crate for 12-hours straight while he’s away isn’t an option.  It’s much more difficult now for me to get away.

If you have family or job commitments that make it difficult or impossible to travel, you know that I’m talking about.

So where does that leave us?

It leaves us with the internet’s gift to writers—online training.

For the past two years, I’ve been involved as both a teacher and a student in online classes for writers and writer’s conferences. It’s been a fantastic experience that I wouldn’t trade.

Are they the same as live conferences? No way.

Are they a great solution for those of us who can’t go to live conferences? Absolutely.

And that’s why I wanted to take today’s post to tell you that WANACon is coming up on February 21-22.

WANACon is a 100% online writer’s conference. I’ve attended and presented at WANACon before, and in February I’ll be teaching a session called Putting Your Inner Editor to Work – Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.

WANACon is only $149 (but if you use the code EarlyBird by January 31 you’ll receive an additional $30 off).

Even better, WANA International is giving three lucky attendees free admission. After you sign up for WANACon, complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win.

Registration includes all sessions and all recordings.

Along with my class, you’ll be able to learn social media and organizational skills like Blogging for Authors from Kristen Lamb, An Introvert’s Guide to Twitter from Jami Gold, OneNote: One Solution to Organizing Your Work with Jenny Hansen, and Building an Author Website without Getting Burned with Laird Sapir.

You’ll also get lifestyle classes like Write-Amin: Eat Well, Write Better with August McLaughlin, and craft classes on Creating Compelling Characters with Shirley Jump, Backstory with Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi (of Emotion Thesaurus fame), and Writing in Deep POV with Lisa Hall-Wilson.

That’s just a sample. You can see all the presenters and class descriptions at the page I linked above.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I hope to “see” you at WANACon, but even if you’re not able to attend, I hope you’ll give online training a try at some point in the future. We all need help growing as writers, and the online training that’s now available gives us an advantage that writers in the past didn’t have.

Have you attended online training sessions before? What did you think?

Not able to attend WANACon, but still want to try out online training? On February 8th, I’m teaching a class called Mastering Showing and Telling in Your Fiction. The cost is only $45, or you can get a WANA2Fer of my class along with Lisa Hall-Wilson’s How to Write in Deep POV for only $70 (that’s $20 in savings). Click here to check out the 2Fer.

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How to Create Strong Female Characters

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

I’ve been hinting at it for months now, but the time has finally come. I’ve released the first book in my Busy Writer’s Guides series! And I’ve priced it at 99 cents.

cover

The misconceptions around what writers mean when we talk about strong female characters make them one of the most difficult character types to write well. Do we have to strip away all femininity to make a female character strong? How do we keep a strong female character likeable? If we’re writing historical fiction or science fiction or fantasy based on a historical culture, how far can we stray from the historical records when creating our female characters?

In Strong Female Characters: A Busy Writer’s Guide you’ll learn

  • what “strong female characters” means,
  • the keys to writing characters who don’t match stereotypical male or female qualities,
  • how to keep strong female characters likeable, and
  • what roles women actually played in history.

Each book in the Busy Writer’s Guide series is intended to give you enough theory so that you can understand why things work and why they don’t, but also enough examples to see how that theory looks in practice. In addition, they provide tips and exercises to help you take it to the pages of your own story with an editor’s-eye view. I call them an accelerated master’s class in a topic.

Strong Female Characters is a mini-book of approximately 4,000 words.

You can buy a copy at Amazon, Amazon.ca, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Smashwords. They’ll be available in more places soon :)

If you’d like to help me spread the word, I’d appreciate it if you’d share one of the tweets below or share this post on Facebook, Google+, or wherever you hang out.

3 tricks to keeping strong female characters likeable (Click to Tweet)

What do we mean by “strong female characters”? (Click to Tweet)

How to Create Strong Female Characters (Click to Tweet)

And remember to add your favorite writing hashtag when you tweet! (Suggestions: #amwriting #amediting #writetip #MyWANA)

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Why Every Writer Needs to Be on Twitter

By Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

I’m still on my summer guest posting travels around the internet (you’ll see more posts here at the home base starting again in September), and I didn’t want you to miss my latest. This past week I visited Kristen Lamb’s blog to talk about my favorite social media site–Twitter.

Twitter often gets a bad rap by people who don’t understand it, misunderstand it as full of spam and celebrity stalkers, or don’t know how to use it to its full potential to build an author platform. When used correctly, though, Twitter can be one of the best tools for meeting new readers and increasing traffic to your blog. Not to mention, it’s fun!

Don’t believe me? Well, let me prove it to you then. I have seven reasons why I think every writer should be using Twitter.

I am also starting to plan out my WANA International classes for the next year, as well as what topics I might cover here during the remainder of 2013, so if there’s something you want me to post about or if there’s a particular subject you want me to teach a webinar on, please leave me a message in the comments below!

Four Ways Google+ Communities Help Authors Build Their Platforms

Did you know that Google+ has the second most active user base of all social media sites?

Yet one of the biggest complaints I hear about Google+ from authors is that they struggle to meet potential future readers and to get others to engage with what they’re posting.

The solution to both problems is Google+ communities.

I’m honored to be guest posting at Gene Lempp’s fantastic blog today talking about how authors can use Google+ communities to build their platforms. Please come by and join me.

For those of you who are interested, I’m also teaching a 90-minute webinar called A Crash Course in Using Google+ to Build Your Author Platform on Saturday, April 20th. Cost is $35. Even if you can’t attend live, sign up because the recording will be sent to all who register. Click here to register.

Purple by Marcy KennedyAnd don’t forget that I’m offering a copy of my suspense short story “Purple” as a thank you gift to anyone who signs up for my newsletter. My newsletter will only go out when I have news about new releases (in other words, novels, non-fiction books, and short stories), upcoming courses I’m teaching for writers, exclusive discounts for newsletter subscribers, and freebies. I expect it’ll only go out about once a month. You are not signed up for the newsletter just because you’re subscribed to this blog. To receive the newsletter, be sure to sign up below.

Twisted sleepwalking.
A frozen goldfish in a plastic bag.
And a woman afraid she’s losing her grip on reality.

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Are You Going to Watch The Hobbit?

Next week, the first installment of The Hobbit premiers in theaters.

In honor of the release, I wanted to share this beautiful instrumental compilation by The Piano Guys of Lord of the Rings music. (If you’re not subscribed to their YouTube Channel, you should be.)

Will you be watching The Hobbit in theaters or waiting until it comes out on video?

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