Friday, November 04, 2011

Fill the Well Friday: Meet With Like-Minded People

Michelle Styles explains about one of the great ways to refill the well -- meeting like minded people.

Writing is a solitary business. Often it is you and the blank computer screen. It is easy to forget that there are thousands of other writers -- some published and others unpublished out there. Many of whom suffer from the same doubt demons and nagging little voices.
If you are published or unpublished, one of the great ways to connect is through the various professional organisations such as the Romance Writers of America, Romantic Novelists Association or Romance Writers of Australia. There are often local chapters and online groups where published and unpublished authors meet. However, nothing quite beats face to face time.
For that, the professional organisations do run various conferences. Last summer I was lucky enough to go to the RWA National Conference which was held in New York. I went somewhat jaded and returned brimming with ideas.
However, one of my favourite author meetings is the annual Association of Mills and Boon Author Lunch and Toast to Authors that was held last Friday. Every year, authors who are edited out of London get together to chat, listen to senior management talk and generally socialise. It is one of the few times that I get to be a glamorous author instead of a mother in sweats writing.
The first time I went, I had recently sold and suddenly I was in this room with real live editors and authors whose books I had loved for years. And I was late. Luckily, Harlequin authors are some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet and everyone was very kind. My senior editor took another author and me out for a cup of tea after the lunch and we just talked.
This year, in between the lunch and the toast, I had the great pleasure of taking tea with Kate Hardy, Caroline Anderson, and new medical author Annie Claydon. Light bulbs kept clicking in my head.
The photo is courtesy of Kate Hardy and is from the Author's Toast.
There is something about talking to an author who gets what you do for a living (or would like to do for living), who understands about characters who won't cooperate or how you thought things were on the page but obviously weren't because your editor has just sent several long thoughts through...
I always come back from these things tired but utterly raring to go on whatever project I happen to be working on.
The big news from Harlequin continues to be the Digital Revolution.  Harlequin with more than 14,000 ebooks is one of the world's largest publisher of ebooks. But the thing you have to get your head around is that eboo
ks is just another distribution channel, another way of reading the great content that Harlequin provides. Harlequin are determined to be available -- wherever, whenever and however a reader wants to read the books.  And as an author it is great to know that my publisher is investing in research and development for whatever new device happens along.
So if you are feeling a bit jaded, make some time for having a face to face with another author. You come away refreshed. I know I did!

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance for Harlequin Historical. Her latest To Marry A Matchmaker was out in the UK in July 2011. Her next book will be out in the UK and the US in August 2012. You can read more about Michelle's books on her website www.michellestyles.co.uk.

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