Riding the Waves (Romance Writers of Australia doing conferences right) (via @krasnostein, HT: @rosefox)

Perspectives from Alisa Krasnostein over at Twelfth Planet Press, after she attended the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference:

Over the weekend I attended the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference which was held in Fremantle, WA this year and titled Riding the Waves. It was my first time at a non SF (and non science) conference and I have to say, my mind was totally blown. It was a completely new and entirely fantastic experience and I think I might be hooked (as I was promised by Peter Ball who also attended).

Alisa details several of the approaches to activities that struck her, from how a catered lunch allowed writers and publishers to mingle naturally, as well as a panel where panelists were audience members at a mock book acquisition meeting.

I don't generally post long extracts like the following out of articles, but Alisa's summary is pertinent:

And, I have to say, SF, we’re doing it wrong. There was so much about how this conference was organised, including the emails that came out before the event (which had information for people who had never attended before on what to expect and how they could fill the time so as not to feel nervous or anxious), that it was advertised as a perfume free event ahead of time was of interest to me (both because it was considerate of others but also, the opposite of the ones I’m used to which need to remind people to shower!). But also, I am so interested in the active community building that was on display and evident by the friendships and by the friendliness. Other people’s success was not sneered at or envied, it was applauded and encouraged. After all, when everyone else looks at you as a group to sneer at, you don’t really need to spend time and energy doing that inside the group, do you? SF has much to learn from this genre – they are on the cutting edge of the digital revolution, they know how to market and sell their work, they know how to take a one book deal into a long spanning career. And I can’t help but think it has a lot to do with the positivity and encouragement within the community.

I got the impression from her review of the event that Romance writers (in general) approach their market as an endless source of reader sales, whereas in the SF realm authors think of it more as a zero-sum game. I'm not saying this is representative of reality - it's just that feeling I get from Alisa's descriptions of RWA members as 'savvy' and willing to share their marketing and sales approaches with their fellow authors. It creates a stronger feeling of community.

Read the whole review here, it's worthwhile:

Emerging Writers Festival's 'Digital Writing Conference' via @alanbaxter @emergingwriters

This weekend Lucas and I visited The Edge at the Queensland State Library to partake in the Digital Writing Conference, the Emerging Writers Festival's crowdfunded day conference. A range of interesting and entertaining panelists spoke to a decent crowd of writers and literary-interested folks. I'd taken notes on Evernote, when it crashed several times and ate them all. That's hardly an excuse, though, and luckily there is the internet, and far better prepared and dedicated bloggers, such as Alan Baxter, who also spoke at the conference. Alan posted a summary of the day which includes all the relevant twitter accounts of speakers, and even some photos.

I had a great time catching up with some of the folks online whom I'd never met, or those I rarely catch up with. It is rumoured there may have been some beer consumed afterwards.

Alan sums the day up very nicely, and I urge anyone interested in writing to seek out similar events in their local area. Be sure to follow the twitter accounts referenced in his post, or if you're not a twitter person, check out their associated blogs.

A truly spectacular event that I was proud to be a part of. Given that most of my conference activity is quite genre-focused, I always enjoy these wide open writers’ events, with everyone from journalists to fiction writers and beyond all mixing together, all styles, all media, all slightly crazy. It’s inspiring and motivating in so many ways, I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you want to be a writer or you already are one, get out there and mix with these overlapping tribes. We’ve all got our love of writing and reading in common, after all.

Read Alan's post here: