Asking questions and learning from the answers is fairly standard for writers at any level, but imagine that 10-20, 100 times over...
That was yesterday at the first day of the virtual Romance Festival (today-Sunday- concentrates on readers).
Everything kicked off at 2pm, and having checked out the programme first thing that morning, I'd decided to concentrate on the Facebook page- though I did pop in to have a quick look at the Twitter side #Romance14.
(At the time of writing this post, their blog has technical issues, so once it's back up and running you'll be able to access all the author Q&A blog posts at: romancefestival.wordpress.com so check it out later.)
Having the ability to ask questions of the guests, and at the same time discuss the subjects with fellow writers was good, as not all of those joining in were in the UK, so you got a different view. Add to that the guests were only there for 1 hour, you'll understand how active the page was- I had to refresh the page a few times to ensure I didn't miss anything.
The Facebook page started out with two novelists ( Anoushka Knight and Fionnuala Kearney) talking about their journey to publication.
3pm's book cover session was popular. This was with Mark Ecob, a cover designer, and there were discussion on fitting covers to genre, typefaces that work, motifs and images, among the discussions.
All too soon it was over and another popular guest was introduced, agent Madeline Milburn. We all received answers to our questions, and there were useful tips on covering letters, and that she wanted to see a strong voice, and strong characters that hooked her into the story...
Probably the most valuable advice given was to research the agency's as much as possible, as she said there is a lot of information available on the web, especially with agent interviews and talks.
I liked the fact that she said she didn't represent specific genres, that she represented the author...
Moving on it was the turn of Mark Lefebvre from Kobo; he talked about Kobo Writing Life (the equivalent of Amazon's KDP) and you'll find links in some of his answers.
As you probably guessed Romance is one of their highest selling genres. I think we all wanted to know how others ranked. Well Erotica - "More Active Romance". :) was followed by Thriller/Mystery, then Fantasy and next, Sci-fi.
It was certainly an information filled session, so do have a look at it if you want to find out more.
The last couple of hours featured Harper Impulse authors chatting about 'What I've Learned In My First Year Of Being Published' and then author and journalist Tess Stimson who was talking about writing as a career.
I did pop over to Twitter to catch a few of agent Carole Blake's answers to questions, but by this time my head was buzzing and I needed food (amazing how using mental energy can make you hungry) so signed out.
Events like this enable writers and industry professionals to get-together without having to leave their desk (sofa, sun lounger or wherever they're accessing the web) and it benefits us all.
As great as it is to go to conferences and talks, it isn't always possible, or affordable when you add on transport and accommodation costs, so virtual events like this are fantastic.
Hope we can look forward to another weekend next year...
If you want to find out about today's programme, then look here.