by Monique Hall
Up until recently, I was writing in the closet. By choice, the only person I had to speak to about my writing was my husband. Luckily, he’s interested and very supportive of everything I do, but as I recently finished the first draft of my very first manuscript, I knew it was time to start seeking feedback elsewhere.
Last week, I was fortunate enough to attend a marketing workshop with a small group of authors, many of them fellow RWA members. We were a mix of aspiring and established authors and the range of experience was evident. I learnt a lot from the session, not only about the marketing content, but also just from listening to and talking with other writers – things that would have taken a lot longer to learn had I stayed home behind my keyboard.
Attending the meeting was a big step for a shy, introverted person who suffers from social anxiety (more on that later!), but all that I learned and the networking that happened promises to help me further my writing career, so I’m glad I took that step out of my comfort zone.
Firstly, attending the meeting helped me cement a genre for my first work in progress. I’m not sure why as this wasn’t really covered in the workshop, but being around the author-speak all day helped me get a clearer picture of how I wanted to pitch my story. I had been struggling with classifying my work as rural romance, mainly because I didn’t feel qualified to do so. But as the town in which my story is set is central to the plot, I’ve instead gone for small-town romance. I feel much more comfortable with that.
I’ve also worked on my author branding. This is related directly back to the marketing content of the workshop and a big thanks goes to Glennys Marsdon for sharing her expertise with us all. My new knowledge has resulted in an overhaul to my online presence.
The thing to excite me the most, however, is that I’ve found some people willing to read my work. One of these lovely ladies has agreed to be my critique partner. We seem to have a bit in common, though our work is different, which I think will only work in our favour. I like the idea of partnering with someone I’ve met in person and not just online. In a few short weeks, my work should be ready for “other eyes” and then the critiquing will begin! Secondly, a very generous established author has offered to read my work. I’m totally flattered by the offer and ecstatic to get some feedback from someone so experienced.
In short, networking with other authors at this stage of my writing journey was incredibly beneficial and I recommend others who are also aspiring to be on the lookout for classes and workshops to attend. For me, if I’ve got this much out of a small marketing workshop close to home, I can’t imagine what the RWA Conference in Melbourne will do for me in August. Exciting times ahead!
Guest post contributed by Monique Hall, a small town contemporary romance author. She enjoys feel-good movies and soppy romance novels with “happily-ever-afters.”