Tag Archives: conference

Promo Season!


I mentioned already that I’m headed to the Pennwriters Conference this year. I wish I could attend more conferences, and I’d love to host all my writer friends and their readers for a fun-filled weekend, too.

But both of those ambitions are down the road, for when my kids are older and need me around less.

Right now, I have a promo opp that’s all about my author friends — and the conference attendees. It’s easy and it’ll cost only what you are willing to invest.

I am seeking books — print copies or else fancy-styled flashdrives* with your e-book(s) on them — for auction baskets. I’ll make a lovely little note about what books (and their authors) for the outside, and one (or more, depending on how many baskets I’m able to make) lucky winner will take home YOUR book.

Got a book you want to include? Drop me a note. Got an e-book? Drop me a note.

The idea here, folks, is to get your name out to a wider reading audience. I know… what’s the value of reaching writers and not readers? Well, because the smart writers among us are voracious readers. The smart writers among us are super networkers, not afraid to tell our friends to read such-and-such because it’s a great book, or a great example of this literary technique or this or that is handled really well and it’s a super example.

In other words: a good book in the right hands can create the sort of buzz we all want. People talking in positive ways about our books.

All it’ll cost you is the price of postage and your book. That’s not too much to ask for a chance to find a wider audience, is it?

I didn’t think so.

*Flashdrives in fun, custom shapes are a super promotional item.


Conference Season


Anyone who’s hung around these parts for any length of time knows I am a member of Pennwriters, and that I go to the conference in the odd-numbered years, when it is held in Pittsburgh.

This year, I’ll be presenting a workshop — but not on what you may think when you first see that I’m doing it. Susan the editor, Susan the writer … those personas are being shoved aside for a Sunday morning and instead, I’m going to be Susan the Reviewer. I’ll be using my experience as a longtime blogger and a professional book reviewer to run a workshop about reviews. I will have two outlines ready to go, and my audience will select between:

1. How to write a killer review, including how to evaluate the text and sound smart

2. Reviews for authors — how to get them, who to ask, the value of the paid review, the value of the one-star review, and what’s worse than that dreaded one-star review.

Frankly, I want to focus on the second topic. But it’ll be up to my audience.

So. If you’re interested, if you are burning to know if I truly am an Orange S on a Red Background, if you’re around, or if you’re looking for something to do Sunday morning before you hit the road for home, sign on up for the Pennwriters Conference. There’s lots more you’ll find besides just me. Acquiring editors. Agents. Other authors. And some of the friendliest, most supportive people around. This is the fun kind of networking, the kind that doesn’t hurt.

Come on out. And be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Orange S on the Red Background.

avatar S RED


Conference Bound


It’s been a long time — years — since I last attended a writer’s conference. In that time, I’ve done scarcely anything that’s been writerly in or around the Pittsburgh area. It’s been rough. I’ve missed it.

I think.

This morning, as soon as I put The Girl Band on the bus, I’m headed down to the Pennwriters Conference. I’ve been volunteering and helping out… I have to say, it was way more fun when I did it two years ago. I had more time, fewer obligations, and no editing clients who simply have to come first.

I think this is a great organization, but I have to take a step back and evaluate. Although I have six books out, they won’t consider me published. Although I volunteered to lead a few panels — including one all about reviewing, including how to respond to negative reviews, how to solicit reviews, where to look, and why you should/shouldn’t pay for a review, something I’ve never seen offered at ANY conference — my offer was lost. When I brought it up to the very person I’m volunteering my time for, she said if something opened, she’d be glad to plug me in.

You know where this is headed. Someone was needed to fill a Sunday morning spot.

It’s not me.

In fact, I am not even planning on being on-site Sunday. After the book signing on Saturday, I am going to pack up my books — I don’t expect any to sell and, being that horror show called self-published, I have to schlep my own books to/from the signing — and call it done. Smile through dinner with the local group who is smart enough to value and like me.

For me and Pennwriters, it’s going to come down to how the weekend goes. There are very few, if any, panels I’m interested in taking. I don’t need to learn how to self-edit. I don’t need social media for beginners, which has been taught at every conference since at least 2010. I don’t need to learn how to pitch to literary agents, or what happens after my book sells. That’s not my path. And lunch today? The choices are the hot buffet luncheon for the published group who won’t consider me published or the more expensive cold cuts in a box (at least, that’s what it was two years ago) with a talk given by someone who was less than gracious (to say the least; my group of friends has banned me from ever inviting anyone to our group dinner ever again, based on how he acted) about … how to find a literary agent.

Needless to say, I am planning on heading out of the hotel and up to a local beer joint that makes great fries. Maybe, if I find a friend who feels as I do, I’ll stay and eat in the hotel restaurant. But really, Bocktown’s not far, and I haven’t been there in years, either.

Two and three years ago (there are three links there), things were very different for me. The exact opposite of how I’m feeling now.

But the industry has hung a sharp left since then. My life has gone even more sharply in other directions (hello, editing business!). And maybe it’s time to find — or create — a group where I’m not the round peg in the square hole, filling pretty well but not quite.

I don’t know. This weekend will tell.