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Romantic Novelists' Association Conference 2013

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The Edge accommodation

Fun, friendship and some serious talk – these were the keys of this year’s conference at the University of  Sheffield’s The Edge campus. We’ll take it as read that the evenings were convivial, that was much exclaiming of “How lovely to see/meet you in the flesh!” and comparisons with previous conferences.

Two hundred women and men met to learn about and discuss structure, agents, time-keeping, motivation, media handling, independent publishing, research and much more.

One of my favourites was Melanie Hilton‘s (Louise Allen) beautifully illustrated talk on Jane Austen’s London – a universe away from the alternate world of Roma Nova. Apart from the breadth of her own knowledge, What Melanie demonstrated was the depth of research needed to bring authenticity to any novel.

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The goody bags

Nina Harrington‘s accomplished talk on procrastination and motivation was skillful and very relevant for me as I’ve been suffering from the time push-pull of promoting one book while writing another.

Along with Talli Roland, the well-known chicklit writer, I was pounced on to contribute to Freda Lightfoot‘s very well attended talk on independent/self publishing. This is such a wide subject area that you need a whole conference to explore even the basics. Freda asked me to tell the audience my experience of assisted publishing in both print and ebook. The key messages of the session were that publishing choices continued to grow, that rights retention and control were the author’s closest assets and that an outstanding cover and professional edit were crucial.

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Agent Carole Blake and media tutor Janet Gover keeping cool

Media was a key theme for me and I loved Maggi Fox‘s talk on getting your message across, i.e. writing materials and getting the media to use them. Janet Gover‘s session on radio and television gave us ten top tips for appearing on each medium. I volunteered to be a victim guinea pig. Never at ease being filmed, and squirming at a large version of myself projected onto the classroom wall, I was extremely pleased to have had the experience of answering questions put by a professional journalist.

And I was in the spotlight again when Jane Wenham Jones interviewed a random number of people in a lively and quick-fire session on her “sofa”.

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INCEPTIO on the Blackwells booktable

Blackwells University branch ran the conference bookshop on Friday and Saturday and members could sell their own books on Sunday. I have to say I was pleased with INCEPTIO’s good performance on both days!

But the best part of the conference is networking with other writers, sharing experiences, swapping tips, arranging further meetings and events.

Roll on RNAConf14!

More photos here

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