Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Marvelous MARA

by Raelene Gorlinsky

Last weekend I was at Mid-America Romance Writers in Kansas City. What a great group of writers, so friendly and supportive. I was impressed by their interactions, by their encouragement of critique groups (which I think are vital to aspiring authors).

I enjoy these smaller groups (this was about 30 people) because my presentation can be much more interactive and conversational than "presenting" in front of a large group. We had a wonderful several-hour chat about Ellora's Cave and about e-publishing in general. We talked about the genres that do best in digital, the new e-book readers and potential future ones, the realities of selling ebooks from publisher sites or through third party vendors, megalithic Amazon, and that many processes in publishing (like acquiring, editing, cover art) really don't differ much whether the final product is print or digital.

Then there were editor/author pitches. I like doing these, especially in a situation like this where they can be more casual. Yes, in most cases an editor or agent wants to have appointments with authors who have completed, ready-to-submit stories. After all, the point of these appointments for us is to find potential authors/books. But when there is time, I always volunteer to talk to writers who don't yet have something ready to submit but would just like some advice or just want to ask questions - or want to practice pitching, to help overcome their nervousness. So at MARA I had the opportunity to give what I hope was useful advice and suggestions to authors, and encourage them to keep working on that story and get it done and submitted.

On a lighter note, there was food and fun. These people understand that food is critical to the creative process - brunch before the meeting, several snack breaks during the afternoon, dinner afterwards. (And need I mention that the snacks included the all-important 'C' word in the form of brownies and chocolate chip cookies?) In many cases, when I attend conferences or writer meetings, I go between airport and hotel and never see anything else of the location. My very kind driver this weekend gave me a tour of the area. Kansas City has a stunningly impressive Morrish section - incredible building architecture and trims.

The group gave me one of their chapter tee-shirts, which I love: "Reading is subversive...Join the revolution!".

All in all, a successful weekend in my book!


Sandy said...


Thank you for the kind words about MARA. Even though, I didn't have anything to pitch this time, I enjoyed visiting with you.


Marianne Stephens said...

From all I've heard, everyone loved your presentation and pleasant conversation. Thanks for coming to MARA!

Bobbie (Sunny) Cole said...

Okay, late to comment, but had to add what a treat it was to hear you again, Raelene. You were fantastic, and the group had a great time.