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The Emerald City Conference & Giveaway

I took my Ruby Slippers up to the Emerald City last weekend…the Emerald City RWA conference in Seattle that is!

And yes, my shoes were red. That’s the end of that metaphor, but I managed to “catch” a bit of good luck that I must pass on to you.

First of, I ended up going to this conference on a lark. I knew that I had a book releasing in September and my writing schedule had me finishing up the next manuscript right before this conference. (Just made it–phew!)

I’d had no events yet on the West Coast this year other than a reading at Lady Jane’s Salon in San Diego, so I figured why not? I submitted my workshop: “The Review Game: A Shy Girl’s Guide to Getting Noticed” on the very last day possible. On a stroke of luck, it was accepted. So off to the Emerald City I went!

First let me say that ECWC is a wonderful local conference. It was the very first conference I went to as an “official” author and the very first booksigning I ever did. It was 2010 and Butterfly Swords had just been released. I was so happy to be among friends to celebrate my debut. *sigh* I dug up a picture and I looked so shiny then!

My very first booksigning in 2010

My very first booksigning in 2010

Flash forward four years and I was back again. A little bit older, maybe a little wiser. I hoped I had a little something to give back to the writerly community with the talk my critique partner Shawntelle Madison and I had put together about what we learned about how us shy girls who are not mega-bestsellers can get reviews.

Shawntelle and I were not alone in our focus how to navigate the review space and get noticed. There was a lot of talk now on social media, publicity, how to reach readers and discoverability.

“‘Discoverability’ is the new word,” said Bob Mayer in his workshop on said buzz word with his partner in crime, Jennifer Talty. “It used to be distribution. Now it’s discoverability.”

And then he and Ms. Talty went on to list a gazillion different things they’ve tried and continued to try to build an online presence and sell a gadzillion books. The prevailing theme was that you can only do so much so just do what you can. Take what works. So I’ll just take the one thing that I really want to take from Mayer’s talk. “I always say at the end of it all to get back to writing another book. You can’t sell what you don’t have.” He credits his success by always staying ahead by a book. “If I had three books a year on contract, then I wrote four. Always have that extra manuscript.”

You can’t discover an author’s books if they don’t have any….

Robyn Carr brought me to blinky try-not-to-cry stage as she told the story of her thirty-year “overnight” success. She admitted to not knowing what it took to succeed, other than that she believed it helped to stay positive. Because thinking the other way, that you suck and you can’t write certainly ISN’T the answer.

The wild CherryAdair presented her inspirational “Finish the Damn Book” awards to aspiring authors who took her yearly challenge to well, finish the damn book! Nine people received the award this year and eleven were disqualified because they sold in the midst of the challenge. It inspired me to watch this presentation.

Can it really be so simple as that? Finishing the book? I don’t know, but roomie Gwen Hayes rallied us upstairs to do some work before the booksigning that night. I added new words to my Opium War steampunk and Shawntelle penned an epic battle scene. Monica Murphy joined us to finish edits on a novella. What? Is this shameless braggery because we actually got some writing done at a writer’s conference? Maybe a little.

At the ECWC bookfair, the coordinators set co-speakers together so Shawntelle and I were able to sit together in the lunch room. We truly are joined at the hip now. I was able to speak with some readers who already knew my books and many were were new to my books. I even sold a couple of my little red beauties.

Signing at ECWC 2013 with Shawntelle Madison

And of course I went fan girl and picked up copies from two of my favorite authors who happened to be at the conference. Tiffany Reisz was rather gracious as I confessed about being obsessed about her first book, The Siren. I received a print copy of A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant. I already have it on my e-reader, but I have all her other books too, so I had to pick my favorite one. If you haven’t checked it out, I highly recommend it! A heart-wrenching and wonderfully crafted romance. Cecilia and I even were able to talk shop a bit on our favorite historicals.

mistress_ala

These are not giveaways. They’re mine, mine, mine!!!

BUT…I talked about catching a stroke of luck, right? Guess who won a raffle basket from the 2011 GH class, The Starcatchers?

Me with Starcatcher Anna Richland

Me with Starcatcher Anna Richland

And I spotted a couple of Rubies in there as well: Sara Ramsey and Anne Barton! This beautiful basket was put together by Starcatcher Anna Richland who is also offering a critique. I regret that I couldn’t bring the entire basket home. So I left it with a good friend who lives in the area.  But the books packed nicely in my suitcase and are fair game.

So here’s the fabulous giveaway: One of 3 book bundles, one of which includes a Golden Heart critique. If you wish to have the critique done by November 12, it MUST be turned in by November 1. Otherwise, the winner can still redeem the critique, but it won’t be done in time for this year’s Golden Heart.

starcatcher_giveawayWait…what happened to the champagne and chocolates you ask? That lovely, delicious bottle of champagne was…um… confiscated by TSA…yeah.  And the chocolate too. *Licks fingers. Wipes keyboard*

Enter using the Rafflecopter below. I’ll be drawing and shipping out books next Monday. Good luck from The Rubies and The Starcatchers! Drawing will take palce next Monday.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

60 responses to “The Emerald City Conference & Giveaway”

  1. Kim Law says:

    Love reading the recap, Jeannie. Every year I say I’m going to go to that conference. And then every year I don’t. Sigh. Someday.

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  2. Elisa Beatty says:

    That sounds like such a fun conference!

    And you still look bright and shiny at your latest booksigning!!

    Also, The Lotus Palace was FABULOUS!!! Can’t wait for the next book!

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      Thanks Elisa! I’m glad you enjoyed Lotus.

      I remember for my first ECWC trip, I felt kind of frumpy and awkward and now I look back and think, darn, I was cute then! Which is a lesson to me — I need to remember that I look beautiful now, no matter how frumpy I may feel.

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  3. Liz Talley says:

    Oh, what fun! I sometime a forget how invigorating a local conference can be. Emerald city is one I’ve always wanted to try, but I’ll likely have to wait until I have no kids at home. October is a killer month and leaves me feeling wrung out. Conferences always suck my energy levels a bit…as much as the increase my writing productivity. Odd that they bring both.

    Thanks for sharing with us. Looks like a really good time 🙂

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      It’s really tough to give up a weekend. I’m lucky that this one came right after I turned in my last book, but all the other conferences this year — especially RT and RWA really took up valuable writer and mommy time. I do wish there were more conferences closer to me. I went to OraCon in Missouri which was great since it was just a four hour drive away.

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  4. jbrayweber says:

    Great recap, Jeannie! I love writing at conferences. There is such an energy that can’t be denied. Sounds like you had a great time.

    Jenn!

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I always say I’ll write, but I never do. O_o

      But this time, I actually did. It was like the conference was actually a break from my distractions at home.

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  5. Rita Henuber says:

    Thanks for sharing. You do such wonderful recaps. Dang those TSA people! 🙂

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  6. Tamara Hogan says:

    It looks like you had a blast, Jeannie! The Emerald City conference is always on my writing conference shortlist, but I have yet to actually make it.

    Bob Mayer always has such practical advice. I use his book, “The Novel Writer’s Toolkit,” so frequently that it never gets put back on the bookshelf. I think the most interesting tidbit I picked up from Bob recently was from his Twitter feed, where he said that, in his opinion, spending money to promote books (on ads and such) may not be worth it until you have three or more books to promote.

    Putting this conference on the calendar for next year!

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      Bob Mayer always surprises me in person. He’s sometimes standoffish, but when he speaks in front of a crowd, he’s actually quite engaging.

      He had a bunch of crazy-talk about social media — he and his crew are hardcore about it. I’ve come to the realization that for me and what I write, social media won’t push my books. Only more books will push my books.

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      • Tamara Hogan says:

        I agree, Jeannie. My focus for the next several years is writing new books. New books means a bigger backlist.

        It’s been heartening to receive email, tweets and reviews from readers who say that, having read TEMPT ME, they’re going to glom my backlist.

        I like having a backlist for them to glom. 😉

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      • Elizabeth says:

        Bob did our local chapter’s October workshop this year. (He mentioned heading up to Seattle next; he was going to talk to Amazon too.)

        He does have a different take on social media than I’m used to; I do think you have to temper advice by your target market. Teens don’t act the same way as adults.

        But he did have one piece of advice I’d never thought of. He said that he thought everyone ought to consider book trailers–not because they sell books (he doesn’t think that they do)–but because Hollywood types browse through youtube for ideas and book trailers are there to be found…

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  7. flchen1 says:

    How fabulous, Jeannie! This is Seattle, right? If yes, then this is the right coast at least–might need to try to make it one of these years! Thanks for the recap–how fun to hear about what you enjoyed!

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    • flchen1 says:

      Oh, and the last trip I took? Sadly not for any conferences, but we did head the opposite direction, to San Diego to hang out with some long-time friends. That was also wonderful for other reasons 🙂

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      • Jeannie Lin says:

        One of these days I will FINALLY have an event in California. Los Angeles is my home base, I still have a house in Burbank!!

        I was born in San Diego and actually took a lovely trip there this year because my hubby’s company does their yearly meeting there. Very nice of them to pick such a nice location!

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  8. June Love says:

    Jeannie, I always love your recaps. It’s almost like being there. I’ve always heard many positive things about that conference.

    Writing more books is what I’m concentrating on now. That’s always been the thing to do, but somewhere along the way, I think writers lost focus of that. JMO.

    Great post, Jeannie!

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I think back in the day, there wasn’t much an author could do but write and the rest was out of their hands. Now, it’s empowering that we can do it all — but then we forget about the writing part.

      I’m ashamed to say, I could do with a little less empowerment for just a little while. 🙂

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  9. Amanda Brice says:

    I love getting conference recaps. Always makes me wish I was there!

    I’ve heard ECWC is awesome and one of these days i’m going to make an effort to go.

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    • Amanda Brice says:

      Also…color me IMPRESSED that you’ve managed to go to all these conferences with twin toddlers. I only have ONE under-two (and one almost 4) and I always feel like I’m drowning. I can never get away.

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      • Jeannie Lin says:

        Well, I think that twins are easier in some respects because though they take double the care, it’s the same type of care. Unlike two different ages because now they have different needs, different meal times, different nap times, eek!

        But my hubby has been very patient with me. I know I traveled a lot this year and it’s been wearing us down. My little sis was saying how jealous she was that I was able to get away from the twins so often.

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        • Amanda Brice says:

          You know, that might be right. Because my older child refuses to take naps anymore. Not that she doesn’t still need them. She totally does. But she fights it like nobody’s business, which of course adds a whole new dimension to the insanity. LOL

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  10. Vivi Andrews says:

    Fabulous recap, Jeannie! I love the Emerald City Conference and had to miss it this year, but you made me feel like I was there.

    I love the tip to “Write more books” (since it seems to be about the only social media advice I’m eager to take). Thanks!

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      Trust me, every other workshop, including ours, talked in some respect about social media. Bob Mayer himself harped on how much work his peeps do to establish a social media platform.

      But I just covered my ears and went “La, la, la” and took the advice I wanted to hear instead. The best part. 🙂

      Because you can waste a lot of time trying to cultivate a social media following. On the other hand, I still believe, in my heart of hearts, that if you write a good book, then it’s possible it may not sell as well as you want it, people might not love it the way you do, you may not even have executed it as well as you want (we never do, do we?) but it never is a waste of time.

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  11. Great blog recap. I actually took notes!

    You can’t discover an author’s books if they don;t have any…

    Yep. You can promote yourself but if you only have one book out there fans will go onto the next author. 🙂

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      LOL. Notes!!

      In any case, this blog will still be up for reference. I was surprised that the recap from my old blog was still up on my site. I know I transferred everything over, but I was still surprised that it survived.

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  12. It was great meeting you at the conference, Jeannie. I’m in the process of a mini writing marathon. ECWC really energized me. I think the best part of conferences are networking and the infusion of inspiration. 🙂

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      It was wonderful meeting you too!

      ECWC definitely re-energized me. Of course, I’ve now implemented a writing strike, but it’s actually a good thing. I might blog about it…when I’m no longer on strike. LOL

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  13. Amy Raby says:

    Loved your workshop, Jeannie!

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      Amy, can I make a confession?

      The main reason I entered for the Starcatcher basket was because your book caught my eye and I had to have it!!! It didn’t hurt that it was part of such a lovely and bountiful basket.

      You’ll notice that it wasn’t included among the bundles. It must have gotten confiscated along with the chocolate and champagne. Tee hee…

      I did replace it with a Marie Force book.

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  14. I loved meeting you and Shawntelle at Emerald City, Jeannie, and yes, all of you should come next year. Register early because we’re always a sell-out with 300 or so people, and I think it’s an amazing value. Next year I’m the workshop chair, so I can promise we’ll have a great lineup again.

    Happy that you and Shawntelle were able to write – this is the first year I haven’t! Every other year I was frantically pitching or trying to finish something requested. One year I worked on Cherry Adair’s “Finish the Damn Book” contest all the way until Saturday night (She’s put an earlier deadline on it now, LOL!). Since I sold last spring to Carina, I didn’t pitch this year, which left me with time to slow down and enjoy workshops and a few adult beverages!

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      I loved Cherry Adair’s presentation. She always moves me to tears.

      And I can just imagine people writing up until Saturday to make the cut-off. She really is that inspiring.

      I hope you enjoyed the adult beverages and thank you for donating the critique!

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  15. Wonderful post! I would have loved to sit in on your workshop/presentation. Great advice on getting the next book written. I always want to have one “up my sleeve” if I can make it happen.
    Sounds like a wonderful time. Wish I could get all the way out there. Thank you for sharing : )
    Hugs! Heather

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      The workshop was mainly about our ongoing adventures as we beg, plead and bribe people to try to get noticed.

      I’d like to have a book up my sleeve. I don’t write fast enough. Maybe I’ll aim for a novella up my sleeve

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  16. Jeannie, I still can’t believe we missed each other!!! I saw you a couple of times, but never in a situation where I could actually say hello. And I think I was engaging in fisticuffs and/or a rapier duel during your workshop. Word on the street was I am a natural with a sword.

    I dropped an unholy number of raffle tickets into your gift basket in hope of taking home that gorgeous tea set and handmade cookies, but alas! I think I actually cursed aloud when I didn’t win, and wouldn’t you know it? The winner was sitting close enough to hear.

    Yay, me.

    Same time, same place, next year? Only next time, let’s plan to grab coffee or a drink at the bar!

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  17. Jeannie Lin says:

    I must learn more about this rapier duel!

    Yes, if I can get myself there again, we will make a point of getting a drink. Pearl next door had a FABULOUS drink called the Shiso Wild drop 🙂

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  18. Laurie Kellogg says:

    I wanted to go to the Emerald City conference for years, and haven’t made it there. It sounds great. Maybe next year.

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  19. flchen1 says:

    Hmm… I could have sworn I’d commented but apparently that went floating off into the ether 😉 Thanks for sharing about the EC conference–it sounds lovely! It’s Seattle-ish, right? I’m on the right coast–might have to try to make it one of these years! My most recent trip was a visit to San Diego–we descended on some friends who put up with us every couple years while we all go and eat our way through their fair city 😀 Not quite a book conference, but fabulous just the same!

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  20. Heidi Howard says:

    Great post! Glad you got to go.

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  21. Thanks so much for the recap, Jeannie! I love the ECWC. I presented there a couple years ago (it was my second time going to it) and had a blast! There’s always such a great energy, especially with Cherry. 😉

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  22. Addison Fox says:

    Jeannie:

    It sounds like an absolutely fantastic weekend. So glad you shared this with us – there’s just nothing like being immersed in writing for several days with minimal distractions. It’s part of what I love so much about going to conferences!

    Addison

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  23. Julie says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us! I love going to conferences, and it’s always nice to read recaps.

    I just took a weekend trip to Las Vegas, if that counts.

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    • Jeannie Lin says:

      Jealous! I haven’t been to Vegas in years. It used to be my home away from home. There was a romance novel conference there this year that I was eyeing longingly, but alas, I couldn’t get that onto my schedule.

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  24. Lynn Cahoon says:

    The last trip I took? Writing wise, it was to Memphis to speak to the River City Writer group. Then in August, the Cowboy and I went to Bristol for Nascar.

    Sounds like you and Shawntelle had fun in Seattle.

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  25. Amy Raby’s pretty modest, so she probably won’t tell you that Spy’s Honor, her second in the Hearts and Thrones series just released? It’s equally as fabulous as Assassin’s Gambit that somehow “disappeared” from the basket after it left my hands. In Spy’s Honor, every time the hero’s magical familiar is in a scene, I’m all … “BEASTMASTER! YAY!” (I loovvvved that cheesey movie. Amy’s book is not cheesey, it’s just very good.)

    In fact, you can read Spy’s Honor first b/c it occurs chronologically before Assassin’s Gambit – ah, publishing.

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  26. Heidi Howard says:

    Thank you, red shoed gals for the fun gift I received in my mail today! I got 3 fabulous books and some swag, which I love!

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