No, not online dating... :D This weekend is #Romance2015.
(Though if you're reading this later in the week it will be last weekend.)
I've spent about five hours this afternoon at my desk, logged into Facebook to benefit from the sessions arranged for this year's virtual Romance Festival; it's been taking place on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Hangouts, as well as regular updates on their wordpress blog.
You can find all the details and links to the social media pages hosting this weekend's sessions. So go along to this page, here.
Each session was 30 minutes, but the discussions and answers to the numerous questions writers were asking, carried on beyond that.
Everything started at 2pm with marketers from both HarperCollins and Mills and Boon, helping out with answers to marketing and social media.Obviously this is an important subject for self-publishers, but also those with publishers.
Building social profile, and engaging with your audience was important, but not to spread yourself too thinly by trying to use too many channels.
And building your mailing list enables you to get to your readers- Sam Missingham said that readers 'engage on social media, but buy from emails'. Mailchimp was one suggestion for newsletters to send to your list.
Pinterest seemed to be another useful media to develop. I'm signed up, but just need to do something with it! :-) But this subject was covered later on.
Then it was on to Book Bloggers, and if you want to know how to approach them to review your book, then you really should read that session. Did you know they had review policies?
Moving on through a Fern Britton video, and the interesting Jill Mansell, there was writing support groups and friends- everyone who commented valued these highly.
Lots of interest in Phillipa Ashley's tips on writing 'steamy' scenes. Some great advice. I liked the answer to someone's question about the right words for 'bits and bobs' in steamy scenes; it was suggested writing out a list of words and crossing out 'any that make you shudder'.
There was time for Goodreads, another area I've dipped my toe in, but not done much with. I'll be venturing into that again soon...
From Historical tips- I needed a break by this point, too many cups of coffee, don't think I need to say more.
Design and marketing was very popular and well worth reading through. These were answered by Katie Roden, co-founder of Fixabook.
The writers were very aware of the importance of cover design, and a few of Katie's suggestions, beside getting a very good cover design, was giving the designer as much information as possible in the cover brief you provide; create a mood board/playlist for the book which reflects how you want the reader to feel.
I just managed to last out through the 6.30pm session on Pinterest, with The Literary Shed. This will probably be an area I try to concentrate on developing over the year. 'It's less about direct marketing' I was told, and more about how 'your potential readership view you' and your books, and the genre you write in.
Sunday has lots of opportunities for readers, and you can find out what's scheduled on their blog post.
I enjoyed the writers day; learnt a lot, and have to say that it was even better than last year. Perhaps knowing what to expect this time helped.
Hope this will be back in 2016...